How To Be A Strong, Independent Man

How To Be A Strong, Independent Man

Women, you oppress yourself through your own language.
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How strange does that sound? A strong, independent man.

How normal does this sound? A strong, independent woman.

You will never meet a man, hear of his career and successes, learn he is single and think, “Damn! What a strong man who is providing for himself. And he’s doing it all alone, he’s so independent. What an inspiration! You do you, boo!”

But if this situation is reversed to a woman, those thoughts are very easy to come into our minds.

The answer for this “phenomenon” is simple, in the rigid categories that make up our society, women are seen as lesser than men. Women aren’t seen as independent as often as men are. Men are expected to be independent and strong. This is not groundbreaking news, everybody knows this fact of life. This limits men as much as it limits women.

Masculinity is an idea created by our society, for men to be seen as the providers, the strong ones, the brave ones, the rough and tough ones. For femininity, women must be nurturing and take care of the home and they must, most importantly, find a man to marry who will provide her with a great abundance of disgusting, snotty children who she must slave over and it’s her husband’s duty to bring home all of the bacon.

I like to think we live in a progressive country where most of this is changing or being worked on.

Because these definitions of “masculine” and “feminine” and the roles of men versus women in life are so intense and socialized throughout our lives, many times the “oppression” of women or the undervaluing of women isn’t even noticed.

We unconsciously support these ideas of masculinity and femininity. No woman wants to be forced to live a cookie cutter life, but our own language limits us and degrades ourselves.

“Just” and “sorry” are words which women use too often and they limit us.

I personally discovered this trait in myself first before realizing it was a widespread issue.

Sometimes people get upset, with themselves or others, or in my case, with a significant other. There were serious issues and when attempting to confront them and be open with my own personal feelings, the word “just” would be the first thing to come out of my mouth. It was almost like I needed and wanted to downplay my own legitimate emotions to be sensitive to my significant other.

After realizing this, I found through various researchers and articles that this isn’t an issue with myself. It’s something women have been taught.

By saying, “It’s just that, you do this and it makes me feel this way,” my emotions aren’t being received in full as they should be. Following the “just,” “sorry” is often in the same sentence.

I know I’m not the only woman to do this either. Too many women are downplaying their emotions and their human rights to feel by using these two little words far too often. It begins with small things like somebody bumping into you and you apologizing instead, then it grows to apologizing for feeling a completely natural way.

Take a hold of your emotions, your thoughts, your feelings, your wants and continue with them boldy. In a way any man can.

These two words socialize those around us by showing them that women must feel completely irrationally if they must apologize for it often. It shows women must be in the way or a burden if they have to apologize for something that is not their fault.

Things like our language are things we don’t often question. Seeing a woman as independent is great, but it makes you think twice why we can’t describe men as so. Apologizing is polite, but it makes you question why women must be so much more polite.

It’s the smallest, easiest change. Apologize less. Be yourself, completely unapologetically. You’ll be surprised how empowered you feel.

Cover Image Credit: Tracy Moore

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I'm The Girl Who'd Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

You raise your protest picket signs and I’ll raise my white picket fence.
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Social Media feeds are constantly filled with quotes on women's rights, protests with mobs of women, and an array of cleverly worded picket signs.

Good for them, standing up for their beliefs and opinions. Will I be joining my tight-knit family of the same gender?

Nope, no thank you.

Don't get me wrong, I am not going to be oblivious to my history and the advancements that women have fought to achieve. I am aware that the strides made by many women before me have provided us with voting rights, a voice, equality, and equal pay in the workforce.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Who Would Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

For that, I am deeply thankful. But at this day in age, I know more female managers in the workforce than male. I know more women in business than men. I know more female students in STEM programs than male students. So what’s with all the hype? We are girl bosses, we can run the world, we don’t need to fight the system anymore.

Please stop.

Because it is insulting to the rest of us girls who are okay with being homemakers, wives, or stay-at-home moms. It's dividing our sisterhood, and it needs to stop.

All these protests and strong statements make us feel like now we HAVE to obtain a power position in our career. It's our rightful duty to our sisters. And if we do not, we are a disappointment to the gender and it makes us look weak.

Weak to the point where I feel ashamed to say to a friend “I want to be a stay at home mom someday.” Then have them look at me like I must have been brain-washed by a man because that can be the only explanation. I'm tired of feeling belittled for being a traditionalist.

Why?

Because why should I feel bad for wanting to create a comfortable home for my future family, cooking for my husband, being a soccer mom, keeping my house tidy? Because honestly, I cannot wait.

I will have no problem taking my future husband’s last name, and following his lead.

The Bible appoints men to be the head of a family, and for wives to submit to their husbands. (This can be interpreted in so many ways, so don't get your panties in a bunch at the word “submit”). God specifically made women to be gentle and caring, and we should not be afraid to embrace that. God created men to be leaders with the strength to carry the weight of a family.

However, in no way does this mean that the roles cannot be flipped. If you want to take on the responsibility, by all means, you go girl. But for me personally? I'm sensitive, I cry during horror movies, I'm afraid of basements and dark rooms. I, in no way, am strong enough to take on the tasks that men have been appointed to. And I'm okay with that.

So please, let me look forward to baking cookies for bake sales and driving a mom car.

And I'll support you in your endeavors and climb to the top of the corporate ladder. It doesn't matter what side you are on as long as we support each other, because we all need some girl power.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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I Spoke With A Group Of DACA Recipients And Their Stories Moved Me To Tears

An experience that forever changed my perspective on "illegal" immigrants.

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I thought I was just filming about a club meeting for a project, but when I entered the art-filled room located in a corner of the student common area, I knew this experience would be much more than a grade for a class.

I was welcomed in by a handful of people wearing various Arizona State hoodies and T-shirts that were all around my age. They were college students, like myself, but something felt different when talking to them. They were comforting, shy at first, and more driven than the peers that I usually meet.

As I began to look around the room, I noticed a good amount of art, murals, religious pieces, and a poster that read, "WE STAND WITH DREAMERS." The club was meant for students at ASU that are either undocumented or DACA recipients.

Photo by Amanda Marvin

As a U.S. citizen college student, you typically tend to think about your GPA, money, and dating. As a DACA recipient college student, there are many more issues crowding your brain. When I sat down at a club meeting for students my age dealing with entirely different problems as me, my eyes were opened to bigger issues.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program allows for individuals that crossed the border as children to be protected from deportation and to go to school or work. Commonly known as DREAMers, these individuals are some of the most hard-working, goal-oriented and focused people I have met, and that's solely because they have to be.

In order to apply to be a DACA recipient, it is required that the applicant is attending school with a high school diploma, or a military veteran, as well as have a clean criminal record. While being a DACA recipient does not mean that you can become a permanent citizen of the United States, it allows for opportunities that may not be offered in their home country.

It's no secret that the United States has dealt with immigration in a number of ways. From forming new policies to building a wall on our nation's border, we see efforts to keep immigrants from entering the U.S. every day. But what about the people who are affected?

As the club members and I began a painting activity regarding where we came from and how we got to where we are today, I began to feel the urge to cry.

Photo by Amanda Marvin

One girl described the small Mexican town that she grew up in and the family that still resides there. She went on to talk about how important education is to her family and so much so that it was the cause of her family's move to the United States when she was still a child. Her voice wavered when she talked about the changing immigration policies that prevent her from seeing her family in Mexico.

Another member of the club, a boy with goals of becoming a journalist, talked of his depression and obstacles regarding growing up as an undocumented student. Once he was told by his father that he was illegal, he began to set himself apart from his peers and became someone he did not think he would ever be.

All of my worries seemed small in comparison to theirs, and I felt a pang of regret for realizing I take my own citizenship for granted every single day.

Terminating the policy would lead to the displacement of about 800,000 people. We tend to forget about the human aspect of all of this change, but it's the most important part.

For more information about this club, visit https://www.facebook.com/USEEASU/

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