As a typical young girl growing up in an aristocracy, Riza Hawkeye had many things to learn. She was a bright girl, strong and well-spoken, and had little trouble memorizing the agonizing volumes of etiquette which her sisters and friends all begrudgingly whined over, wondering instead when they would finally get to use their scant social skills, finally go out to balls and dance, meet boys, fall in love. Riza had no such interests, and yet she continued to study as she was told. She carried out every task with a perfection, that even into her adulthood caught her coworkers staring and gaping at the grace and ease in which she moved, and when asked what they were doing, only then snapped out of their stupor to sheepishly realize themselves that they were just watching Hawkeye serve tea.
Her parents often gone, she was looked after by her grandmother, a powerful matriarch with a strong sense of history and social pride. She had little tolerance for nonsense, and a flaming passion for all things associated with tradition and propriety, which she most often demonstrated on her most obedient granddaughter.
In her very young teens, Riza had to learn how to wear a corset. She remembers the first time she tried the garment, gritting her teeth, as her grandmother, pish-poshing the concept of graduality, yanked at the strings stretching across the girl's back, clicking her tongue as she paused to inspect critically, and yet again pull the cords another knot to bring the girl's figure to it's porcelain doll perfection. Riza hated it, but she never said a word through the years of tea parties and stuffy ballroom receptions, as she stood, fanning herself anxiously, and trying not to pass out from her steel chain of an undergarment, as she gracefully put on her facade, and gained the approval of everyone except for herself. It was perhaps because of her exceptional mask that it was most shocking when she first picked up a gun at sixteen, and declared, with an unshakeable sense of independence, that she wanted to follow her father's footsteps and join the Amestris military.
It had been ten years now, and people were still talking about it among the aristocracy. They gossiped and shook their heads over paper-thin tea cups and fine crystal champagne glasses what a shame it was to lose such a fine lady, and lovely socialite. They lamented the loss of dignity to her family, seeing the once perfect image of a lady being put into uniform and dirtied up like a man.
Riza didn't mind the talk. She smiled, and ignored the thoughts of what she once had, and what people were saying, as she raised her gun and aimed for the dead center of the shooting range target. Her calloused and greasy fingers pulled the trigger, letting the bullet sail to the dead center. A perfect shot. Nobody to admire it but herself. And that was good enough.
She decided, running her dirty fingers through her loosely twisted hair, and rolling her shoulders, reveling in the free motion her uniform allowed, that being a woman was far more rewarding than being a lady.