Conduct a quick google search consisting of the phrases: “women in the news,” “women’s rights,” and “women in the media,” and you’ll comprise a surprisingly contradicting array of results. Here are the top 3 that stood out to me:
1. The first search result I noted was that when “women’s rights” was to be cast about, there were hardly any recent articles. In fact, the sparsity of commodities that existed were once every 2-4 months at the earliest, the newest being disproportionately focused on the over-conferred issues of inequality in pay in regards to women and men’s salaries, followed by semi-inspirational blogs about women’s education in Sudan, or the ever-popular, numerous articles on the ‘newfound’ men’s contributions to the women’s rights movement… Which excuse me for coming off slightly cynical, but its 2015… Men sure as hell better be involved in the women’s rights movement! And more so, rather than men’s contribution being viewed as ‘miraculous,’ that men would be so ‘gracious and bold’ as to decide to advocate for equality as “the unlikely faces behind the women’s rights movements,” as cited within more sources than I’d like to admit, we, as American citizens, should be appalled when men are NOT the faces behind the women’s rights movement! When after all, they’re half the population, thus advocating half the need for change.
2. The next prevalent search result produced in correlation with these phrases was that of the infamous “superwoman” ideal.
You know… the woman who has it “all”…The body, the car, the husband, the career, the kids (though of course note that this “all” is in accordance with American pop-culture statistics…)
My favorite post in regards to this wonder woman ideal was that of an article written by Debora L. Spar that was featured in Glamour magazine, titled: “Why the Woman Who ‘Has it All’ Doesn’t Exist” in reference to a photo that included a seemingly “perfect,” (as defined by popular culture within the media) woman running a marathon with her curled hair, un-smudged lipstick and high heels.
Oh, and to top it off… she was wearing a wonder woman costume!
The surprising part was that the outrage within the article, of course, came from the women running the marathon behind her in their business suites, yoga pants, and after work ‘mom gear.’
..No, that’s not the surprising part!
The surprising part was that the women featured, who were complaining of the stigma this wonder woman ideal ‘negatively’ inflicts on women, were clearly supermodels themselves… With unrelished hair, body, and makeup… Not to mention, their sneakers matched their yoga pants…
So… What’s the problem here? Well, if you haven’t figured it out already, you’ll likely know by the time you read the third most common search result.
3. The third and final search result that seemed to be overemphasized on the internet was that of women who do not fall under this ‘superwoman’ emphasis as noted within the first article, slamming the women who do….
…Why is this problematic?
Well, instead of promoting feminism and achieving equity in regards to women and men’s rights, we have in turn created a society in which women are pitted against each other… Women whom most of which might I add, all have the same goal in mind… Feminism.
Thus, it seems that we are in a slump in regards to completing the women’s rights movement.
America can’t make up their mind!
On the one hand, we seem to want to empower women, telling them they can be whatever size, ethnicity, religion, and occupation they want… Be yourself and embrace it, they say! On the other hand, we want to tell women that in order to accomplish the American dream ideal of the seemingly perfect husband, career and home life, you must eat organic, exercise daily, weigh no more than 120lbs… (At whatever height you are!), over commit yourself to charity events, after school activities and happy hours with friends… All while obtaining the optimal promotion at the best established firm within your career industry.
…And if that wasn’t hard enough to keep up with, amidst all of that, you sure as hell better be happy, no time for slumming….! It is simply unacceptable to hone in on normal human emotions such as depression, anxiety and fear.
Pip up wonder woman… This is your life and you’re in control!
Well, I’m here to tell you that this so called “American dream” is not only a scam, as it is inevitably unobtainable, but it is also often oversold…
Which brings me to….
The Three Things They Never Told You about Being a Woman
As Americans, and more so feminists, who are trying to supposedly advocate equality and empowerment of all people, as stated previously, we in turn we seem to be negating our goals in creating this module of pitting one type of woman against the other….
For instance, women who fall under the first category of not fitting into this seemingly ‘perfect’ mold of an American ideal tend to enact a personal hatred for women who fall under the second category, in thinking that these women are overachievers and misrepresent the majority of ‘real’ women within America… And unsurprisingly, women who fall under the second category seem to blame the women in the first for not taking initiative, to live this so called “desirable American dream” and pursue what they seem to contend to be the “best lifestyle” available.
But what about the women who fall somewhere in between? Well, being one of those women myself, who is often underrepresented, or really not represented at all within the media, (though I will contend that there are many homemade blogs of women just like me being utilized in recent years), take some consideration into the following three areas of advice I am about to give you:
1. You can have both.
There, I said it. And no, I didn’t stutter- There IS a happy medium.
It is not wrong to be healthy; (eat organic, exercise regularly, lead a healthy social life, and be involved in extracurricular activities such as clubs, sports, etc.)
I mean come on, for all of you advocates who criticize those who eat healthy… Have you seen the crap they put in our food!? Excuse me for advocating against chemicals, in being willing to pay the extra buck at the grocery store in effort to save money on health bills in the long run… But did you know that they genetically modify products such as corn and wheat with BUGS!? EW! I don’t know about you, but I personally did not consent to this. And I’m sorry, but until you come to me disproving the scientific evidence that what we put into our bodies creates the majority of diseases within America, I will continue to advocate that EVERYONE owes their body, as well as the rest of the world, health.
With that being said, who cares how you look.
Take care of yourself. Be healthy. Not because you need to look like Tyra Banks (whom, might I add, is a size 16 for all of those wondering…) But, because it’s good for you. And more so, because America doesn’t need the medical bills. The billions of dollars annually spent on treating curable and preventable disease could be choicingly directed towards ending poverty and world hunger (something also achievable but need be saved for a later article).
And finally, be healthy because it’s selfish for your loved ones to have to take care of you or deal with your unnecessary premature death and medical bills when you’re gone.
2. Your social status does NOT make YOU, YOU MAKE YOUR SOCIAL STATUS.
Happiness is not fixed. Happiness is interchangeable… It is fluid.
Different things will make different people happy. The status of your career, social life, etc., does not prove or disprove happiness.
Happiness comes in many shapes and forms. And the great thing about being human is that YOU get to choose how you enact this.
The same goes for success.
Don’t take a job or choose a career field because it is what the media has sold as “success,” but rather choose the career and lifestyle that brings you bliss, whether that be serving, law, teaching, medicine, or heck, maybe even conducting a homegrown business of making jams and preservatives.
…It doesn’t matter! Choose bliss!
What does matter, however, is the extent to which you rate your own life. And when you embellish your life with joy, others will start to follow suit, eventually enabling the prejudice attached with ‘social status’ to die out, further permissing us all to live in the age old philosophers ideals of pursuing a happy and meaningful life.
3. And probably the MOST important…. WHY does it matter how you look!?
Let me give you a little bit of wisdom in regards to people:
If someone won’t hire you, date you, or befriend you based off of looks, you can trust that you don’t want to be involved with that person in the first place!
If you are so worried about a company not hiring you because you don’t utilize the traditional American ideal of looks (whatever that means), then you probably shouldn’t be supporting their business establishment in the first place!
For instance, if you have to remove your facial piercings, cover your tattoos, or change your hair dye because a company or organization is worried that your brain, dedication and hard work might not match your hot pink hair… (Take a moment and let that sink in on just how utterly ridiculous that is)… Then find a new job!!!
There is a reason the saying “the apple truly usually doesn’t fall too far from the tree” exists and if that organization is basing their hiring decisions on your outer appearance then that organization is likely inept to be dealing with whatever issues they are so-called “qualified” to deal with in the first place.
Also, do I, and the rest of America a favor and stop supporting their business. Boycott them! Write a blog! Shame them on social media! Heck, its 2015!! Equal marriage was just legalized. It’s about time that the stigmas finish dying out and you dress how you want in your own workplace, not how “the big man” tells you to.
Finally, (okay so I made a 4th…), let’s get real about issues such as sex.
(That’s a pun, for all of you uptight critics, who might advocate that I am being inappropriate… Still don’t believe me? Research de-stigmatization and humor, they are HIGHLY correlated).
Sex is not solely for the cisgendered.
Sex is not only for supermodels…
Sex is not only for the successful and good at heart…
Sex is a natural human instinct!
Sex is for everyone.
Sex is good for you. It produces endorphins, advocates well-being and reduces stress.
Now, with that being said, how and when you choose to pursue your sexual capacity is your personal choice. Your beliefs, nonbeliefs, practices, traditions, etc. are up to you…. But let’s stop shaming other for having different believes than our own.
Let’s start talking to our children about sex, and educating them on safe practices, to the extent of allowing them to be comfortable within their own skin…
Look up any credible statistics and you’ll find that when we advocate education and stop shaming people for their actions, correlations involving drugs, suicide, teenage pregnancy, etc. all decrease.
But more importantly, as a young woman involved in the dating game, let me tell you how ashamed I am of culture in that we are teaching young men to numb their feelings…, This whole “you’re a boy, suck it up” socially derived stigma needs to change!
You want to know why?
Because your daughters are now the ones dating these seemingly sociopathic people you have created…. all because society taught you to raise your children in such a way!
Your daughters are the ones getting their hearts broken, not to mention divorce rates are rapidly increasing and have been for years, much attributed to the notion that society has taught people not to deal with their problems.
It has taught us that vulnerability (a very necessary and healthy emotion) is simply unacceptable and that rather than discussing our feelings (which by the way, again are normal human reactions to the world around us), it is better to just ignore them and shut people out of our lives all together.
So America, do me a favor.
Heck, do us all a favor…
Let’s start raising our kids with empathy and compassion.
Let’s start by teaching kindness to one another through our actions.
Let’s emphasize acceptance and diversity.
Let’s emphasize the American ideal of FREEDOM…. Freedom to be you… Whatever that means.
Let’s set a goal.
The next time we conduct a search result on women’s issues in the media, let’s aim for articles to be portrayed that define a woman’s success and happiness in her own words… Because after all, we are the voice of the people.
Let’s reach a point where the only difference between women and men in the media has to do with your chosen gender preferred reading that advocates the health or wellbeing for your gender identity.
Let’s support health because it’s healthy! Let’s support diversity because people should be able to be whoever the hell they want to be, not in need of your judgmental biases! And let’s support love.
Let’s support supporting each other in advocating to stop this male bashing that is and has historically caused detrimental effects for real feminists, and show compassion…
Let’s teach compassion… teach empathy… and love one another… Because after all, that is the only way we will ever promote lasting change in any field.
And as someone who advocated back on February 6th that it would be soon that equal marriages would procure across America, and this historical event took place June 26th, I bet… no, I KNOW this can happen…
Let’s get on board, America!
Because honestly, you’re shaming us all with your silliness, making women who actually fight for equality pitted to stereotypes because you are unwilling to change your prejudices by merely educating yourselves on the matters at hand.
One last thing before I go…..
Get this book:
The Social Justice Advocate’s Handbook: A Guide to Gender by Sam Killermann.
(Or… Visit this site www.guidetogender.com)
It is entertaining, informative and the best decision you can make this year.
(And that’s a commitment I don’t often make!)
Appendix: Works Cited
N.A. Cosmopolitan. Cosmopolitan Magazine, 2015. Web. 10th June 2015.
N.A. Seventeen. Seventeen Magazine, 2015. Web. 10th June 2015.
Spar, Deborah L. Glamour. Glamour Inspired, N.D. Web. 10th June 2015.