What Does It Mean To Be A Woman?

What Does It Mean To Be A Woman?

Despite the ridiculous expectations society has pushed on women, they remain strong and united.

What does it mean to be a woman? From our past until now, women have been fighting endlessly to be seen as equal to men. Thanks to our ancestors, a woman's place in the world is very different than where it used to be. Despite all the advancements in women's rights, there is so much more that society must recognize has always been a set of guidelines that women are expected to follow from the moment the doctor declares: “it’s a girl”.

In the first couple of years her life, it will appear that being a woman is easy. She’s young. She is innocent. She believes that the world is this beautiful amazing thing. She can do whatever she sets her mind to because there are endless possibilities.

As soon as she reaches grade school, a young girl becomes conscious of her body. By now she has realized that if she’s too big, they will torture her by calling her a whale, but if she’s too small, they’ll call her anorexic. Each little feature will be picked out and dissected like a frog in a biology class. Her stomach should be flat. Eyebrows are always perfectly even. She will always smell of vanilla or some sort of flower. Her skin can never shine. Anything unique on her body that doesn’t fit into the standard of beauty society has set will classify her as unappealing until she gets botox or plastic surgery to fix it. Girls sit in their rooms dousing their face in blue eyeshadow and lipstick at the age of eight because they believe it makes them look more beautiful. Even when she gets older, this mindset will not change.

From the moment a woman matures, her body becomes sexualized. Her breasts get larger so that no one can stop staring at her chest while she stands in front of the class and attempt to give an admirable presentation that no one will remember because they were too invested in what was underneath her shirt. A woman learns to be conscious of what she is wearing. If she wears something covering up too much, she will be referred to as a prude or a goody-goody. On the opposite side, wearing something too short means that she is kinky and likes to mess around. Someone touches her without her permission when she wears her miniskirt and although she protests, the offender claims she was asking for it because of her provocative attire.

Because of this, she learns that the rules to sex are not much different than attire. Her chastity is irrelevant. Although a woman waits till she is comfortable with someone, they hate that she is such a goody-goody for waiting so long and that she is inexperienced. If she wants to experiment with her body most men don’t mind. They like the idea of enjoying her for half an hour and dumping her aside. Yet, they never cease the rumors that spread about her or the whispers between him and his friends as she passes by. Despite the idea that a man banging a bunch of chicks is considered a player, society declares that she is a whore because a woman sleeping around is improper.

Despite how hard she tries, her intelligence is unimportant. Society wants her to be smart, but she can never be smarter than a man; god forbid they feel inferior. On the other hand, if she is ignorant, people will use and abuse her until there is nothing good for her anymore. After all, a girl's worth is partially defined by her intelligence as well as appearance. Whether dumb or smart, there are expectations for her future that come from both. The empty-headed version of her will be working at a strip club. The school did not bother to help her succeed when a moronic man required attending to in the same fashion. He was more likely to flourish in society anyway. The expectation for the brilliant woman is more extravagant. They will expect her to become a world-class neurosurgeon or the first female president of the United States. In the fields, the idea of starting a family will be frowned upon.

Once a woman finally finds a significant other, she starts to think of having a family. Although it seems like a easy decision to make, there are many factors to consider. The first (and most important) is the fact that she will probably have to sacrifice her career. Once she gets pregnant, she will have nine months of agony filled with morning sickness, swollen feet and a human being eating half of her intake in food all the time. Then, she will take a couple months off of work on maternity leave, but her job is not always guaranteed. Often times a man will replace her while she’s gone since he was more reliable. Even if she does receive her job back, they may have taken away certain responsibilities and given them to someone else that way the next time she takes an ‘unnecessary’ leave from work they will still be able to take care of the important jobs. On a different side, when her and her significant other decides not to have children, society looks at them as a weird couple. Through the years of a person's life, it has been engraved in them that they must be married with kids in order to continue the family name or populate the earth for some odd and unknown reason.

All of this, and more, occurs during a woman's lifetime. All of this is what a woman has to suffer with knowing everyday. So: “What does it mean to be a woman?” It means to be strong. It means when life kicks you down and tells you you can’t do something because of your gender, you get back up and prove them wrong. It means you fight for the things you believe in, big or small. It means to show beauty, love and kindness when all you can see is evil and hatred. Being a woman is something take pride in. We have a lot to offer the world, therefore we hope it is ready to see what’s in store.
Cover Image Credit: Youtube

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10 Things Only Chem Majors Will Understand

Chemistry is Flourine Uranium Nitrogen!

Chemistry is a subject that is thoroughly challenging, but altogether satisfying and fun! Fun labs come with tiresome lab reports and interesting lectures come with frustrating tests. Whether you're in PChem or Orgo or Gen Chem 1, if you don't mind things that have a pH of 14, you've come to the right place.

1. When anyone asks you to smell something, you automatically start wafting.

Even when you're just cooking alone or trying on perfumes.

2. Who needs a social life when you could be studying chemistry instead?

But seriously, has anyone accomplished this?

3. Hate pickup lines, but these always work...

Chemistry Cat will always reign supreme.

4. We all secretly hope to find someone in chem class, so you can have ~chemistry~ together.

I used to make good chemistry jokes, but all the good ones Argon.

5. The frustration when you have to change your whole outfit so it goes with your closed-toed shoes.

Even worse when you can't get in your lab because you forgot to wear close-toed shoes that day.

6. That feeling when you take your safety goggles off.

But isn't this everyone's favorite part of lab?

7. True hunger always seems to be experienced during lab.

It never seems to hit any other time of day...

8. The word "organic" doesn't mean what it does to other people.

Healthy? What's that? I eat whatever I can if I'm ever free.

9. You will never understand the magic behind titrating.

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The Parkland Shooting Changed Me Forever, I Hope The Same Can Be Said About Our Country

Those who died on Valentine's Day should have had their flowers in a vase, not on their headstone.

Anger. Frustration. Heartbreak. Sorrow. Darkness. Confusion. Faith.

Those are the emotions that I have associated with the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting that took place on Wednesday, February 14.

I've felt complete anger for the situation itself and how the government has handled it. For me, it almost seems unfathomable that another shooting that resulted so catastrophically could occur after the attack that took place at Sandy Hook. I really thought something would change when innocent 5-year-olds died, but nothing did. Nothing has. And I fear nothing will.

The frustration that boils inside of me keeps me up at night as I contemplate the selfishness of those who believe their right to bear arms outweighs student rights to attend school in the absence of fear regarding death. It's not even so much just schools – everywhere I go I immediately scan the perimeters for an escape route or method of protection. Will I run to the door 10 feet from my left? Will I flip the table I am currently typing on to use as a shield? Or do I run to the bathroom that's 15 feet to my right and lock myself in, hiding in a stall. Every time I go to a movie theater I always check my exits and methods of running for my life.

The fact that I've considered wiping someone's blood who was shot next to me and putting it on myself to play dead more than 100 times hurts me to my core. I can't walk into a place without immediately considering my best chances of survival if someone was to come in with a gun.

I wake up in the middle of the night from complete heartbreak knowing that students younger than me have lost their lives because of a senseless act and that my school could be next. My heart shatters for the families of victims who lost their lives by gun violence. They were never able to say goodbye one last tight. They couldn't hug them tight, telling that person how fiercely they loved them. They couldn't comfort them in their last moments as they laid on the cold tile of their school classroom and took their last breaths. I cry at the thought of it happening to my brother in his classroom, or it happening to my mom while she's at the grocery store, or it happening to my dad as he sits at his work cubicle tending to his job. I feel my heart completely ache because there's never a chance of knowing when or if it could happen to you.

The sorrow that immerses me knowing that there's nothing I can do to make the situation better chills my bones. No amount of money raised will bring the life of someone lost back. No amount of prayers will ever replace the feeling of agony for a family who lost their son or daughter at the hands of a shooter. No amount of apologies will ever fill the void a family will feel knowing they can't tell the person they miss how much they love them one last time.

These students should have gone to school on Valentine's Day feeling loved by everyone around them; feeling excitement for the date they may go on that night with the guy or girl they have been crushing on; feeling thankful for the flowers and chocolates their parents bought them to show them that even if they don't have a significant other, they are still adored. But instead, they felt fear by people around them as bullets flew; they felt terror as to whether they would ever make it out of their school halls one more time; they felt relief and agony simultaneously as they made it out of the building while some of their classmates didn't. Those chocolates will remain uneaten. Those flowers will now be placed at their grave. And those cards will never be read.

Darkness has cast its shadow on my life in a way I could never have expected. I realized the situation of gun control was bad, but this shooting has shook me to my core. For several days, I couldn't see the light in this world – I couldn't understand how people were still going on with their weeks as if nothing happened. Although the dark has faded, it will continue to exist.

I have felt complete confusion as to how people can see the justification in owning assault rifles even though attack after attack has taken place. I can't understand how the government sees their people dying and won't do anything about it because an amendment made in 1791 allows Americans to carry guns. I don't understand how they turn their cheek away from the parents begging for change after they bury their child towards the NRA for yet another check to clear in their account. I can't understand and I never will understand.

But one thing that I can take away from all this is that I've seen the faith humanity can carry and give one another. Not even in the sense of religion, but faith in one another. I've seen hundreds of people within a community come together holding candles and singing songs to show both support and sorrow. I've seen young voices step up to the podium calling out the government and its greed while begging for change. And personally, I've seen how a terrible event can bring people together in the sense of donation for a family in need.

This is one of those events that I will carry with me in my heart for the rest of my life. It has become a pivotal moment not only for me, but I believe for this country. It's no longer adults carrying the conversations – it's students who were in that school now demanding change. It's young adults who understand what that feeling is like and what needs to be done to secure safety in this country. And it's the adults who stand on the side of change and who want to protect their people at all costs.

As a final note, I'd like to leave part of the speech Emma Gonzalez, a senior who attended the Parkland high school, spoke at a gun control rally in Fort Lauderdale:

"They say tougher guns laws do not decrease gun violence. We call BS. They say a good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun. We call BS. They say guns are just tools like knives and are as dangerous as cars. We call BS. They say no laws could have prevented the hundreds of senseless tragedies that have occurred. We call BS. That us kids don't know what we're talking about, that we're too young to understand how the government works. We call BS."
Cover Image Credit: Boston Herald

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