Even prior to social media, women were expected to live their lives a certain way to be accepted by society and please men. Women were expected to dress conservatively, not participate in politics and be homemakers. Unfortunately, women continue to fall victim to these unrealistic expectations and live a life suppressing their authentic selves. It’s detrimental to our mental, physical and emotional health to allow ourselves to feel inadequate because of superficiality. It’s time we push back.
Nicki Minaj once said:
“When you're a girl, you have to be everything, You have to be dope at what you do, but you have to be super sweet, and you have to be sexy, and you have to be this and you have to be that and you have to be nice, and you have to - it's like, I can't be all of those things at once. I'm a human being.”
She’s telling the truth. Being a woman isn’t easy, heck being human isn’t easy. But, when you’re a woman the weight of existing feels that much heavier. Everywhere we turn we run into expectations. We are expected to go to college and pursue a career, but since we are women, they want us to get married and raise a family. We are expected to be friendly and sociable but only at the right place, wearing the right clothing, or else we are victim-blamed. We are expected to present ourselves a certain way: hairless, feminine and submissive. To hell with these expectations.
We deserve individuality. We deserve respect no matter our choices. We deserve better.
Across different social media platforms, we see influencers and celebrities receiving both praise and hate from people behind screens 24/7. The women mostly get the worse of the commentary regarding the way they dress, their sex lives, and outgoing lifestyles. But, even the most exemplary women (a.k.a those who follow society’s expectations) get ridiculed and receive condescending comments like Judge Ketanji Brown. During her confirmation hearing to become the first Black woman U.S. Supreme Court justice, she was met with unsettling questions from politicians that attempted to diminish her competence, intelligence and dignity. However, she handled the attacks against her character well and left a lasting impression on viewers around the world. Women can’t win whether we play by the rules of society or not.
I am not a fan of comparisons because they are divisive and continue to perpetuate the idea of what a woman should be rather than accepting that women have the right to be whoever they want to be. In my opinion, every woman is exceptional in their own way. That’s why I encourage all women to stay true to themselves and figure out what makes them happy. You’re a human first, take care of yourself and live life as you please. Our time here is limited and should not be defined by what others expect of us.