As a woman, we deserve better than this

“The epitome of hypocrisy” – transgender Tiktok creator Dylan Mulvaney’s releases single “Days of Girlhood”
Dylan Mulvaney, Day 365 Event 2023 by Stay Tuned NBC is licensed under CC BY 3.0.
“Dylan Mulvaney, Day 365 Event 2023” by Stay Tuned NBC is licensed under CC BY 3.0.

In an era where women are obliterating stereotypes and rewriting the narrative of femininity with unyielding passion, it’s absolutely enraging to witness TikTok creators, who aren’t even authentic artists, unleash songs that not only miss the mark but actively sabotage the hard-won progress real women have fought tooth and nail to achieve.

Dylan Mulvaney, a TikTok content creator who gained notoriety by documenting the transition from male to female, has unleashed a track titled “Days of Girlhood” that isn’t just a letdown; it’s a vicious slap in the face to every single woman who has dared to defy societal norms.

I mean, did Mulvaney even watch “Barbie”? Did Mulvaney listen to Billie Eilish’s “What Was I Made For”? 

The sheer tone-deafness of it is suffocating.”

Let’s call it like it is: Mulvaney’s song is a disgrace. There’s not an ounce of lyrical brilliance here; instead, the lyrics glorify superficiality and perpetuate damaging stereotypes that have shackled women for far too long. If Mulvaney had any intention of promoting a positive “girlhood” experience, the song should’ve been a celebration of the strength, resilience and boundless potential of women.

What’s so damaging about a song, you ask? Well, let’s dissect these toxic lyrics.

In the opening verse, Mulvaney addresses “women of all ages,” Hold up. Women of all ages? How about we scrap that notion entirely, because no 12-year-old girl should be led to believe that this song represents the blueprint for her girlhood.

Mulvaney continues by preaching about how “girls like me gotta learn the basics.” 

Real women don’t need to “learn the basics,” and they certainly don’t need to be fed these stereotypical, almost lascivious, notions. The only genuine sentiment in this verse is when Mulvaney mentions texting the group chat to check on everyone’s whereabouts.

The chorus is where the most offensive content lies. Mulvaney goes through the days of the week and reduces girlhood to:

  • “Monday, can’t get out of bed”
  • “Tuesday morning, pick up meds”
  • “Wednesday, retail therapy / ‘Cash or credit?’ I say yes”
  • “Thursday, had a walk of shame / Didn’t even know his namе”
  • “Weekends are for kissing friends”
  • “Friday night, I’ll ovеrspend”
  • “Saturday, we flirt for drinks
  • “Sunday, the Twilight soundtrack / Cues my breakdown in the bath”

How utterly insulting. 

So according to Mulvaney, girlhood equates to one-night stands, flirting for drinks, laziness and dependence on medication.

I get it – maybe the song wasn’t meant to shatter barriers or inspire greatness, but the sheer tone-deafness of it is suffocating. The problem with this song isn’t just that it’s offensive; it’s downright dangerous. It peddles a toxic message to impressionable minds, particularly young girls who are still in the process of shaping their perceptions of womanhood amidst a world that relentlessly opposes them. These girls are still learning to navigate a world that throws everything against them and they have to make way through all the extreme feminists, unrealistic expectations and other dangers of the world. Mulvaney’s song teaches them that their value lies in conforming to the narrow confines society imposes upon them.

Moreover, Mulvaney’s actions exemplify the epitome of hypocrisy. While purporting to champion the experiences of women, Mulvaney shamelessly exploits their struggles and achievements.. The transition into “girlhood” is not an earnest exploration of gender identity but a calculated performance designed to garner attention and validation from an audience that remains ignorant of the true complexities of womanhood.

I mean, did Mulvaney even watch “Barbie”? Did Mulvaney listen to Billie Eilish’s “What Was I Made For”?”

What’s even more infuriating is the platform that’s been afforded to spread this distorted portrayal of womanhood. TikTok, a space where genuine creators strive to foster meaningful connections and share authentic experiences, has become tainted by disingenuous representations of femininity. 

We will not be silenced. We will not allow our identities to be reduced to mere caricatures for the amusement of others by Mulvaney’s charade. Our womanhood is multifaceted, resilient and indomitable, and we will not allow it to be tarnished.

Our womanhood is our power, and we will wield it with pride and conviction, no matter the obstacles we may face. Mulvaney has only succeeded in igniting a fire within us with this disgrace of a song – a fire that will burn brightly until true equality and empowerment are realized for all women, everywhere.

Real womanhood bears no resemblance to “Days of Girlhood.” Real womanhood is an indescribable journey that defies categorization. Womanhood encompasses a myriad of experiences. As a woman, we deserve better. Mulvaney’s depiction of womanhood is not just deeply offensive; it’s utterly unacceptable.

Mulvaney is an abysmal flag bearer for the femininity that I am and for the amazing dynamic, creative and brilliant women that I know.

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  • KaraApr 11, 2024 at 8:36 am

    I find this article incredibly hypocritical. You refuse to acknowledge Dylan’s gender identity as you both invalidate her womanhood and refuse to use any pronouns to refer to her, yet you claim that “real womanhood” is defined by being “multifaceted, resilient, and indomitable.” Dylan faced a massive wave of hatred and bigotry by conservatives throughout her time on social media, yet she continues to be vocal about her experiences as a trans woman and as an activist for LGBTQ rights. Her persistence to speak her mind in the face of nationwide hostility showcases incredible resilience and indomitability. If your claim is true, then trans activists like Dylan Mulvaney, Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera are more womanly than you or I will ever be. You shun Dylan for generalizing womanhood, yet you simultaneously generalize the experiences of all trans women according to one’s song. Last year, at least 32 trans women were hate-crimed and murdered in the U.S. It doesn’t sit right with me that you can sit here in a position of privilege and discredit their womanhood whilst they face violence and transphobia on a daily basis. You are entitled to your own opinion, but I encourage you to educate yourself on the history of trans activism. I’m sure you’ll locate “real womanhood” once you do.

  • Macie BrooksApr 8, 2024 at 10:17 am

    I thought this was beautifully written and executed the disgrace and how insulting this song truly is. It is unfair, and Rebekah highlighted that wonderfully.

  • Guy, ‘24Apr 4, 2024 at 1:15 am

    I thought you did a fine job writing the article from the true female perspective. As a man myself, it’s quite hard for me to comprehend how someone (whether born a man believing that’s who they truly are (or not) ) would be in the best position to write a song about one’s personal experience regarding womanhood, especially when there was no real mention of how he/she was a transgender. Overall, I believe you did a great job expressing your thoughts, and providing personal details over the inherent issues associated with his disgraceful song.
    Class of 2024
    Go Chiefs!

  • Saivee ChintamaneniApr 3, 2024 at 12:38 pm

    Dear Rebekah,
    I would like to preface that this comment isn’t intended to be rude. Though this article comes across as misguided, I can sense the passion you write with clearly and maintain a deep respect for anyone willing to leave their opinion open to public comment. That being said, this article is a testament to the growing trend of people repeating a viewpoint to capitalize on thinly veiled bigotry, and intentionally or not, the agenda you tout gives credibility to a movement infiltrating intersectional feminism and turning it against itself.
    The underlying theme of this article is feminism. I don’t know if you identify with feminism or the ideas that surround the movement, but your emphasis on uplifting women suggests that you understand the collective struggle women face to be heard, recognized, and ultimately, get what they want. Though it may seem strange, this is one of the many reasons that Dylan Mulvaney should be admired through the lens of a uniquely “feminine” struggle. When discussing the broader impact Mulvaney has had on the social landscape, you must consider the struggles that Mulvaney herself faced in the process of simply being a female in the public eye. Your article washes over the years of hate Mulvaney has experienced as an outspoken activist, and a Google search would reveal Mulvaney herself detailing the excruciating discomfort her activism has brought her throughout her journey. For example, in her “Two-hundredth Day of Girlhood” video published just over a week before the release of this Op-Ed (Dylan publishes TikTok videos commemorating her days out as a transgender woman,) Mulvaney admits to her audience that the theme of her past year has been, in her words, “pain.” She quickly follows up by saying, “… and it’s not a bad thing. But it was so contrasting to the joy and ecstasy that I’ve experienced in those early days that it was almost comical, but also heartbreaking at times.” She then details how hard it was for her to grapple with the responsibilities of fame, specifically, the job of being a representative of the transgender community on an unfathomable scale. Mulvaney’s activism may not be tasteful in your eyes, and that’s okay, everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but it’s unfair to gloss over her entire story and act as if a bad song uproots all of the good that she’s done while in the public eye. You fail to understand that your take is not unique, but those who are speaking out against Mulvaney have been for the past few years and (I can assure you) do not hold women and women’s rights in very high regard.
    Back to the song. To frame “Days of Girlhood” as anything more nefarious than say, “California Gurls” by Katy Perry, or “Rich Girl” by Gwen Stefani, is to either deny that the latter songs promote sentiments that seem opposite progress (perhaps even in a “lascivious” manner), or, to suggest there’s something uniquely depraved about Mulvaney’s “Days of Girlhood.” From what I gather, you argue that this song, absent of whether there were genuine insidious attempts to undermine what it means to be a woman, poses a threat because of how it panders to a younger audience. You say:
    “[The song] peddles a toxic message to impressionable minds, particularly young girls who are still in the process of shaping their perceptions of womanhood amidst a world that relentlessly opposes them. These girls are still learning to navigate a world that throws everything against them and they have to make way through all the extreme feminists, unrealistic expectations, and other dangers of the world.”
    The only indication of pandering to all ages seems to be the line you quote, “women of all ages,” but the line immediately following that one states “Last look, quick change, sip champagne.” It’s bad faith to argue that Mulvaney is advocating for women of all ages to partake in the activities she details, but that seems to be the only hinge keeping your argument from falling flat.
    I understand the point of the article was not intended to be a deep-dive on Dylan Mulvaney, however, claiming Mulvaney is an “abysmal flag bearer” for femininity of “dynamic, creative and brilliant women,” necessitates context for the role of Mulvaney in pop culture, specifically revolving what she represents. Returning to the “Two-hundredth Day of Girlhood” video and finally heading to a close, you argue that Mulvaney’s attempt at documenting her transition exploits the struggles and achievements of women. Rebekah, who defines what is and isn’t an “earnest exploration of womanhood?” Certainly neither you nor I. You go into depth about “our” concept of womanhood saying, “Our womanhood is multifaceted, resilient and indomitable, and we will not allow it to be tarnished… Real womanhood is an indescribable journey that defies categorization. Womanhood encompasses a myriad of experiences.” How can you argue that real womanhood has no boundaries while simultaneously taking away that same nuance in the case of Dylan’s story? What is so different about her womanhood that constitutes a hit piece on her integrity as a woman? Why do you create this “us” versus “them” sentiment throughout your article? To deny Mulvaney her womanhood, and on top of that, refer to her series as a “caricature” of stereotypical womanhood, is to go against all of the precedents you built your entire article on. Mulvaney isn’t threatening our integrity as women, instead, you are threatening her integrity as a woman, questioning her version of womanhood simply because of a silly song (the profits of which are currently going to the Trevor Project, an organization “focused on suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning youth,”) and creating a victimhood complex out of a situation that does not warrant one whatsoever. We, as women, cannot feel threatened by the way someone else chooses to express themselves. I know I certainly don’t. In doing so, you invalidate not only Mulvaney but her entire audience of people who identify with her journey, some of whom are bound to be women. Women, like Mulvaney, you, and I. And that’s not very Barbie-like, is it?

    Sorry this is so long, I’m attaching my name to it, so I wanted it to encapsulate all my thoughts on the article.

  • Anonymous the SecondMar 29, 2024 at 10:32 pm

    A disclaimer: I am a man. My birth certificate records the obvious observation made by everyone in the delivery room. Despite being male, I feel very qualified to give an opinion on this article and the responses. I have a mom, grandmother, and sisters… in fact, half of everyone I know is a woman. If someone can choose to flip genders then my proximity to women makes me as qualified as anyone I suppose.

    I cannot resist the urge to respond to the comments.

    The first comment by John asks “what do you mean by “real women?” The article mentions “real womanhood”. I have watched the women in my family fight for equal rights in the workplace, to have safe spaces where they can avoid the leering eyes of men, to even get safe places to breastfeed their babies. Every step of progress has been fought for by brave women. Nothing has been given freely. Every inch of equality has had a cost as misogynistic men have conspired to keep women held down. Now, women have men once again infiltrating their spaces. And their sports. And once again men are telling them that their brand of feminism is better. Susan Dalgety has a great line from an article about J.K. Rowling’s stance on this subject. “Meet the new boss, sisters. Same as the old boss, but in heels. Only this time, we won’t get fooled again.”

    Another comment, by Anonymous, makes the suggestion that the author “write an article about every single cisgendered woman who has written a song about anything but “the strength, resilience, and boundless potential of women”. Whoever wrote this comment has never been in journalism. Dylan is an incendiary personality, and clearly draws people into one of two camps. This article is not about all artists writing songs and their folly of stepping over the fallen feminist pioneers to grab an appletini. It is about a controversial personality celebrating their flavor of womanhood that is not to the author’s liking. I agree with the author of the article that this flavor tastes like mud. It might as well be the theme song for the fall of the republic as decency, modesty, and morality shivel and die. As an aside, I appreciated the Barbie name drop. Someone was out there buying tickets to lead to nearly $1.5 billion in ticket sales. I will take President Barbie or Doctor Barbie over ditsy-Dylan or promiscuous-Mulvaney any day of the week. And I am not alone.

    Finally, the other comment repeats the refrain “As a woman, …”. I love it. She is hitting on a lot of good points……… however…… that last line is tripping me up a little. And maybe the “I can enjoy the things I like without without judging…”. High school is notorious for the awful behavior girls show toward one another. There have been movies and plays solely focused on this (Mean Girls… again culturally relevant). To say they are not judgy is a crazy statement to make. I like this commenter, however, as the writer isn’t attacking the author.

    I think that if Dylan were embracing real feminism the author wouldn’t have written the article. The article is about Dylan’s use of his/her platform to celebrate the worst qualities of being a girl. Or a boy for that matter. In the end, the barren wasteland of Dylan’s morality is really the article topic, not Dylan’s appropriation of womanhood.

    To wrap things up, I suspect half of the readers of this article feel exactly like the author. And half are triggered. And that is, ladies and gentlemen, cis or otherwise, exactly the way they want you to be.

  • womanMar 29, 2024 at 2:58 am

    As a woman, I am not threatened by trans women.

    As a woman, I relate to the lyrics Dylan wrote.

    As a woman, I do not feel the need to put down other women when stating my opinion.

    As a woman, I believe in equal representation of all women, even if i cannot relate to them.

    As a woman, I would never degrade another woman, because I know what it feels like for men to do it 24/7.

    As a woman, I know how it feels to be judged for everything I do.

    As a woman, I can enjoy the things I like without judging other women for not liking it.

    As a woman, I take medication.

    As a woman, I love shopping.

    As a woman, I am artistic.

    As a woman, I’ve flirted with people I wish I didn’t.

    As a woman, I would never write this about anyone else ESPECIALLY not another woman.

  • AnonMar 27, 2024 at 11:03 pm

    While I’m not a fan of Dylan Mulvaney, I have to go up to bat for her. Aside from the blatant transphobia, I feel that this critique is harmful, hypocritical, and lacks nuance. Here’s why.

    First off, if you actually listen to the song, consider contextual clues, and even research the meaning/intention, it is apparent that “Days of Girlhood” is based on Dylan Mulvaney’s experience as a trans woman and is not meant to represent or resonate with all women.

    Furthermore, implying that transgender women must adhere to a specific agenda to deserve a voice in media is restrictive and unjust. Artists, whether you consider them “real women” or not, should have the freedom to explore various themes and perspectives, and not every piece of art needs to conform to a specific agenda or resonate with you to be valid or meaningful.

    I also find this piece hypocritical in the sense that it perpetuates a double standard that scrutinizes transgender artists while giving cisgender artists a pass for similar themes/content. If you genuinely have an issue with the content of the song, I implore you to write an article about every single cisgendered woman who has written a song about anything but “the strength, resilience, and boundless potential of women”. Should we critique and start a culture war over every single silly, lighthearted song? Or does your argument only apply to trans women?

    I also find it odd that this article critiques Mulvaney’s “narrow” perspective on womanhood, yet also seems to make universal declarations about what makes a woman and what all women must struggle with. Your argument fails to recognize the intersectionality of identities and experiences within the broad population of women.

    Also, criticizing Mulvaney’s song for its commercialism while endorsing the Barbie movie as peak feminism overlooks the inherent contradiction in holding up a commercialized product as a paragon of authenticity, and directly refutes your own belief that one piece of media should not speak for all women.

    In the future, I would recommend that you include the full song lyrics as to not mislead your readers, and do some research before you decide to peddle misinformation. A quick search would reveal that previous to becoming a TikTok influencer, Mulvaney had a career in musical theater and graduated with a BFA in fine arts, which, in my opinion, makes it a little ironic that you deemed her an inauthentic artist solely because of her presence on a social media platform.

  • JohnMar 24, 2024 at 1:06 pm

    what do you mean by “real women”?