"I don't think that being a strong person is about ignoring your emotions and fighting your feelings. Putting on a brave face doesn't mean you're a brave person. That's why everybody in my life knows everything that I'm going through. I can't hide anything from them. People need to realise that being open isn't the same as being weak."

- Taylor Swift

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I've forgotten how much people in the south of Perth stare.

I grew up in what is known as the 'southern suburbs' - Perth is a big, boring, sprawling suburbia, split by a big, boring, sprawling river. Now I live in the northern suburbs, but I remember what it's like, living in the south - the great class divide between the poor immigrant families who live near the highway and the rich white families who lived near the river (I happened to live in the former kind of house in the latter kind of area), the almost country-bumpkin thinking of the suburbs detached from the city; the glamour of being accepted into a school that seemed to be on the other side of the world. But perhaps I was too young, when I was there, to realize that people in those parts of Perth can be very, very...judgemental.

It's mostly men checking out women and women judging other women. It's not blank stares; they're not even stares of awe or shock. It's that glare of derision, of jealousy, of disgust - and of judgement. You know when someone looks at you and all they're thinking is 'slut' or 'bimbo'. Without knowing me. Without knowing who I am, the people I know, what I do, what school I go to, how well I do at school. Nothing. Just a snap judgement based on how high my heels are and how high my hem is. Sometimes I hear women bitching about the most nonsensical things, as if a small waistline or big boobs or a flattering dress has anything to do with promiscuity. Who cares, anyway? I'm sixteen. There's no law saying I have to look the nun that I am.

Most of my time as a teenager has been spent in the northern suburbs. It's a bizarre combination of dead broke backpacker tourists, bikini girls and rich-suburb snobs. But there's no judgement, not really. I love how indifferent people are here. It's a good place to experiment, to be a teenager, to not have to be worried about what other people are thinking about you. Trust me. I get more than enough of that at school. 

As a feminist and a topfreedomist, it would go against everything that I am to give in to a couple of bitches who don't know how to have fun. And as a teenager and a woman, I would be a liar if I said I didn't like some of the attention I sometimes get. But it's the judgement that kills me. If you know me and hate me, fine. I'm not exactly the most adorable, loveable person you will ever meet. But you can't judge someone by stereotypes, by societal conventions, by things that are fickle and hypocritical and unspoken and ever-changing. Because you know me...I like to break the rules a bit.

No comments: