As a cis woman, I’m happy to answer this: YES. There does come a time when you don’t feel a need to perform those aspects of your gender role anymore. Or, at least, that’s the case for many of us cis women. I’ve heard a lot of women say that day comes somewhere in their 40s; that’s when they suddenly stop giving f*cks about everything.

I guess I got an early start because I actually kinda stopped caring about makeup in my 20s! And the thing is, I wouldn’t have gone a day in middle or high school without a “full” face of makeup on — and big hair to boot. Lol. (It was the entire 80s & early 90s.)

Yet, there are other cis women who will wear a full face of makeup every time they leave the house, even to just check the mailbox. They’ll wear it every single day until their dying day, and even then, will have arranged for a specific makeup artist to do their makeup for their open casket funeral <cough, cough… my grandmother …cough, cough>

I’m also happy to tell you that, at least in my humble opinion, there’s really no such thing as “girly.” I mean, we all know the word and know what’s meant by it, but I guess what I take issue with is the word itself being “gendered.”

Girly brings to mind “feminine.” I imagine for most people, that comes with a set of expectations or images of all things dainty, pretty, sweet, soft, graceful, radiant, modest, etc. Something little girls aspire to be.

But what about the little kids assigned male at birth who inherently possess these characteristics? We all know how they get treated: it’s either beaten (physically or mentally) into submission by parents and/or others, or it becomes suppressed, or it gets guilt-tripped into hiding and lives a life of fear and shame. Which, of course, is 1000% wrong.

And just to note: I’m 46, I don’t wear makeup or jewelry (except for my engagement and wedding rings), I hate wearing heels, dresses and skirts and I avoid them at all costs, and I have a “boy” haircut, a sort of “pixie cut” (not reflected in my older profile pic here), and I don’t enjoy stereotypical “girly” activities at all. And you know what? I don’t feel the least bit masculine; I still feel very much a girl.

Of course, this not-give-a-f*ck attitude is a huge difference from me in my teen years, when I had very long hair and always wore makeup, mini skirts, and jewelry.

My changes occurred gradually over time, and not all because I “didn’t care anymore.” Most were for practical reasons. I dress for comfort. After my 4 pregnancies (and 3 live babies), my body did a 180. My skin changed and developed all kinds of weird sensitivities. I could no longer wear jewelry — not stainless steel, not hypoallergenic, nothing — without developing a severe rash on my skin wherever the jewelry touched. So I quit wearing jewelry. A decade later the same thing started happening with my face and makeup (even “good” makeup). So I quit wearing it.

When I turned 40, the full-on hot flashes started (and haven’t quit yet). This, on top of a heat intolerance I already had from an underlying condition. The short hair is for that reason. Because my hair is so ridiculously thick, it would take a solid hour to blow dry (when long), at which point, I’d be soaked from sweating and my hair would be wet all over again. And to just leave it wet to air dry? Wouldn’t happen. It just stayed saturated with water and hung heavy, contributing to an even worse misery of hot flash hell. So a couple years ago I asked my hair stylist to “SHAVE IT ALL OFF.” Lol. He disome level. And that is good enough — but I know you already know this :-) Thanks, as always, for your words & wisdom, LAURA-ANN MARIE CHARLOT.

Covering the intersection of culture, politics & equality. GenX. Mom of 3. Bylines: HuffPost, PopSugar, Scary Mommy; heard on NPR, SiriusXM, LTYM, TIFO podcast.

Covering the intersection of culture, politics & equality. GenX. Mom of 3. Bylines: HuffPost, PopSugar, Scary Mommy; heard on NPR, SiriusXM, LTYM, TIFO podcast.