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  1. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    A needed girl's perspective!

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by GuardianWynn, Jan 15, 2016.

    I feel bad titling the topic that. I don't mean to imply a non-girl should not look or give their opinion. Most often I do try to look at a character in sort of this gender/race vacuum. I am a firm believer that these elements do not really shape a person. Obviously the environment and culture shape a person and how the culture treats gender/race can vary. But I think it is needed to remember that there is a step between race/gender, such as culture that has an outcome.

    Oops, getting off topic. I have a girl and I often think of her as sort of a normal girl. I, not being a girl, suddenly had some doubts that maybe I am mislabeling a few reactions/reasons. Perhaps I am over thinking this. So I would generally like an alternate perspective to mainly vote in on whether I may have made a real mistake or am just over thinking it.

    Okay, prelude to the issue out of the way.

    My girl. She is well, I can't see her wearing make-up. Okay, let me explain. It isn't that she has some vow against make-up and obviously I know a lot of girls don't like make-up. That isn't exactly the issue. The issue is, I don't see her even really thinking about boys in that way. To the point I even had her best friend comment on the effect having the following argument.

    "You need to finally get a boyfriend," best friend said.

    "Wait, you do realize I have had a boyfriend before," the MC said.

    "No, you didn't reject that guy. There is a big difference from not rejecting someone and accepting them."

    If that doesn't explain the point, the friend is commenting on how the MC just said yes not because she wanted too, but rather because she didn't want to hurt his feelings and they never really became emotionally involved.

    Thinking about my girls history. I think it makes sense. When she was about 14-ish, she did sort of have a traumatic moment which made her kind of anti-social. So, I think that killed the natural part of her that thought about things like "crushes." And by extension, I don't think she ever thinks about making herself look "pretty" for a potential romantic partner.

    I say this because, I often describe her as looking nice and being a normal girl and liking getting new clothes and picking pieces that look nice. But I see it in the sense of, not wanting to look like a bum, more than wanting to draw the attention of a room.

    Does all of that make sense?

    The other thing that it makes me wonder. Her early years. As I said, it is 14 that she became a bit anti-social. That makes me wonder if she was more of the "te-he" kind of girl before then. Obviously, I cannot ask you guys to writer my girls 13 and before years. My point is more this. I didn't see her acting that way, but I am wondering if that was perhaps more because I never saw her acting that way. I was sort of anti-social as a young child and being a boy makes me probably as far away as possible from being able to rate how a normal 13 year old girl reacts.

    So I am wondering if her being a te-he, talking about the cute boy to her best friend, kind of girl sounds like a needed feature to count her as a normal 13 year old girl, or if I am over thinking the situation.

    Thanks for all the feedback in advance.
     
  2. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    There's an unstated assumption in your post, that when girls/women want to look good, that goal is in the context of looking good for men. This is, IMO, not true.

    I blog about perfume (well, I used to), which means that I read a fair number of "beauty blogs", because often a person who blogs about perfume also blogs about makeup, and maybe fashion. I also sew, which means that I read some fashion blogs and a lot of sewing blogs and forums.

    I cannot think of even one specific occasion when those discussions addressed attractiveness for men. Not one. I'm sure that they have sometimes, but the fact that I can't remember even one...

    Actually, I'm wrong--I can remember some discussion about Felicia Day when she cut her hair short, and the men who gasped and ranted in horror about the idea that women would have short hair even though men (those men decreed) prefer long hair, and the discussion was about the fact that women don't make their hair choices to please men, thankyouverymuch.

    So (1) an interest in men and (2) an interest in one's appearance, don't necessarily have any significant connection. So, this:

    with its very strong implication that wearing makeup is about how a girl thinks about boys, doesn't parse for me. It's a little like, "I can't see her taking the bus....I don't see her even really thinking about boys that way." Transit, and makeup, don't need to have any connection with the opposite sex.

    Now, when I say "the opposite sex", that raises the question of whether girls who are attracted to girls are more romantic-partner-oriented when it comes to elements of appearance. I have no clue.
     
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  3. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I think what you've got there sounds fine.

    If girls and women put on make-up and nice clothing just for themselves, they'd probably do that much more often at home, without anyone present, not even the webcam.

    Girls absolutely wear make-up to look nice for the boys. Not all the time, though. Let's see; I've sometimes felt pressure having my nails and hair done because of other women. So that I'd appear like the kind of woman other women expect me to be as they're usually the judgiest here. Moments of social isolation when you can't talk about your favorite make-up brands, beauty salons, perfumes, and clothes are quite... interesting. While quite a lot of men seem to be perfectly fine with an au naturel girl. But that's just my experience. Social circles, culture, etc. will play a part here. Looking like the rest of the flock gives you a sense of belonging and makes it easier to be accepted, I think that's quite natural.

    When you're young, there's even more social pressure I think, but if the girl is naturally cute (as such beauty standards have gone nowhere), they can easily pull off the no make-up look. I didn't wear any make up until I went to senior high school, at which point I turned into a metalhead and therefore accommodated to the rules of the tribe (heavy eye make up, black hair dye, checkered skirts, fishnets, combat boots, a band shirt, etc.)

    But it's perfectly possible she won't feel any pressure to pretty up for boys and would have developed something of an emotional shield that keeps her from getting emotionally involved even with someone she considers nice and cute.
     
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  4. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I never dressed up or wore make up and I never had trouble getting boyfriends when I was a teen. And we giggled about cute guys just the same.

    (Apologies ahead of time for the reference but it fit. :p )

    But she wears short skirts
    I wear T-shirts
    She's cheer captain
    And I'm on the bleachers...
    She wears high heels
    I wear sneakers

    Taylor Swift - You Belong With Me Lyrics | MetroLyrics

    Some guys like made-up girls with heels, some like casual outdoorsy girls. There are all types of girls (and guys), write the one you want to write.
     
  5. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah.. I am aware of the unstated assumption here. I thought about editing it. But the basic point to the post was the position of when common normal aspects are more required. Like I said. I prefer stuff in a vacuum, but it isn't actually in a vacuum. And I can't be on both sides. So, whether my unstated assumptions were poor or not, the basic point I needed was an altering pov.

    So thanks you. :) Sorry for the late response! The forum did not notify me! I only noticed because Ginger commented a few minutes ago.
    Along with other discussion. I decided to make my girl in this case completely unaware of how to even properly apply make-up. For one it adds personality to her and can be a hang up I can play off of later. Being the stress of her mother talking down to her about not learning, or a the first situation in which she wants to apply it but has no idea how too.

    In a sense I suppose my post was more meant to be sort of.

    "Does anyone think 'oh just like a guy to not realize how ingrained this is in female culture' ." Which it doesn't seem to be a thought anyone is saying. I get nervous. I normally pride myself at being able to get into my female characters better. But I am not perfect. I normally do try and take the position that if I am wrong I want to be open to how I am wrong so I can learn and grow.

    I guess in this situation I was just letting the doubt get to me. Sorry about that and thanks for commenting.
     
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  6. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    There's a big range of people who are neither "themselves" or potential romantic partners. For example, when someone dresses up as a Wookie and goes to ComicCon, they generally are not dressing for potential romantic partners, nor are they dressing out of fear of judgemental peers. They're taking pleasure in their appearance, and they are enjoying sharing that pleasure with other people, whether those people are potential romantic partners or not.The same for a little girl who's wearing her swirly red Christmas dress for church.

    Those feelings don't go away when a person grows up. People dress and adorn themselves as self expression, as communication, as roleplaying, as celebration, as emotional armor, as as as as....it's endless. Attracting or pleasing a romantic partner is just one of dozens of motivations for dress and self-adornment.
     
  7. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    That's not always true, didn't Wolowitz sleep with an Ewok once?
     
  8. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah, I didn't mean to put so much of an under tone to looking nice into romance. lol. That was indeed a mistake.
     
  9. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, I'm not actually saying it's wrong to bring it up, because it is something that's relevant. Fashion and makeup and so on can be an issue for women, with a lot of conflicting feelings about whether one is knuckling under to societal expectations, whether one is tuning one's appearance to "the male gaze", whether a woman can wear a swirly dress and still be a feminist, and so on. That male gaze thing is, well, a thing. Whether a woman seeks it, or rejects it, or deliberately tries to offend it, or deliberately tries to not care about it. It's a thing.
     
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  10. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Good point.

    Thanks again for the contrasting counter point.

    Ironically on a side note. The only girl I actually have art of with make-up on, is a girl that probably dislikes it the most. Yet her reasoning is that she would use it nearly like a weapon. The type that can cry on cue, would rip her clothing and injure herself(black eye ext.) to help sell her story. She hates make-up, but if make-up, a black eye and flirting help her case she will do all three perfectly. Assuming she sounds like a horrible person when I say it like this?
     
  11. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I had no idea you were male. You have 1 500 posts here, and the whole time, I thought you were female. Huh.

    Anyway - I'd be careful about ascribing too much of a character's personality to any specific events. Most people are the way they are because of a lot of factors, not a sort of traumatic moment at 14. I'd also be careful about assuming what's "normal" for girls - there are lots of normal girls who aren't into clothes, who aren't into boys, etc. I work in a high school, and I'd say that the stereotypical "girly girl" is maybe twenty percent of the population, if that.

    So, I don't think there's anything wrong with your character the way you've described her. Yay!
     
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  12. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    My avatar is usually a girl. It throws people off. But that is because my avatar is art of my characters and I have more girls than boys.

    Also, yeah I agree, the definition of sterotype is "general thoughts from someone that does not know" lol. I mean, the defintion self admits it doesn't know what it is talking about.

    So, I wasn't getting up arguing in favor of stereotypes, rather wanted to make sure that I haven't missed a notable detail that just my natural perspective might not be able to see.

    Oh and if it makes it sound better. 14 was not some one time event she is dealing with. It is something she has sort of noticed at fourteen and will have to deal with for the rest of her life.

    Thogh, thinking about the position. Wait, I did say traumatic. I mean does it really sound that odd that a traumtic expierence would have a huge impact on a character's entire life?

    Two different character examples will fit this point better than the above girl. For sake of clarity I will name them.

    Elizabeth - her own mother tried to kill her at around age 16. She then ran away from home and joined a terrorist network. Obviously, she is not completel defined by that one event, but it did have a huge impact on her life. To the point I wrote a short story about her based her being 33 years old. Where she claims in a sense that as much as she wants to return to who she was, she can't. She can't change that after all the blood and death and fighting it is a part of her and it always wil be.

    Sorry, I hope I didn't get too up on my soap box. I am just curious your reply now. By the way, you are awesome!
     
  13. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think there are certainly traumas that impact someone's personality, for sure. But even in your Elizabeth's case, it wasn't just the initial trauma that messed her up, it was everything that happened based on the way she responded to the trauma - right? Like, there are people with horrible, abusive mothers who don't run away and join terrorist networks - they go on with more-or-less ordinary lives, with or without therapy.

    It can feel a bit one-dimensional to tie a character's whole personality into a single event. But, sure, a pattern of events could have an impact on them.
     
  14. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Before I derail the topic. Would you mind if I PM you? :)
     
  15. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, you can, but it's your thread, and fairly specific to your story, I think - I wouldn't worry too much about derailing!
     
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  16. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Oh and because I forgot to mention it before. I completely agree, basing a full character around one moment would be a bad idea.

    :)
     
  17. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah, that's why I didn't write there women do it for men only. But I think there's a degree of "looking good for others" not just for oneself.

    Maybe some people do it purely to please themselves, I'm not downright disputing that. They probably do pretty up at home as well, where no one is watching and expecting that.
     
  18. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Well, I'm an ex-girl (now a horrible old bat :eek::eek::eek:) and I can assure you I have never worn makeup. Hate the stuff. Fortunately so did all the boys I was attracted to, so wearing makeup wasn't something I felt I needed to do to 'get' boys. Ditto medium/high-heeled shoes. I always tried to look my best, but without artificial aids—especially those that restrict movement or ruin your skin and hair.

    I'm attracted to men who are natural. Clean, but natural. Give me a guy in a soft flannel shirt and hiking boots before one in a suit and tie any day. And no hint of hair grease. Aaargh....

    I think it can boil down to how much your character wants to fit in with the kind of people who wear make-up all the time—or expect somebody else to.
     
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  19. ArcticOrchid
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    ArcticOrchid Member

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    Your right that people don´t exist in a vacuum. As a pre-teen and up until around 15 - 16 I was very much a no make up, jumper (hoodie) and jeans kind of girl. Now I own one pair of jeans and no trousers except pajamas and gym clothes. I feel the most comfortable wearing nylons and a vintage style A line dress.

    What changed is that I moved internationally. I was all of a certain around people who didn´t know who I was and I could reinvent myself. In my old school I had created myself a reputation of a tomb boy, anti - make up girl. I felt so super self conscious when I put on mascara because I felt like everyone was looking at me and judging me for being false.

    last week I was feeling really crap (talking about being a girl, period pains) and I went to work in a jumper and some comfy trousers to work. I got almost as much attention for that as when I showed up in a 50s dress and pillbox hat. Even though as we are carers in a nursing home, all the girls at work dress like that. But they had never seen me not wearing a skirt or dress, it was out of character. Whether we want to or not the way we choose to dress and tailor our appearance does shape the way people see us and what they expect from us.

    Clothes and make up are external expressions of our identity. It goes way beyond trying to be sexually attractive. It can be used to demonstrate individuality, artistry, social status and sub-culture affiliation. It can also be used to be invisible.

    If a girl wants to be invisible on purpose but she is in a crowd or a social situation where every girl is dressing a certain way she will dress in that way. Imagine if you are at a formal event where every man is wearing a tuxedo and you are wearing jeans and a white t-shirt. That white t-shirt is no longer a neutral choice, you are making a statement and standing out from the crowd by wearing it. If a girl goes to a club where every girl is wearing a short, tight dress and false eyelashes and the girl is in a white t-shirt and no make up is she going to get attention for non-conforming to social norms.

    In that social situation make-up is not applied to gain attention put to avoid it, understand?

    On the other hand if a girl is dressed up like she is going to the club in a social group or situation where every girl is wearing jeans and t-shirt she is going to stand out. So certain fashions have different meanings in different social scenarios. An outfit that was design to blend in in the club stands out at school and vice versa.

    When I wore no make up, jeans and hoodie it was as much as a statement as when I am wearing the red lipstick and pillbox hat. I was and am going against the mainstream. Sometimes when I dress peculiarly I get self-conscious because I actually don´t want people to be looking at me but I still want to wear what I like, does that make sense?

    Also don´t fall into the trap that every girl who spends effort on her appearance and likes fashion is like one of the cliches from mean girls. Fashion is an art form, one which comes in many different styles. Fashion goes beyond pricey and trendy brands. It also includes going to the thrift shop, buying a dress for next to nothing and personalising it.

    Also becoming interested in make-up and clothes is one of the first way for girls (not all girls) to explore adulthood. I stayed away from make-up longer than my friends because I didnt want to grow up. My friends started wearing it early because they wanted to look and feel more grown up.

    and by the way applying make up, even a little like lipstick and mascara is not that complicated, either way not knowing how to apply it has never ever stopped a girl from wearing it.
     
  20. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    :friend:First, just I applaud you! I instantly think you are awesome and I am going to consider it a damn shame if this message doesn't recieve more likes!

    I may sound weird here, but what is a vintage style A line dress?

    Actually your story reminds me of one of my own, which I think you might like.

    Basically when I was a kid. I had long hair, which originally was not my choice. As a kid in school, it was the bane of my existance. I was pretty much instantly cast as the one with no friends because no one would accept the premise of a boy with long hair. lol.

    As a slightly older child. I took on the mentality of not caring. I was me, they could bite me. But at around 12. I became tired of long hair and the effort involved in keeping it and became interested in short hair. Yet, everyone had always demanded it. The fear of being labeled a sell out for making a decision I genuniely wanted to make became well, a thing.

    But then I remembered I didn't care about them and did it. So.. but that didn't change the fear. I suppose this is not a topic that needed a girls perspective as much as I thought, ironically it was still the girls perspective that helped me.

    I say that because you make a very good argument about just fashion in general. To the point I am curious if you have thought about this in length before or just that damn awesome art thinking up your points?

    In the end. I suppose the true thing that happened here, is became afriad that because I am not a girl, that people were going to call my theories invalid based upon that, but we all wear clothes. We all make choices. None of us live in a vacuum. I shouldn't let such fear get to me.

    I thank you again for helping give me my confidence back.:friend:
     
  21. ArcticOrchid
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    ArcticOrchid Member

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    An A line skirt flares at the hips but not so much that it would be called a ballroom gown. It can be any length and was particularly popular around 1950s.
    [​IMG]

    I started a similar thread recently about my intentions of writing a gay male character which I am nervous about because I am a straight woman.

    Ultimately people are just people. We, although we are different genders, went through the same thought process when we decided to change our appearance as young teens.

    Of course there are still some aspects of womanhood that I suspect that it would be difficult for men to completely comprehend. But isn't that the point of research and writing? To explore characters and scenarios that are foreign to you?

    Imagine how boring books would be if everyone always just wrote about their own personal experiences.

    In regards to my opinions of fashion, it's not something that I have thought about in great length. Rather a little fragment of my general observations.
     
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  22. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Just to restate it. You are damn awesome and I shall hear no word to the opposing opinion.

    :)

    Yes,, I agree completely. I had a chat where I mentioned that before. And as such it is much more important I think, to sound right than it is to be right. If a general audience doesn't realize that is how the world works(and the media is not based on informing the world at large this misconception) than people are not going to like seeing it. But something like a shark exploding in response to a bullet hitting an compressed air container, which would not happen, is highly loved.

    I guess I slid off topic there for a moment. Again, thank you. :)
     
  23. Heck
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    Heck New Member

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    Asexual. I think you are describing someone who is asexual. Of course she can still want to be romantic and have a meaningful relationship with boys, but see, that's where the unsociable personality comes in. She's just not interested in catching the eyes of all the boys, and her unsociability makes her fearful of long-term relationships. If she isn't just "not interested", she could just be really shy, which is a different struggle altogether.
     
  24. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm not following what you're saying here, but maybe I don't know which post you're responding to. Are you saying that a girl who doesn't want to wear makeup and girly stuff is asexual? Because I disagree, but there's no point in my detailing my disagreement if I've completely misunderstood your point.
     
  25. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    I am not sure I fully grasp what you are saying. Could you elebaroate please. :)
     

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