Tuesday, January 19, 2021

What does it mean to be a woman?

Some people think being a woman means being feminine, girly or, in some cultures, less of a person than men. Attitudes such as these are keeping women from reaching their full potentials and striving to accomplish more for their selves.

In many cultures, women are discouraged from doing things such as going to a university or even graduating high school. They are expected to spend their time focusing on finding a husband to support them rather than learning how to support themselves.

Certain societies have set rules and guidelines that women are expected to follow in order to satisfy others, and it’s creating a difficult path for future generations to come who won’t know how to be their own person. Women need to realize who they are and what they want to stand for at a young age and stand behind those thoughts their whole lives.

Every woman has her own voice and her own views on the world. Every woman looks, talks, acts and lives differently, but society wants to group us all together into one category. If a woman was to try to stray from these norms, she might be criticized and doomed to be an outcast. It can be hard to speak your mind and go against the norm when everyone expects you to be a certain way.

Butterfly Blaise Title IX coordinator and adjunct lecturer in the gender and women’s studies department at Plattsburgh State said, “Just because someone doesn’t fit in the box of what society says a woman should be doesn’t mean that they aren’t the definition of a woman.”

To be a woman means a million different things to a million different women, and to expect the same thing from a million women is simply illogical and impossible. It is a woman’s right to choose how she wants to dress, act and be.

“Being a woman should be whatever the heck a woman wants it to be,” Blaise said.

“In an ideal world, we would life one another up,” Blaise said. “If society tried harder to bring women up rather than hold them down, we could be living in a better and more functional world.”

Bringing men, women and people together as a whole is what humanity should be working toward. No more labeling and assuming things about someone because of their gender or appearance. It’s 2015 for crying out loud — no one should be kept down because of how they were born and choose to live.

“I read something that said ‘empower instead of compete,’” PSUC sophomore Paige Myers said.

“Empower women around you to be better women instead of competing to be the better woman,” Myers said. “I think about that every day.”
Having certain qualities doesn’t mean you take on the common traits connected to those qualities.

A girl who wants to wear a baseball cap, sweatpants and athletic sneakers isn’t a tomboy, just like a girl wearing heels and a flowing dress every day isn’t an airhead.

Most of the time you can catch me wearing sneakers, ripped jeans and classic rock band T-shirts, but that doesn’t mean I’m a rebel head-banger from the 1970s.

Connecting clothing choices with someone’s personality is just ridiculous. “A hat isn’t masculine or feminine,” Blaise said. “A shirt has no reproductive organs attached to it.”

“Everyone’s different, and everyone has their own personalities. PSUC sophomore Elizabeth Hopf said. “We’re all just a mismatch of puzzle pieces.”

Society needs to stop splitting people into groups and start seeing everyone as just people. There is no right way to be a human — the only thing you can do is be you, and that’s enough.

Email Laura Schmidt at laura.schmidt@cardinalpointsonline.com

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