Do you overanalyse situations in your head until you feel dizzy? Or self-criticise and then embark on some barmy self-improvement programme?
Congratulations, you are in possession of a ‘girl brain’.
Illustrator Nina Cosford’s debut book, ‘My Name Is Girl: An Illustrated Guide To The Female Mind’, offers a tongue-in-cheek take on the complexities and anxieties of being female in the modern world.
Whether it’s an assault course of the daily challenges we face - including dodging cat callers and finding something to wear - or a chart comparing what we say and what we actually mean, includes a number of scenarios that will be oh so familiar to many of us.
Cosford tells The Huffington Post UK that, while she acknowledges that the female experience is extremely diverse diversity of women, she believes that women are conditioned to process information in a very similar way.
“I think there is a certain mentality and thought process that connects us all,” she says. “Overanalysing, over-worrying, saying one thing and meaning another, the need for self-improvement and self-criticism.”
While she acknowledges that her book doesn’t have the answers, she hopes to teach readers that “they are not alone in how they feel about themselves and the world around them”.
Cosford believes that as women, we need to give ourselves a break and not to take ourselves so seriously all the time. “We’re all trying our best (in whatever way, shape or form that may take) and life can be challenging for even the strongest of people. I think it’s also important to try and see a funny side to most things too...that always helps.”
She believes that this generation is particularly affected by anxiety to the paradox of too much choice.
“Nowadays, women can be independent, they’re (gradually) becoming more equal in the workplace and they have the freedom to explore so many more identities and life choices... But with choice can come confusion and insecurity, and I think that can be a major problem amongst most girls as they approach womanhood,” she said.
She also argues that social media and the need to “overshare” or create an alter-ego online is damaging girl’s self-esteem
“People can rely on this for validation and become addicted to comparing themselves to everyone around them; hence the rise of the status-obsessed generation,” she says.
“There can be a major gap between our status online and our status in real life and that troubles me a bit. These girls should be caring about their self-image and their experiences for themselves instead of for other people. Once they drop that need for validation they might start doing things for the right reasons.”
My Name is Girl by Nina Cosford (Quadrille £10)