Stop me if you’ve heard this before. Someone in your life discovers an interest or a hobby of yours and their immediate response is “But how can you like THAT?! It’s just not you.”
You’ve heard it. I’ve heard it. We’ve all heard it. People first assume that we are one dimensional creatures. When they discover we aren’t, they have to change their perceptions. Never an easy feat. However, there’s more to it than that. The assumptions and judgements usually come when we reveal that we like something traditionally feminine or girly.
The first time my coworkers experienced me during the height of tennis season (looking at you, Wimbledon), they were aghast that someone like me could be interested in sports. Everyone became a little extra pleasant because even though tennis isn’t as pervasive as football (American or otherwise), they could understand an affection for athletics. Sports have long been assumed to be a “guy thing,” so it was totally valid to have an unexpected hobby in spectating.
On the other hand, the first time people find out that I write a blog that has more to do with etiquette and elegance than emotional trauma; the reactions are…different. “But you’re so smart.” “You’re not that shallow.” “I just don’t understand.” Clearly you don’t understand if you think that it doesn’t take intelligence and depth to live a refined lifestyle, but I digress. These things that I love–skin care and fashion and all the makings of a modern lady–they are feminine things. Western society has decided that feminine things just have a lot less value. Take Andy from The Devil Wears Prada. (Yes, I’ve written about her before. I just love her.) When she starts developing an interest in fashion and design from working at Runway; her friends think they’ve lost her. She’s sold her soul to the dark side. Somehow, caring about Chanel boots and cutting a fringe in her hair dropped her IQ by 70 points. For every person who tells me that I’m too smart or too mature to care about linen napkins or a bouncy blowout; there’s a person actually saying “These things you like aren’t good enough for me.”
Society likes to forget that women are humans too. We are complicated and complex creatures. We have hopes and dreams. We have fears and regrets. And like everyone else, we are multi-layered. This week, I encourage you all to step into something that you love that others might not expect or support. Tell me your favourite hobbies. Who knows? We might all find some new ways to be complicated.
Keep confusing them, lovely!