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.