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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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.

It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town.

Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community.

I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK.

What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives.

What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all.

Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back: same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same-sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others.

As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being.

My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the Bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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All Good Things Are Wild And Free, Right?

Free your soul and be happy.

The word 'free' can allude to many things. My mom always says that nothing is ever free. But what about your soul? Is it free? Does everyone have a free soul? I think that everyone has the potential to have a free soul but whether or not they decide to live that lifestyle is up to them.

Until recently, I never thought of myself as a free spirit, but I am. Although I didn’t begin with a free soul, I evolved into one. Life throws you trials and tribulations and it's meant for you to grow from these obstacles. And I have.

People always question me about my careless attitude. Careless meaning that I don’t care what others think. I never actually answer the question, but here’s the answer: once you figure out that you can’t make everyone happy by the decisions you make and start doing the things that make you happy is when you become free from others.

The phrase “damned if you, damned if you don’t” applies here perfectly. People will find something wrong with you and your life decisions no matter what you decide. There’s no way to make everyone happy, it's just not possible.

I don’t wake up in the mornings to please anyone but myself. To have a free soul you must do the things that make you and you alone happy.

Free souls are happy souls. Finding inner happiness takes time. It takes being at rock bottom to find your own happiness. Being happy within means that you don’t have to rely on anyone to be happy, and that’s how it should be.

When you give other people the privilege of holding the key to your happiness chances are they’ll fail you. Other people can contribute to your overall happiness but always remember who you are and put your happiness first because if you’re not happy with yourself then how do you expect to keep someone else happy?

Do you, boo. It’s so cheesy, I know, but it’s how to keep you and your soul free from others control. Live your life and live it like there’s no tomorrow. Don’t live your days full of worry, regret, and unhappiness. Do the things that are necessary for you to be happy, who cares what other people think. If you’re unhappy and they’re happy, how is this benefitting you? It’s not.

Be selfish. Be selfish with your happiness and your freedom.

You don’t owe anything to anyone. Once you figure out that your own happiness should come first that’s when you begin to be free. And just a hint, the people that you’re trying so hard to please and make happy, don’t care about your happiness. So why should you care about theirs?

If you want to be free, then do you. Do the things that make you happy, stop caring about what others think. Find that inner happiness that is guaranteed every day, because it’s your own.

Cover Image Credit: Kallee Gambrel

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