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Reply #2

In the discussion thread: Growing up female [View all]

Response to noiretextatique (Original post)

Mon May 7, 2012, 05:45 PM

2. I'm 50, and had about the same list as you.

Specific to me was that I wanted to be an Army Officer and jump out of airplanes like my father did and I announced that when I was five years old (1966). That announcement was met with howls of laughter, as women were not integrated until I believe the early 70's, nor were they allowed to earn those wings until about that time. I accomplished both those goals when I was in my 20's, in the 1980's.

I also was adamant from a very early age that I did not want to have babies. Again, I was laughed at. Because, without any real career paths and with birth control that didn't always work (and without legal abortion), everyone knew I would of course be having babies, and so much for any other plans I might have had.

I remember feeling very ashamed of having a period, and feeling I would die of shame especially if any boys saw a red stain. There was something dirty and soiled about the whole affair, and it was a disgusting thing to be a female in general.

I remember those old kotex pads and the weird special underwear thing that the ends of the pad had to fit into. The pads themselves were about as thick as a chalkboard eraser (and about as wide, and even longer than that) and with the tight jeans that were in the mid 70's, there was huge paranoia about the pad "showing" during that time. So much worry and anxiety and fear!

I remember being told that my absolutely disabling cramps were "all in my head" and told to shush up about them. How bad was the pain? Bad enough to make me throw up, turn white, and when I had kidney stones, I felt the kidney stone pain was pretty comparable to the menstrual cramps. I didn't know then that I had adenomyosis which renders periods unbearably painful. There was no medicine back then for that. And since it was all in my head, not even aspirin was offered to me by my Mom.

Finally in the early 80's, ibuprofen was discovered (by the factory women who discovered it worked magic for cramps.) Finally, after years of pain, doctors believed me (once there was a pill to prescribe, that is.)

Edited to add: Sexual violence. Being raped as a small child. Having my bra snapped in school by boys, or having my growing breasts grabbed. Not being upset by that because it was "normal and expected." Feeling so much shame about my body, so much shame. Sometimes wanting to die.

Being judged only for my looks when I turned 12. Was a tomboy so didn't know about makeup. Groups of mean boys followed me around at recess and after school, throwing rocks at me and calling me ugly, saying I was too much of a dog to attend their school and I should stay at home. The popular girls shunning me (and others like me) for not being pretty enough or having cool clothes.

Learning with desperate ferver how to do my hair and my makeup and then finally being treated as if I were very pretty, just because I learned how to do those things.

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noiretextatique May 2012 OP
patrice May 2012 #1
LineReply I'm 50, and had about the same list as you.
LiberalLoner May 2012 #2
Liberal_in_LA May 2012 #20
Mojorabbit May 2012 #22
nolabear May 2012 #35
renate May 2012 #55
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