Big Girl Badge: I Object To This Contest

This is a reader submission for our Big Girl Badge week. Tell us how you evolved from woman-child to woman, and you could win hundreds of dollars of prizes! (Send your 800 word submissions to Jennifer [at] or Ashley [at]

Okay, you wanted a submission about evolving from woman-child to woman? Here it comes.

I would love to get that sparkly prize that you are metaphorically dangling in front of me (the flask part was the kicker for me), but I am probably blowing it by being completely honest. Because I have learned that nothing is worth betraying who I am as a person.

I object to this contest. I object to the idea of the woman-child. I object to the title. “Big Girl Badge”? I say this with genuine love and respect for you (because I frequently love what you write and have posted on the Gloss) but honestly, fuck you. You don’t get to hand out the “Big Girl Badge”. No one does. We earn it by proving to ourselves how capable we are. So I won’t be bragging about my accomplishments. And I won’t be competing with other women to try to measure ourselves against some imaginary life milestone yard stick. That won’t help me, that won’t help them, and it won’t help anyone reading this.

Here’s the thing: as individuals, we all mature differently. And we all have to find a way to live on this fucked up planet that works for us.

So judging each other, judging ourselves, is not a good thing. What makes me a woman, and not a woman-child may be completely different. And someone may look at my life and think “Hey lady, you are x years old, why don’t you grow up already?” And the most clear cut example of being an adult that I can think of is this: being able to respond “Fuck off”. Because that is the thing, right there. It is MY life. And these are MY decisions. And you don’t have to agree with them, but you should respect them, just as I must take responsibility for them.

So if anyone reads this, please understand me. You are in charge of your life. And I will respect you for shaping it however you feel best works for you. You can earn that badge every day, but you are the person you have to earn it from.

With love and respect,


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    • Rezia

      I like you a lot, RML. I think you’re the nicest person on the internet.

      As long as I can remember, I’ve worried about what people would think of me. I worried when my aunts clicked their tongues over my not being married yet. I don’t want to get married, it terrifies me.

      I worried when people said I wasn’t nerdy enough to be an engineer. Just because I’m cute doesn’t mean I can’t do nerdy shit.

      I worried about every single negative opinion that anyone had of me is what I’m saying. And I was so miserable I wanted to die.

      It was only this year that I learned that you could kind of tell any nosy busybody to go fuck themselves if they were making you feel bad. Well. Figuratively, you could tell them that. In your mind. Can you imagine a dinner table full of Indian Aunties the moment after you’ve told one of them to go fuck herself? It’s not a pretty sight.

      Anyway, thanks for your post. It made me feel good about myself.

    • Pants


    • Cee

      Loved this!

    • Anne

      This kicks ass. Thanks.

    • Phoebe

      Hang on, I think you’ve taken this idea completely the wrong way to how it was intended. This isn’t a contest where people submit their stories and some nameless Gloss staffer is sitting there judging whether they are ‘worthy’ of being a ‘Big Girl’. As far as I can tell every story submitted is a unique and personal account based on each author’s subjective opinion on what she feels makes her a grown-up woman, and the point WAS to celebrate different people’s individual achievements. No one is implying that everyone must achieve the exact same things in order to be objectively considered an adult.

      The only person being judgmental here seems to be you.

      • Maggie

        Seconding this. I feel like there’s a prize to encourage people to submit instead of just not submit at all because 800 words is SO MANY [not really, but when you're writing for free, it is]. When a winner’s announced, I would guess it goes to the most well-written piece, not the most “grown-up” piece.

      • T-Lex

        I get it! What I mean is that I baulked when I saw the “big girl badge” too, as a woman we are constantly facing sexist infantilizing remarks. However, I love the gloss community and I feel pretty safe here. So I took this more of the spirt of the law rather than the letter. When reading the gist of the contest what I got was that there are things/moments where we feel like we have stepped up or made a transition (Oprah would certainly call it an “Ah ha” moment) and thats what we could write about.

        Also I agree with the idea that more often than not these contests are judged on the writing vs content. Thus I think you have just as much of a chance as anyone else because you wrote a really kick-ass submission.

      • Ashley Cardiff

        Here’s a bunch of loosely connected statements:

        I like this submission. I, too, kind of cringe at the term Big Girl Badge, but I cover that in my own post (on bringing lunch to work).

        I definitely don’t see this as a competition–Maggie’s correct, the prize is there to encourage participation. We wanted to do this theme week because both Jennifer and I get really tired of writing (especially on the internet) that celebrates being a bad person, or wallowing in your flaws… as opposed to doing something about them.

        That said, if your idea of adulthood is simply, for example, buying a plant and keeping it alive for more than a week, that’s great. We do all mature differently and it’s important to reiterate that.

        Still, this is definitely not something we’re doing to judge each other. I think Phoebe is completely right to say that what we’re doing is fostering/sharing/discussing different peoples’ ideas of growth and maturity. Which I think is an inarguably positive thing.

        Last, we always welcome you to disagree, especially if the disagreements are thoughtful and compassionate. Like this one.

      • Jennifer Wright

        Ashley, I have kept that plant alive for MONTHS now, and I am really proud of myself. His name is Larry. The plant’s. You’re going to have to take care of him if I ever go on vacation.

      • Renee

        I had a plant named Harold but he died…I’m not good with plants.

        I think the prize aspect makes it seem like it is a contest, a competition, which does require some degree of judging. Also the “Big Girl Badge” does have some not so great associations. So I think it is easy to see how someone might get the wrong idea.

    • BL

      This should win :)