The Girls Like Me (or “How Anime Portrays Girls Like Me”)


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The Girls Like Me

My high school friends would call me “innocent.”

But, from what I grew up observing, “innocent” never meshed with “capable” or “desirable.”

It seems to me that, in the West, this capable woman is calm, cool, and collected. She comports charismatically, stands independently; she is worldly.  A desirable woman knows how to be effortlessly sexy.

I can also tell you what these women are not.

These women aren’t silly, bubbly, goofy, or addicted to pink. They aren’t naive. They don’t love penguins. They don’t smile at everyone they meet and insist on holding hands while walking across parking lots. They don’t ask cashiers about their day. They certainly don’t feel lonely sleeping by themselves (or at least they’ll never admit to it), and they don’t cry at the drop of a hat.

Girls like that aren’t “capable.” Girls like that are… “innocent.”

Because their smiles get mistaken as flirtation and their conversation with the girl at the resister as “holding up the line,” these girls aren’t taken seriously, and it is a shame.

Because their ribbons are taken as a sign of feminine weakness and their strangling emotion as idiosyncrasy, these girls aren’t considered capable, and it is infuriating.

These girls are me.

And then, I found myself.

In the East, in media at least, these girls are desirable. These paragons of femininity, timidity with occasional bursts of overarching symmetry are capable, these girls, these women are valued for their tenacity and their vivacious personality, so you’ll forgive me if I ID as a deredere.

Validation is something I never thought I wanted, at least in this capacity,

but I’ll take the respect that shoujo shows the girls like me.


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