Women in today’s society are ridiculed for everything they wear, everything they say, and everything they do. Even the most influential and altruistic women are criticized for such minor idiosyncrasies. We are expected to have it all nowadays, and to basically be perfect.
Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of today’s best-selling fashion “bible” Vogue, is a CEO, chairwoman of the MET Gala, philanthropist, fashion powerhouse, multi-millionaire, as well as a mother and wife, but still gets criticized for coming off as “intimidating”. Beyoncé is one of the world’s most famous and popular pop superstars; she has sold 118 million albums and has moved millions of people with her amazing concerts and music, and yet still people criticize her for twerking on stage. Award-winning actress Emma Watson is also an activist whose speeches on feminism have empowered millions of men and women, yet people criticize her for not being relatable because she is privileged.
If a wealthy and successful man seemed a little aloof, I don’t think people would nickname him “The Devil Wears Prada”. But since Anna Wintour is a woman, people expect her to be outwardly expressive and always smiling for everyone, and so she is criticized when she wears a resting “you-know-what” face (which by the way, this term is only given to women who often appear serious, not men) or when she is being harsh or too strict as a boss.
Society expects a lot from us women in this day and age. While we are not necessarily expected to be the primary breadwinners or make all the first moves like men are, we are expected to have a career, to marry, raise children, as well as cook, clean, and be the homemakers. We are expected to be effective and polite communicators, to always be warm, and to act and look presentable. We are encouraged to be assertive and stand up for ourselves, but when we do, we are reminded that we must always act like a lady. If a guy walked into class with his hair in a rat’s nest, most people probably wouldn’t care. But if a woman did, that would be a different story. If a man gets too drunk, it’s funny. If a woman gets too drunk, it’s trashy. And men want to be with a woman who is innocent and experienced at the same time.
As women we have so much expectations put on us by people in general, by men especially but also by other women. It’s no wonder that twice the amount of reported people who have suffered from depression in the United States are women. Maybe it is because we feel so much pressure to be perfect ladylike angels and powerful superheroes at the same time always, and when we cannot live up to those impossibly high expectations because we are only human, we feel as though we are simply not enough.
I am not saying that men do not struggle as well, because of course they do. I think it would be so difficult to be expected to be the main provider and to “be a man” all the time and hide your emotions. I am just saying that it is very hard on women in society nowadays, because we simply cannot be perfect like men and society want us to be. Again, we are only human too. We are also so often mistreated. There is so much misogyny still occurring in the workplace, on college campuses, and in life in general. The much-needed “Me Too” Movement has shed light on the astonishing amount of women who have been sexually assaulted or harassed.
So to today’s society: for lack of better words—give us a break. We are trying our best. We try every day. But we can not always do everything right all the time. I will say it again; we are only human.
For me personally, men in the past have held me to such high standards, standards that they could not fulfill themselves. As of now, I am excelling in all of my classes while also working for a fashion magazine, keeping up with this blog, and writing for HerCampus Lynn. I just landed another internship for the summer, I haven’t gotten into any trouble, and most importantly, I do my best to treat others with respect and follow the Golden Rule. I am caring and supportive to my friends and family. But according to society and a lot of men, I’m still not doing enough, because my bedroom remains a mess, I can still only cook a few meals, I have many character flaws, and I do not yet make money of my own to pay the bills.
What if men accepted us as human beings instead of wanting us to be goddesses, and wanting us to look like the models on magazines who are photoshopped to look that way? What if we as women lifted each other up instead of always trying to compete with one another? Maybe cases of major depression in women in America would start to decline.
I think if men, women, if the whole world expected women to be human and not angels, because that is what we are, Planet Earth would be a much happier place for us. We would in general be much happier in life and with ourselves. So everyone, cut us ladies some slack (again, for lack of more eloquent words). We mess up all the time just like any human being, but that does not mean that we are not worthy or acceptable, or excellent, wonderful people. Let’s all remember to be kind to one another, treat each other how we would want to be treated, and to not judge another person until we’ve walked a mile in their shoes. And remember that as women, we can be exceptional even with all of our many flaws. We do not need to excel at everything to excel at life. We are perfect even though we are imperfect. Let’s spread love, not judgement, to each other and within ourselves. That is how we can be happier and make our world a happier place.