| October 31, 2016 | 0 Comments

It’s 8:40 pm. I’m sitting in my bed, thinking of what to write about gender that hasn’t already been said a thousand times. There are seemingly limitless swords to take up, countless ambitious think pieces to type and send into the ether. Feminism is a huge topic, but it can basically be boiled down to this: women are people, too. And people are complicated and individual and inextricably tied with history.

This seems so simple but really, really isn’t. We seem to need near-constant reminders. So: in lieu of an argument, the following is a list of thoughts and experiences from my unexceptional complicated girl life.


The best part of growing up out of girlhood is realizing that all the toxic bullshit my past self believed was, indeed, bullshit. There’s no magic combination of personality traits that’s going to make men respect you. You’re not a chewed-up piece of gum or chocolate because you had sex. Talking and laughing with a friend about these things feels like breathing.

It is statistically unremarkable that I had an eating disorder as a teenager. That fact is alarming.


I still don’t know what it means for my feminism that I harbor a deep, undying love for The Weeknd. Maybe I don’t need to.

I don’t know how to feel about makeup. I just wear it when I want to and don’t when I don’t. I’ve begun to let slide other probably sexist, but low-stakes issues in the same way. In the end, having a verdict on Kim Kardashian as feminist icon just isn’t worth the think piece burnout.

A feminist mad lib: I’m simultaneously accustomed to and incensed by (insert bullshit here).


Last week at my waitressing job, a drunk dude sloshed some beer onto my shirt, looked me straight in the eye, and said, “Tonight I’m fucking you.” Honestly, I was less offended by the language than by the presumption.

I can no longer count on two hands the women in my life who have experienced sexual assault. Their stories have born a living grief in me. It is heavy, dark and fierce, with sharp teeth.

It is impossible to understand the nature of girl friendship without understanding that grief. Coherent sentences fail me here, but a few words come to mind: rivers, a fireplace, Sunday morning.


The truest moment of liberation: putting an end to trying to prove myself. Realizing my existence was always evidence enough.

featured photo credit: Women’s Studio Workshop Zoe Hawk in the studio via photopin (license)

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Category: featured, Reflections, Social Activism, The (Sex)es

Sheridan Aspinwall

About the Author ()

Sheridan Aspinwall is a senior in Sargent who is graduating in December and will miss BU dearly. She is very thankful to Culture Shock and the HTC for all the words and all the love. She hopes never to forget how wonderful the world can be - if only we choose to make it so.

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