Men are supposed get a high paying job, work hard, and expect to come home to a wife who cooks and cleans the house while he goes to watch sports. This is the American dream right? This stigma still clings to many (while admittedly may not be as extreme) even though we tend to brush it off and ignore its existence. Throughout my journey as a young adult navigating through life, I have found that sexism is much more of a problem than I ever thought. I continue to learn more about this issue everyday, and it's not going away any time soon.
We come into this world without any knowledge of how gender roles shape our society, as we grow, we quickly learn to conform to social construction of these rules. We say we've moved forward and it's not an issue, but we're not there yet. Modern sexism is more prominent in our culture than ever before, it embodies itself in our society without us even realizing. It exists in every age, gender, and belief. The expectations placed upon men and women today are stronger than ever, and the expectations define much of our culture today.
You're a girl, so act like one.
This stereotype is instilled into us so much that it's hard to see past it. Women face objectification in almost every pursuit they attempt, whether it be in the workplace or in a relationship. We are told to act a certain way and are expected to conform, and if we don't, we face even more criticism. We are taught from a young age to grow up quickly and always watch our backs. We walk the streets conscious of every move we make, phone in one hand and pepper spray hidden away in our bags. We can't even go to our car without the fears of catcalling and the many threats of rape culture that haunt our daily thoughts. Rape culture has made it impossible to go our own way without worrying if the person behind us is following us or just going their own way.
We must dress a certain way and be as modest as possible so we don't look like we're "asking for it". Young women get their freedom of choice taken away by extreme dress codes that do more harm than good. We are told to look pretty and gentle just for the boys, and let the men do the heavy lifting. Because our gender has defined that we are not capable of anything else. We aren't encouraged to continue our education or career goals the same way men are because we are supposed to stay home to take care of the children. Our culture makes it seem almost taboo for the woman to be the bread winner, because women are seen as the ones responsible for raising the children and cleaning the house. But what if that's not what we want?
But boys will be boys right?
Although we may not acknowledge it as much, men face suppression just as much as women do. Men are told to be masculine, to show no fear, to suppress any emotion that may come across as soft or weak. They are told they must act tough and have a love for sports, but a love for literature and education is almost never highlighted. They never learn to take responsibility for their actions because society tells them their gender makes it okay, girls are the ones asking for it. Men will never learn if they are not taught that their actions are not okay. "Boys will be boys" will never be an appropriate excuse. They never have to grow up the way that girls are forced to.
Many think these beliefs are long gone, but I have been amazed by the amount of men (ones I have dated, ones who are my friends) who have been taught their entire lives to strive for this type of dream because they know nothing else. These days, it is difficult for men to pursue their passion in the arts because of the fear of not making enough money to impress a girl. They are told they must be chivalrous and respectful to women without knowing what this actually means. Men are taught once they marry a woman they become property, and for some skewed reason women are supposed to go along with this. Why is everyone expected to fit into this picture perfect stereotype?
Sexism is still a problem in our modern day culture, and every gender is to blame. We all face oppression in one way or another, it's time to stop ignoring this and make a change. Women are strong, men have feelings, every gender has a right at finding equality and breaking these stereotypes, modern day sexism does not need to be a problem if we don't make it one.