I believe that girls should not be labeled, because labels are almost always untrue. In this high school ritual, no one gets anything from it; everyone is hurt.
For example, once my friend Claire branded me as inferior.
I was standing in the hallway after receiving a grade from an exam I had previously taken. I was speaking with Claire about how challenging the exam had been but I was happy with how I had done. She was curious to see if I had scored above her.
“So what did you get?” Claire said.
“I got an 85!”
Claire cocked her head to the side and said, “Oh.”
It seemed that she thought I was stupid for scoring an 85.
Claire, who I thought was a good friend of mine, labeled me quickly, dismissing me as if that was who I was. I was confused because I trusted her and she violated that trust.
On another occasion, my friend Audrey was written off as a “dumb blond” for asking reasonable questions.
One day in Biology class while we were studying the heart, I was sitting next to Audrey. After our teacher explained how the heart works, Audrey asked, “Do arteries take blood away from the heart or to the heart?”
“Are you serious?” snickered someone from the back of the room.
“We just covered that like two seconds ago!” said someone else.
I said, “Guys stop! She is just trying to figure out how everything works.”
These comments continued, but Audrey paid no attention to them and proceeded to get a good grade on the final. Audrey revealed to me that she is confident with herself, unlike the others in the class.
With me, I have been classified as a “dumb blond” (even though I’m not blond), “spoiled brat” (just because I attend a private school), “prep” (which I didn’t know was bad), and “mean girl” (because I’m a cheerleader).
Cheerleading camp was going on this summer and on the last day of school, I was passing out flyers. I approached a friend of mine to see if she was interested.
“Hey Eliza, I was wondering if you wanted to try cheerleading next year?” I said as I handed her a flyer.
Her friend Nancy grabbed the flyer from Eliza’s hand and crumpled it up.
“She doesn’t want a flyer. Cheerleaders are all stuck up and preppy.”
I had no idea what to do. I was preppy; I was a cheerleader; I was mortified. I may have appeared to be a mean girl, strong and confident, but I was actually just a girl who, at that point, didn’t like who she was.
The people who are doing the labeling are the real “mean girls.” In many cases these girls are just jealous. They belittle people to make themselves feel better. They feel vulnerable, and so they attempt to hide that emotion so people perceive them as confident and secure. The reality is that Claire, Audrey’s classmates, and Nancy will continue to worry about themselves and their status in high school . . . and in life. The Claires of the world ruin relationships by robbing them of trust. This cycle will continue until girls and then women stop labeling each other and believe in themselves.
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