When I was in college, someone asked me about my siblings. "I have three brothers," I told them. "Oh," this person remarked, "That's why you're so cool. Raised with all boys."
At the time, I wore this like a badge of honor. Yeah, I thought, I'm awesome because I have all brothers. Thank goodness I'm not one of those pansies that was raised in a family of all girls!
Since then, I've realized that this was kind of a crap thing to say. My brothers were indeed cool. But it wasn't their "boyness" that made them that way. Nor was it exposure to testosterone that made me who I am.
Over the years I've heard various versions of this sentiment from men and women alike. Call them microaggressions if you want. I call them "statements that bum me out and make me want to violently hug you." So I've compiled a list. These are the false badges of honor I've heard women pin on themselves. Or maybe they were pinned on by someone else. But... can we please stop being proud of these things?
"I'm cool because...
1. ...my dad wanted a boy."
I've heard this when women want to explain why they know about cars or guns or whatever. It's depressing for a few reasons. First, your dad wanted a boy? What the heck? Besides this being a serious and horrible issue in China in the 1980s and 90s, it's just a plain awful thing to say. I hope your dad never actually told you that. Or if he did, he ended the sentence with "...but what a fool I was! You're a precious angel from Heaven." Second, girls can know things about cars and guns and whatever just because that's what they're into.
2. ...I'm not like other girls."
What's so wrong with other girls that you need to distance yourself? There are no "other girls." We are all girls. Which is bomb, btw. One of my absolute favorite Buzzfeed articles discusses this concept hilariously.
3. ...I don't have many girlfriends."
This is a tragedy, not a victory. Here's one of my favorite comics on the subject.
4. ...I'm not very good at being a girl."
What does that even mean? All you have to do to be a girl is have a vagina. If you're not good at make-up, then say that. But girls aren't given a handbook on beauty and fashion when they're born.
Basically, being a lady is great and we should stop belittling it with tiny, weird, negative thoughts. My identity as a woman isn't based on how well I've been able maximize the influence of men in my life. Or my ability to curb the influence of other women in my life. I've benefitted greatly from the support and encouragement of many people, men and women inclusive.