Launching the sub-column “Girl Talk” with a bang, THG editors Eunice & Liz take on the very sub column’s title like the original creators they are. In “Girl Talk”, you can expect real, heartfelt conversation from different girls with varying backgrounds. By girls for girls, consider us your gal pals reaching out over the screen to connect, answer, and chit chat! Watch this space for more exciting content as we add and include you in the making of this sub-column!

Interviewer: Liz

Eunice Tan

What is one major area you’ve struggled with as a female?

Have you ever looked in the mirror and felt… unsatisfied with yourself? Have you ever questioned if anybody cared about you as much as you care about them? 

I’m raising my hand! I certainly have, and the truth is, I still do.

When I was a little girl, I never cared much about how I looked because I was too busy playing and enjoying life to have the time to pause and scrutinize myself. I think that was the bliss of childhood and being a kid. But when I turned 14, I was going through a time of depression due to loneliness, and because I had nowhere else to look and no company to occupy my time, I started looking at myself (which definitely was not the right response!). I was overcome with this overwhelming feeling to fix myself. I did not look good enough. I was not pretty enough. That’s why people didn’t like me enough. So, I have to do something about it. That is what I told myself.

I’m sure you know how the story goes from then on. I started eating less, working out for hours every day, and I just constantly looked in the mirror. I criticized and evaluated every part of my body, putting myself down and treating my body like a mistake that needed to be corrected. I would harp on the little imperfections that nobody else might notice. But to me, it was my whole world, and when I looked at myself, my imperfections were all I could see. 

Initially, there was the “high” of success and results. I thought what I was doing helped and was right. But then, after 6 months of putting myself through this, I hit an all-time low. I started to hate myself more than ever, I would cry almost every day, and I would try harder and harder in my diet and workouts but nothing was happening. I was even more depressed than I was when I had started. Comparing myself with “perfect girls” was my emotional poison.

Whenever people complimented me or expressed interest in me, I would brush it off in my mind. I would say, “They don’t really mean it.” “They don’t actually care for me.” And “I will never be the person they think I am.”

Today, I am happy to say that I am in such a better place than I was 1 year ago! But the truth is, it did leave a scar on me. It took me more than 6 months to recover from damaging my metabolism, unstable hormonal levels, and most of all, the emotional turmoil. But through my hardships, God has made me stronger. Now, I look at my past pain as a testimony for me to relate with other girls who are going through the same problem and to help them. 

If you are struggling with self-image, remember that you are so much more than how you look. You can be brave. You can make a difference. You can make people smile. You can accomplish amazing things with the gifts God has given you. Get involved in things you are passionate about and invest in your hobbies! Getting your mind occupied on something else important will help remove the bad self-detrimental thoughts. Of course, God’s Word is the best truth to read to banish the lies! Read it daily. Do not listen to what the internet says. DO NOT COMPARE. Nobody has the right to tell you that you need to meet someone else’s standards in order to be loved because you already are loved–not only by God but by the people around you. People care more than you think. Listen to God and the people who love you for who you are. God and my family were there for me when I had nobody else. And even though I still struggle with image problems, the comfort of knowing they are with me has helped me SO MUCH. You are not alone!

Today, the allure of the mirror still captures me sometimes. There are times of the day when I still look at myself and criticize parts of my body. But I am fighting to defeat the temptation of the mirror by looking outside myself and focusing on my desire to glorify God in everything I do. The answer to self-fulfilment is not within me. It is found in Christ. So, I’m going to start looking at HIM and not myself! This has brought me so much more joy!

What is femininity to you?

To me, femininity is found in a powerful combination of strength and kindness. In the Bible, history, and even women I know personally, I am most inspired and encouraged by their overwhelming selflessness and love as well as their tenacity and diligence. Women can exemplify a special kind of strength that radiates love so brightly. Women do not need to be weak and directionless in order to be kind. We can have opinions, voice our thoughts, and be leaders while still demonstrating great kindness! On the other hand, we do not need to be “manly” or cold in order to be strong! What is so special about girls is we can be as “girly” as we want and still work hard and be an example of faithful fortitude. There is an increasing stigma that girls need to be less “girly” so that they can be strong and stand up to men. In response, I say, who says we can’t be “girly” and strong at the same time? I think any girl who loves pink or fashion can be as strong as a sporty, leather-jacket kinda girl! That is what makes girls special! Embrace your beauty as a daughter of the King and find strength in God our refuge! Strength is found in having spiritual solace and faith in God, not yourself.

What empowers you as a woman?

Personally, just connecting with other girls and sharing experiences, struggles, jokes, and encouragement empowers me! Having honest, transparent conversations with my mother and sister directs me toward wise choices I should make and helps me realize what it means to be a discerning woman in everyday situations. Being mentored by older women helps me seek security in my identity as God’s daughter. Additionally, being a mentor for younger girls empowers me because, as people always say, teachers learn more than their students do! Giving advice and being there for younger girls has helped me clarify my own thoughts and better understand what it means to be kind and strong. Also, reading God’s Word and evaluating current events through a biblical worldview helps empower me as well because the realization of God’s truth is the best way to become secure in one’s spiritual identity! Lastly, I write on my personal blog (Check it out xD: toberadical.com) about very transparent issues and personal growth, and many times, people actually reply or send personal messages to me about how God used my post to speak to them and help them. There is no greater feeling than realizing the fact that I have helped someone! This greatly empowers me to continue doing what I am passionate about and to be an impact!

How has your relationship with your father impacted your growth into womanhood?

Just thinking about my father makes me giggle! I adore Him so much for the gentle, humorous, and strong man He is! His faith in God and love for us inspires me so much. My father is the kind of person who shows his love through acts of service. Seeing him quietly serve us and put us first (even in simple cases like giving me the bigger piece of food) is so touching and inspiring. 

Whenever I’m down and questioning myself, asking myself questions like “Am I special?” or “Am I beautiful?”, my dad would turn to me and ask in return: “Is the sun hot?”–basically implying that I am special and beautiful haha. I would then laugh and smile. His reassuring love and actions inspires me to become a better person. My father shows me how a man can be gentle and still strong. Love you, Daddy!

Who inspires you as a woman?

Definitely my mom and sister are great inspirations! My mom’s undying diligence and sacrificial attitude shines brightly, even when she works behind the scenes. I love that we can talk about anything like best friends, and I really am encouraged by how she turns to God in every situation, putting Him first. My sister really inspires me to be brave and confident in my identity in Christ! I am encouraged by how God has worked through her life and her maturing into a godly young woman. It makes me look forward to my future as a growing young woman as well! One thing about my mom and sister is that they believe in me more than I believe in myself! They are my pillars!

What is something you feel every girl should know?

Jealousy and gossip are the ultimate poison to girl-girl relationships. Please STAY AWAY from them! See girls as fellow companions to encourage and love, NOT as competition. The weapons of jealousy and gossip are often the things that come in the way of forming strong friendships with other girls to empower each other in Christ. We should be helping each other, not bringing each other down!

A word of encouragement for any younger girls reading this?

You have something special to offer to this world! God is working through every single one of you through the simplest ways. Nurture your God-given gifts and put them to use! Invest in your talents to help others. You can make a difference!

Interviewer: Eunice

Liz Koh

What do you think about radical feminism today?

*cracks knuckles*

Aight.

Radical feminism of this era is a far cry from the original feminist movement. It’s evolved into an ugly monster; a laughably poor, hijacked copycat of true feminism. From a noble movement built upon respect, it’s morphed into a mob that hides disrespect behind intimidation. I fail to see how degrading the opposite gender exalts our own, nor how the adoption of elicit lifestyles typically known to men puts us on equal footing. 

Rather, as a female, it mocks me. 

In fact, I find countless contradictions within the pathos stuffed rhetoric. It’s almost as if whoever put the ideology together dismissed women as idiots and crammed together a pathetic excuse of an argument to serve us. 

It boasts about the empowerment unbridled freedom brings, whispers the pleasures of money and a season of singleness wasted on indulgence. It demeans mothers, it demeans those who dream of being a homemaker, and demeans those who choose to remain sexually chaste.

Women of the 1800s campaigned tirelessly for the right to vote, they fought for true equality. Fake feminism that calls girls to strip themselves of their femininity and don a false understanding of masculinity bites the hands that found it. In the still very much male chauvinistic dominated region of Asia, I have tasted raw chauvinism. It’s got more to do with an issue of respect than liberalisation that radical feminism loves to claim as omnipotent. Truly, the “cure” is but a placebo, poison even.

What, in your perspective, defines a godly woman after God’s heart?

Putting God first, being obedient to His call, and the willingness to be a vessel for His love to shine through.

What does it mean to be strong as a woman?

To be self assured. 

Understanding what strength means has been something I’ve personally struggled with for a long time. I think this ties hand in hand with the first question to some degree. Many of us have come to associate strength with fierceness, edginess, and masculinity…but is that really strength?

Once upon a time when I was a little girl, I was extremely sensitive, super fragile, literally the personification of demure. And gee did I get a whole lot of criticism for it. Skip forward to 11 year old, sweet little Liz was no more, in place was Liz version 2.0 – aggressive, strong willed, and argumentative. 

I went from a bunny to a banshee.

Truly, I pity those who had the misfortune of crossing me then. Last I heard, they are still deeply traumatized. However, to my disappointment, the other side of the pendulum had its own set of criticisms. Swinging from one extreme to the other, I thought I’d found my true identity. But one question screamed at me, “Must I as a female become akin to a man to be strong?”

Well, no. 

Strength is not defined by ruggedness and aggression. Gentleness is a strength. Emotionality is a strength. Feminity is a gift. Embrace it.

I’ve learnt to find my balance. I love pink as girly as that might be. I’m assertive, I will not hesitate to put someone in their place regardless of their gender. I feel deeply, I feel all the feels…but I am not subservient to my emotions.

Taking ownership of your emotions and actions then cultivating the willingness to constantly improve is strength. But most of all, the ability to build another up and empower them;

Now that ladies, that is strength.

How has your relationship with your mother impacted your maturing into a woman?

My mom isn’t the type to shelter her children from the reality of life. 

While somewhat harsh, this effectively forced me to toughen up and grow a thick skin whether I liked it or not. As a young girl I watched my mother soar up the career ladder in the bank and put the food on the table when my father’s ventures were still in its infancy. She taught me by example the true meaning of ride or die, and what fighting tooth and nail for your family meant. Never once did she hide the naked reality of what marriage is or prettied up what motherhood comprised of. She equipped me with life skills then gave me freedom to pursue projects and give them a test drive.

Despite being somewhat of a tiger mom, I as her daughter experienced sacrificial love in how she chose to homeschool my brothers and I despite having to give up her high flying career. Watching my mom boss up definitely set the tone for me.

What is your advice for young female leaders?

You know what Theodore Roosevelt said about how “speaking softly and carrying a big stick” will bring you far?

Dude ain’t lying sis.

Also recall how that one girl went loco when another girl aimed for “her man but not really is her man but really is her man” and became the she hulk unstoppable?

Now grab a couple girls and together, channel that energy into getting stuff done. Mind blown? Yeah so am I.

When did you reach your turning point from a girl to a woman? 

I view womanhood as a journey. I don’t think there’s a turning point as its the totality of many different experiences that have shaped my identity.

What is your favorite Bible verse for women?

Proverbs 31:25! yeet

One thought on “ Girl Talk: Womanhood ”

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