Girl Self-Esteem met an untimely death upon entering middle school at the age of 12. Cause of death was societal pressure, unrealistic expectations, and misogyny.
Girl Self-Esteem was born on the first day, in the first breath of every girl in existence.
When Girl Self-Esteem was young, there wasn’t anything she couldn’t do. She never read about the perfect size butt, and was unencumbered by wishing she had smaller pores. Girl Self-Esteem could be counted on to voice her opinion forcefully and without reserve. “That isn’t right!” and “Don’t touch me!” Those were the glory days.
In her primary school years, Girl Self-Esteem reached for the stars. Full of confidence, Girl Self-Esteem made friends and explored the world without hesitation. She once tried to play the harmonica and failed spectacularly. No matter, as Girl Self-Esteem was strong and brave and setbacks did not deter her.
Girl Self-Esteem had many hobbies. These included loving her strong legs, beating Peter at kickball, and wearing her purple sequin pants with her dad’s flannel nightshirt. Girl Self-Esteem was “bikini-ready” because she was born “bikini ready.” She also didn’t worry about things like Boy Self-Esteem. If he didn’t like what she was doing, it was of little consequence to her.
Girl Self-Esteem was famous for standing up for herself, pursuing outrageous dreams, and not saying, “I’m sorry,” when others hurt her feelings. Girl Self-Esteem used phrases like, ‘Why not!” and “I’d like it this way.” Unfortunately, as time went on, those phrases were replaced with, “If you wouldn’t mind” and “If it’s not too much trouble.”
Some notable accomplishments include: doing whatever the fuck she wanted, saying whatever the fuck she felt, and not caring about how much she fucking weighed. Some of her fondest memories include not looking sexy at her big sister’s wedding and not smiling when Mr. Ellsworth told her to do so.
With nothing holding her back, Girl Self-Esteem was a powerhouse of joy and possibilities. “I can be anything!” is a phrase Girl Self-Esteem would say to herself regularly. It was that kind of moxie Girl Self-Esteem never imagined would ever go away.
Unfortunately, as Girl Self-Esteem grew older, she became acutely aware of what the world expected: she must be desirable. “You should be smart, but you must be sexy,” is a phrase Girl Self-Esteem heard quite a bit. And although it is horrifying to expect a 12-year-old girl to be hot, Girl Self-Esteem felt she had no other choice.
She contoured and contorted, shrunk and filtered, pushed up, and sucked in. The enormous pressure to remain alluring while not becoming a whore took its toll on Girl Self-Esteem. She became unsure of how to be attractive to her friend Peter while also being appropriate for Sunday School. Girl Self-Esteem started to falter.
Away went the purple sequin pants and kickball games with Peter. And her strong legs? Well, they became an object of disdain once she discovered that her thighs should not be touching.
One day she became smaller. And the next day smaller still. Until finally, Girl Self-Esteem disappeared forever. Never to be seen again.
In lieu of flowers, please send encouragement to any Girl Self-Esteem you see out in the world. And in her honor, please be sure to yell, “That isn’t right!” when the moment presents itself. And, of course, it inevitably will.
Girl Self-Esteem is survived by Cripplingly Self-Doubt and Negative Body Image.
Rest in Peace.