I am not a member of the She Woman Man Haters Club. I love men. I respect men and the role that they play in society and in the home. I support feminism to the extent that women deserve all around equal treatment in the workplace and society when compared to treatment of men.
I support busting out the glass ceiling and finding as many advancement opportunities without discrimination of gender. I do not support extreme feminism – I do not want or expect any special treatment because I am a woman. I just want to be seen as an equal.
With that being said, I wanted to discuss why gender equality is so important, and why (despite common misconception) it has not happened yet.
1. The impossible standard of beauty
From the time little girls begin taking interest in anything entertainment related we experience having an impossible standard of beauty thrust upon us. From age three when our heroes are beautiful, slim, and perfectly sculpted Disney characters into our preteen years where all the girls starring in our favorite TV shows somehow found a way to accelerate themselves straight through the awkward middle school stage. To becoming a grown woman and having to accept that society already has a grading rubric for what can be considered beautiful.
Everywhere women go, we are constantly reminded of what society considers beauty to be. We live in a society where we have sadly become accustomed to seeing the men in our lives worshipping other women’s bodies – and as a result having unachievable comparisons placed upon us.
Don’t we deserve to live in a society where we can find the beauty in each woman’s individuality? A society that doesn’t need pounds of makeup and photoshop to make a magazine cover? A society where men are free to believe any woman is beautiful without having their imaginations constantly filled with photoshopped and airbrushed images that are unachievable to the everyday woman. We deserve a society that supports individuality and realness.
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2. Outer beauty overtaking inner beauty and intelligence
Understandably so, if a woman is aesthetically beautiful that is the first attribute that will be noticed and appreciated. However, it seems that beauty tends to remain the only attribute that matters. Her intelligence and thoughtfulness taking a passenger seat to her outward appearance.
I am a writer, and as an aspiring author, I can attest that maybe only one fourth of the emails I receive on my social media platforms focusing on my creative writing actually pertain to my writing. It is a slap in the face to pour so much heart into writings and to receive more praise on my forever deteriorating appearance than the thoughts that I have to share.
Contrary to the beliefs of the horny men flooding my inbox, I have important and thoughtful things to say. I am not flattered by someone vainly liking me because of how I look in a picture. I, and all other women, deserve to live in a world where our outward appearance can be placed aside, instead of our intelligence. We deserve to live in a society that does not assume that we are stupid or vapid because someone finds us attractive. A society where our intelligence is appreciated more than our bra size.
3. At least you are pretty
Outward beauty can excuse absolute stupidity in our society. Statements like “at least you are pretty,” serve no purpose besides standing as a reminder that as long as we women are pretty then we are successfully contributing enough to society. I know beautiful women who have been conditioned by these statements and now believe that they can reach their full potential by simply being beautiful.
Keeping their hair, skin, body, and nails “on fleek” so that they can find a man to provide them with a glamorous life. And if they are to achieve this glamorous life then they will consider themselves successful. It is cliche, but beauty fades and society needs to realize this and urge women to push themselves intellectually.
Why aren’t smart women recognized as being sexy? Why can’t such large portions of Americans tell us who Sappho, Marie Curie, Emily Dickinson, and Margaret Hamilton were? Because what they contributed to society did not involve sexualization. They didn’t do groundbreaking things like show their breasts or balance wine glasses on their butt.
They just did things like writing Apollo 11’s source codes that got man to the moon. Women and men deserve to live in a better society. A society that pushes women to push themselves. A society that admires intellectual women instead of scolding them by labeling them “dorks”.
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4. The mind boggling ideal that men are the owners of our bodies
Men like breasts and men like to see breasts. But contrary to popular belief, breasts do serve an actual biological purpose besides creating arousal. It is socially acceptable and actually encouraged, to use our breasts for anything in public besides what they are placed upon our bodies to do.
Seeing breasts displayed in a sexual way that is arousing to men is great, but for the love of all things holy do not use them to feed your child because that is “gross” and doesn’t make men feel warm and tingly. Who are men to tell us what we can and cannot do with our bodies?
I firmly believe that I was not placed on this earth to have my clothing and actions dictated by men. And in the 21st century, “What was she wearing?” is still a question. Society is so swayed to being a male utopia that a woman can say “rape” and the question of what she was wearing comes into play.
As if showing skin excuses or gives anyone the right to our body. I am a woman and I am the owner of my own body, no matter what I wear or do not wear I am the owner. No one holds any right to my body besides me. Accusing a woman of subconsciously “asking for it” is never a valid excuse.
We are not a vacant body looking for an owner – there is already one there and no matter how a woman chooses to adorn herself is not indicative of what she is looking for sexually. Women deserve to live in a society where they can walk out of the house and be comfortable in no matter what they are wearing, comfortable to use their breasts for what they are designed to do. A society where we do not feel owned or obligated to any man.
5. Tirelessly apologizing for being strong
We are tired of apologizing for our strong qualities. If a man corrects another man, it is generally taken with a certain level of respect. However, when a woman corrects a man, she is often labeled as a “b*tch.” Just because we are smart and powerful does not make us bitchy. It does not make us “know-it-alls.” It makes us equal.
Women shouldn’t have to question their rights to speak up in fear of the labels that will be cast. We are just as human and have just as much right to an opinion as men. We are not self-centered – we are smart and opinionated women – and society desperately needs to learn the difference.
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I am a feminist because if I have children one day I want them to grow up in a different kind of society than I have. If I have a daughter, I don’t want her to ever think that being pretty is enough. I want her to grow up in a society where she can choose any career field that she wants without fear of judgment.
Where she can like what she wants to like without being labeled “a fake nerd girl’ who is only into such things to get boys. A society that promotes women’s intelligence rather than their bodies. I want the women my daughter looks up to be different than the ones I looked up to in my childhood.
For her to be exposed to intelligent and driven women in power and women trying to make a difference rather than the new Brittany Spears of society. And most importantly a society where she can walk down the street and feel safe. A society that doesn’t support catcalling or derogatory forms of picking up women.
If I have a son, I want him to live in a society where he respects women and does not gage their worth on a “1-10” scale based off of aesthetic beauty. A society where he doesn’t have over sexualized and photoshopped women shoved in his face, giving him impossible standards for his future wife. I want to live in a society that if I had a son and daughter they would both grow up with the same opportunities and same level of respect.