As a female in the 21st century, it is easy to get caught up and even lost amongst society's incredibly unrealistic expectations. We are expected to look a certain way, to act a certain way, to be a certain way. If we don't follow suit, we are conditioned to believe we are not good enough. We must not let our lives be negatively affected by common misconceptions that simply aren't true. And so, I present to you four misconceptions that all girls need to get over:
Being strong isn’t sexy.
Every time I go to the gym, it seems that I am the only girl with the balls to go to the weights section and lift. Is my goal to get huge? Am I aspiring for the “ripped female who may have dabbled in ‘roids” look? Ehh, not quite. I am aspiring to build a stronger physique, though. Everyone has their own perceptions of what an attractive body looks like, but more girls need to recognize that it isn’t “gross” or too “manly” to have muscle and be toned and strong.
Embrace the body you were given and what it is capable of. Don’t feel like you have to spend all your time on the elliptical trying to lose weight. Aim for progress that makes you feel good, not just for progress that fits society’s stereotypical representation of women as fragile and gentle. It’s sexy to be strong, so get out there and give the dumb-bells a shot. Don’t worry, you won’t morph into Arnold Schwarzeneggar circa 1980. And hey, no one ever regretted the squat rack. You might be surprised at how empowered you feel embracing your badass-ness.
You need a partner to be happy.
There’s a huge difference between having someone that supports you and makes you happy and needing that person to make you happy. If you find a partner who you have a special connection with that lights up your life, that’s incredible. But too many girls I know have this perception that the only way for them to be happy is to be with a partner. They often lose sight of themselves in their quest to constantly have someone ignite something in their lives that they should be igniting themselves.
Before you can truly love someone else, you need to love yourself first. Anyone can tell you that you’re worthy or what you’re capable of, but until you believe those things yourself, it doesn’t matter. Take the time to get to know the depths of who you are before you fall headfirst into something you don’t actually need. Self-actualization should be a priority before being in a relationship solely for the sake of being in one.
Loving food isn’t attractive.
No girl should be ashamed to be a huge lover of food. I would have no qualms in declaring my love of food from the highest mountain top. Even when I’m eating food, I’m thinking about other food. I love food more than I love the majority of people. A milkshake and mac 'n’ cheese will never break your heart...until it's gone. But then you just order seconds and it's all good.
Not everyone is as into food as I am. Even so, if you’re not a “salad girl” and order a salad because you don’t think it’s attractive to order a big-ass steak or a burger, you’re wrong. In my experience, guys have appreciated my love for food and it serves as foundational bonding a lot of the time. So go ahead and order whatever the heck you want. Deep down, you know you want to. And if for some reason the guy is turned off that you chose pork chops and a baked potato over three pieces of kale, hell, he wasn’t the right one for you anyway.
Another girl being pretty does not mean that you’re not.
“Is she pretty?” “Is she prettier than me?” “How cute does he think she is?” Enough already! Girls really need to understand that there are a ridiculous number of other girls out there. We can all save ourselves a lot of time and frustration by quitting the comparisons. As Dita Von Teese said so matter-of-factly, “You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.” Everyone has their own form of beauty and no perception of another girl’s beauty should detract from how you feel about yourself.
You can spend all your time buying into the comparisons between women that society is constantly putting out, or you can accept who you are, flaws and all. Perfection and images of flawless beauty are presented by society as something we may reach through products, procedures, etc. That road is a dangerous, unsatisfying one. We have to realize that eventually, the effects of time are inevitable. Fifty years down the road, we’ll all be worn-down bodies with life’s memories visible through smile lines and eye crinkles. Beauty will always fade (go home Botox-ed 70-year-old), but good character and a strong personality will always endure.