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Girls wear skirts. Girls wear braids. Girls shave their legs. That’s the sort of environment that I grew up in. Latinx culture is full of those upholding machismo and marianismo; women must dress modestly, act obediently, learn their place. It’s hard to express yourself in a culture that will demonize you if you dare step even an inch outside of the gender norm. It’s even harder to develop a strong sense of self-worth in an environment that does not want you to love yourself. It’s taken a long time but today, I allow myself the strength that younger María did not have to be who I am authentically.
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