Throughout time society has always set up expectations of who people should be, for both men and women alike. In my case, I reflect heavily on the expectations imposed by society on women. From cooking, cleaning and mending to beauty, poise, and manners, the list of societal expectations are infinite.
As a woman living in the 21st century, society continues to have a lot of expectations of who and what I should be. I should have a career. I should be successful. I should embrace being single. I should be strong and independent. The list goes on and on.
I judge these expectations not on a moral standard of right and wrong, for they are neither. I also not do not measure these expectations on a scale of good or bad because the answer varies for everyone. However, I do judge these expectations on the sense of self-worth they can contribute or detract from women in society.
For example, a woman who earns a degree in higher education is determined of great worth in our modern society. We applaud her because she is on her way to breaking through the glass ceiling.
However, we do not give such ovations to those who choose to solely dedicate themselves to homemaking. If anything, I have heard many people critique such woman as old fashion and simple-minded.
Hence, society establishes that the woman with a degree in higher education is a contributor and the homemaker is a detractor.
Sadly, many who think this way are women as well. First of all, as women, we should not critique other women. Rather we should stand together in sisterhood.
But besides this point, the woman with a degree in higher education and the full-time homemaker are both of value. Both encounter difficulties that require patience, expertise, and dedication. Both are contributing to a better future. Both are indispensable.
Just as an additional consideration, these two examples do not fully encompass the variety of women found in society. There are women who have a degree in higher education, who went on to be full-time homemakers, and there are full-time homemakers, who went on to obtain a degree in higher education. And to them and all other women too, I say you are of high worth.
This example of obtaining a career is not the only situation in which such biases of assigning worth are present. But I propose that such definitions of worth are limiting.
Worth is not only defined in the number of degrees you hold, the career path you follow, and your dating status. Worth can also be defined by maintaining a steady marriage, raising children, and homemaking. And for that matter worth can also be defined in overcoming a hard divorce, being a single parent, and working multiple jobs.
The point is that we are women and as such we already are of worth. No set of expectations can ever make us of more or less worth. We are women. We are of worth.
P.S. For my fellow men, I too say that societies expectations of masculinity and success do not contribute to your worth. You are men. You are of worth.