Traumatized by compulsory femininity

aka Why dresses are stupid, and I have very few female friends

A while back, my dad sent me an ancient photo of me as a baby, wearing a dress. It was horrifying to look at. I feel so sorry for baby me, wearing that awful thing.

I remember that as soon as I was old enough to realize that pants existed, I refused to wear dresses anymore. My parents still tried to ‘motivate’ me to wear them by giving me little gold stars on a chart as a reward, but that didn’t work. They eventually gave up.

Dresses are just not practical. They’re awful for running and climbing trees. They’re stupid when the wind blows. They get caught on things. Why would anyone willingly wear such a stupid thing?

But, unfortunately, I had to go to school, and school had a uniform where girls had to wear dresses. Fuck.

I was miserable in that dress. I felt violated, degraded, awful, vulnerable, ugly and disgusting. It made me so angry that I had to wear that fucking thing every day, and that I didn’t have a choice, and that nobody would understand why I hated it so much. After all, I was a girl, and girls just LOOOOVE dresses, right?

Only in winter were we allowed pants. You can bet I wore the hell out of those pants as soon as it got even slightly cold, and I kept wearing them as long as I could get away with it after that. (I wonder if this is why I still feel happier in winter, even though my hands and feet hate the cold?)

Even in my school photos I look miserable. No smiles here. Not a chance. In the later years, the photographer resorted to making jokes to make me laugh as he took the photo. That bastard. I hated those photos far more than the ones where I at least looked as depressed as I felt.

I found it strange that the other girls didn’t seem miserable wearing those awful torture devices known as dresses. I figured maybe they were in some kind of denial. Maybe other people don’t mind being controlled as much as I do? Maybe they’ve just given up? Maybe they’re just really good at hiding their true feelings? Girls don’t actually like wearing dresses, that’s just some made-up bullshit people say to brainwash girls into obliging and going along with it, right?

As soon as I was free from school hell, I decided that if womanhood involves dresses and makeup, I want no part of it. I won’t be a woman, I’ll just be a person who thinks for myself and doesn’t play the stupid gender roles game. I hadn’t heard of things like non-binary, butch, or agender yet. It was just me trying to figure out what works for me, and doing it all alone.

For most of my younger years, I thought women were dressing up and wearing makeup out of some sort of obligation, because they’d been brainwashed by all the expectations of the gender roles bullshit that’s so prominent everywhere.

I thought they’re just so used to being told what to wear, how to act, etc, that they didn’t realize that they’re out of school now and they can finally choose to be themselves. I couldn’t imagine that anyone in their right mind could enjoy existing in a dress and makeup. I found it really difficult to trust anyone wearing those things willingly.

At some point it occurred to me that I’m not like other people. I don’t think like other people do. There’s something different about my brain somehow. I’m not sure why it took so long for me to realize this. Somehow I had convinced myself that everyone around me was insane and that I was the only person really thinking properly. I guess that was a more pleasant thought than thinking I was the insane one.

I’ve since learned that a lot of girls/women actually really DO like dresses, and makeup, and even high heels. I can’t imagine why, but I’ll take their word for it.

And there are actually other people like me in the world. That’s pretty awesome.


  1. The word ‘woman’ has nothing to do with dressing or acting a certain way, or existing only to serve men. It really should not have connotations like that, but unfortunately many people act like it does, and that makes things confusing and annoying.
  2. Nobody should ever be forced to wear something they don’t want to. Such cruelty should not exist in this world. Anyone who disagrees should be shot.

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