Feminism, Poetry
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This Is How to Be a Girl:

girl taking bathroom mirror selfie

They said

wear pink because that’s what girl babies wear

tie your hair with ribbons when it’s long enough

clip it back away from your eyes but

give it a good cut don’t have it too long but

too short and you’ll look like a boy

you don’t want to look like a boy now do you

don’t wear too much pink

you’ll be too much of a girly-girl

nobody likes a girly-girl but

make sure you play with dolls and feed them

hold their bottles to their lips like mothers do

but don’t grow up thinking that’s your only job no

mother’s work too and have careers but

don’t spend too much time away from the house

you’ll be a bad mother but

it’s too early for that go play outside but

don’t get too muddy that’s unladylike

the boys won’t like if you if you’re crawling in the dirt

put those curls back in a ponytail but

don’t always wear it like that or you’ll be a tomboy

you should run and play some sports it’ll teach you

how to be strong and tough but

don’t get too strong because no one wants a girl

who’s stronger than her husband but

don’t worry about that just yet

you’re in school now be good raise your hand

answer the questions but

don’t answer all of them

because nobody likes a teacher’s pet

be smart learn what you can remember you’re a woman and

you should have an education but

not too much don’t be smarter than the boys

smile and flirt and make friends and go to school dances

and wear a pretty dress but

don’t get too made up nobody likes a try-hard

and it’s not about your looks anyways but

you should wear makeup because it makes your face better

and everyone likes a pretty girl

so let that boy kiss you at the door but

only once don’t be easy but

you do need a boyfriend so don’t ruin this

and you’re in college now so time’s running out

you need a career and success but

you need a husband so don’t try too much but

go out and talk to boys let them buy you drinks but

not too many or you’ll be a floozy and nobody likes a floozy

so drink a few and play hard to get but

not too hard so you give him a chance

and don’t be afraid to fall in love but

don’t actually fall in love and get your heart broken

like the rest of those dumb girls

you aren’t a dumb girl

so break some hearts but

not too many remember you have to get married so be cute but

not fake-cute and let him buy you things but

not too much and buy him things but not too much

because girls aren’t supposed to buy boys things but

make sure you do anyways because you’re equal but

still make him pay for dinner but

only sometimes because you have your own money

and don’t forget a job you need a job

so don’t waste all your time with a boy

be better than that and don’t forget to wear pink

and clip your hair back and get it cut and be beautiful

because you’re a girl remember and that’s what girls do

This entry was posted in: Feminism, Poetry


Marisa Donnelly, M.Ed., is a writer/editor, credentialed teacher, proud bonus mama, and CEO of Be A Light Collective, a coaching and content creation business and digital marketplace. She is the Director of Donnelly’s Daily Apple, a flexible learning/tutoring and educational resource platform, and the lead voice for Momish Moments and Step by Step Parents, verticals dedicated to sharing and advocating for non-traditional parenting journeys. Marisa currently resides in San Diego, California, with her fiancé, kiddo, and their two rambunctious Pitbulls. ❤️

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