People don't understand how hard it actually is to be a female growing up in today's society. We are constantly worrying about the way we look if we are good enough, and so much more.
I would say that I am fairly confident in myself, strong in what I believe in, but at the same time, I am a young woman living in a society that doesn't always treat women the way they should be treated.
In fact, society has put this idea of the perfect woman in our heads. She's usually thin (like supermodel thin), tall, hourglass figure, long (often times blonde) hair, and fit. On top of that (let's be honest) unrealistic expectation, we have to dress a certain way and if we don't, it becomes a problem. If we wear clothes that are too "revealing," we are just trying to show off and get attention. If we dress too conservatively, something is wrong with us. Society has made so many guidelines that we have to follow to be considered even remotely attractive.
What about those of us that don't fit into that mold? What happens to them? What does this say about the society we live in?
As young women, we are faced with a many of a number of conflicting messages.
Some saying that we need to be academically inclined, while at the same time settle for nothing less than perfection, both in our careers and our appearances.
As a society, we value about more how someone looks than how smart they are or what they can bring to the table. So, if you're not all of those things then you're not pretty or worth anything. It's hard on an adult who fully understands that sometimes its impossible to reach those standards (although many try and some succeed) but what about a young girl who just wants to fit in? How does she live up to those expectations that are set for her before she is even old enough to understand them?
Then there is the problem of safety. From a young age, we are taught that when a boy is chasing you on the playground or says something mean to you it means they like you. What does this mean for when we are older?
Did you know that 1 in 4 women (24.3%) and 1 in 7 men (13.8%) aged 18 and older in the United States have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime? Is that what the innocence of our childhood comes to?
In terms of this type of violence against women? Mostly, we are silent. Accepting. It seems that at some point, we just decided that this is the way things are. If being a woman in today's society has taught me anything, it's important that you have someone know where you are (or be with someone) and not alone. Or at the very least, you are aware of our surroundings at all times.
For example, walking to my car around 11:30 after work the other night, I called one of my friends just so I would feel less alone and hey at least someone would know if something had happened (yeah, they were on the phone and far away and in all reality probably couldn't have done much if something had happened) but I honestly felt a bit safer knowing I wasn't technically "alone". This was something I did (that I really should not have to do) automatically to ensure safety.
Unfortunately, this is the reality of the world we live in. The best part though? We are beginning to realize what is acceptable for ourselves and not basing it off of society. It will always be in the back of our minds, but we have to start doing what is right for us.