Jen and young girl as a princess
Jen and young girl as a princess

I don’t wear glass slippers. I shatter them.

To: The old standard of beauty

From: Coach Jen Welter (As told to Lauren Brill)

Do you want to become a better writer? Join our free writing workshop


To the old standard of beauty,

You told young girls like me to make sure we wear makeup, do our hair and wear the perfect dress, while we wait for a guy to change our whole story. The women you told us about include Cinderella and Snow White. No offense to Snow White, but she just laid there until some guy kissed her and woke her up.

Coach Welter is encouraging young women to challenge old standards of beauty. Photo by Heather Mitchell

You projected this idea that we had to be thin and polished to be beautiful. By your standards, pretty was defined by not only what you looked like but also what you did. Pretty girls weren’t on the math team. Pretty girls did not play aggressive sports. Pretty was more than a look, it was an entire image. These strict rules for beauty made me question my reflection. While I thought I could be cute, I would have never called myself beautiful.

I always loved sports. At first, I played tennis because I saw women playing on TV. As I grew older, I started engaging in team sports: softball and soccer. But it was at 22 years old when I signed up for football that I found the magic that ended your spell.

girl playing football
Jen started playing football at age 22.

When I started playing football I thought that meant I needed to be big, wear black and look tough. At 5-2, that wasn’t an easy mold to fit. One time I was on my way to a game with my coach

Some guy goes to him, “How did you get so lucky to ride to the game with a cheerleader?”

He responded, “That’s my linebacker and she will kick your ass.”

I realized it made opponents mad that I was small and feminine. So, instead of trying to create this football persona, I decided to be an extreme version of myself. I threw out my black undershirt. I stopped trying to look tough. On the field, I’d sport makeup, pigtails and a pink undershirt. I couldn’t get in someone’s face at 5-2, but I could blow kisses to them on the sideline while telling them that I would be all over them the next play. While teammates thought I was hilarious, I threw off my opponents, giving myself a competitive edge.

Enter Your Email to Unseal Premium Content

Log in to The Unsealed or enter your email below and subscribe to our free newsletter to read the rest of Jen's letter
female football player
Jen embraced her femininity while playing football. Photo by RDD Photos

Suddenly, I owned who I was – a woman who loved and played football. It worked for me and allowed me to embrace being a girl who didn’t fit the mold. I felt comfortable in my skin, as I didn’t have to choose between this unrealistic standard for women that you created and my passion for athletics. I could get my hands dirty but still get my nails polished. This revelation not only made me a more confident person but also a better football player.

I could get my hands dirty but still get my nails polished.

I embraced being small and used my ability to get low and be quick to my advantage. Ultimately, I mastered the game and I became the first female coach in the NFL. Now, I travel the country teaching other young women the sport, while instilling in them the idea that their biceps can be bigger than their boobs and they can still be beautiful.

Jen aims to encourage young girls to create their own definitions of beauty.

I am personally making sure our world gets farther and farther away from you. But I am not alone. Companies are featuring more models with different shapes and sizes. Young girls are playing sports at record numbers. Women are embracing their unique body types.

We are no longer defining beauty by our image, but rather setting standards with our attitude.

As a football player and most certainly as a coach, I am honored that I shattered the glass sideline, but I am even more proud that I am a part of a generation that is shattering the glass slipper.

Living happily ever after,

Coach Jen Welter
1 comment
Share this letter

One thought on “I don’t wear glass slippers. I shatter them.

  1. I love how this so perfectly fits the psychological concept that two seemingly opposite notions can both be true and at the same time. A positive living proof that you can be both… of anything. It’s also such a great representation of how wholeness is achievable; we can work to have the most true aspects of ourself evolve and shine. This authenticity becomes powerful and in your case, gave you that competitive edge. Well done, thanks for sharing.

Leave a Reply

Tell us your story

Write a letter of your own and respond to letters from the Unsealed community.

Write A Letter Now

Find A Pen Pal

Mange push notifications