Understanding the link between your appearance and identity—especially as an artist in the spotlight—is rather daunting, but it can also be groundbreaking for struggling fans. In a recent interview with Glamour, New York rapper Young M.A opened up about her struggles with femininity in light of being gay and seeking acceptance from her mother.
“I was a tomboy as a kid,” she foregrounds. “I played football and basketball with the boys. In my mind I wanted to be a little boy. I had one little phase when I was trying to be girly between 15 and 17. I was lost. I didn't know what I was trying to do. I wasn't happy.”
What Young M.A described is the struggle so many queer kids face when their identity doesn’t match the presentation or persona they feel they’re expected to deliver. With that comes a harrowing duality that has you second guessing every minute aspect of your appearance. The concept of performing femininity for acceptance is not exclusive to LGBTQ+ youth but rather a universal pressure that can have dangerous consequences.
“I was a boy all my life growing up, and then I was just like: Maybe this is a phase,” Young M.A continued. “Maybe I should try to be a little more girly, for my mom's sake. I always liked women, and I didn't think my mom accepted me even though she did.”
Throwing on makeup and retooling your wardrobe in a bid for external validation is a harsh reality. In the process of fitting into a box, you crush your true self. Luckily, by sharing her story, Young M.A allows herself to be a light for her queer fans and anyone else struggling to accept themselves and bridge the gap between who they feel they are and who they're expected to be.
“Now I look at beauty as, like I said, being yourself, being happy with you, loving the skin you're in,” Young M.A concluded, reminding us all that it does get better and everyone does have the chance to fall in love with themselves.