Society is always finding a way to shame or tear down women. No matter what we do, we can't seem to win in the eyes of the world. Every day, we are faced with obstacles just because we're women. We often feel as though we have to prove ourselves and I know from personal experience that it's extremely hard to be taken seriously. I'm a passionate person and I have always been labeled as "sensitive" or "dramatic" just because I am a woman. People always assume that if a woman is angry or upset, she's on her period. These are only a few examples of how it feels to be misunderstood, so I decided to dedicate this article to young women. Here are a few things that I wish I knew sooner.
1. You don't have to conform to society's expectations.
Just because women are expected to be "feminine" and soft does not mean that you have to be. It's OK to break the stereotypes and it's OK to not fit into a certain category that the world tries to place you in. If you don't feel comfortable wearing make-up or dresses, don't. Never feel like you are obligated to present yourself a certain way just to appease others.
2. You don't have to always be polite, kind and quiet.
We are conditioned from a young age to be "lady-like" and over the last few years, I've noticed that this isn't always the best method. When men approach us in a disrespectful way, we generally tend to try to respectfully decline if we are not interested. When men continue to press the issue, we still continue to be polite. At that point, if someone is making you uncomfortable or unsafe, you do not have to be nice anymore. It's OK to be angry. Despite popular misconceptions, you have every right to feel what you feel, regardless of how others believe you should react.
3. Wear whatever you want.
It may seem obvious, but many women consider what others think when they are buying clothes or trying on an outfit. You might catch yourself wondering: what will the world think of me if I choose to wear this? Work on knocking that mindset right away. You should wear whatever you feel comfortable in, whether that be a mini skirt and a crop top or a t-shirt and jeans. Slut-shaming is prevalent, especially on social media, but we have to combat that. We need to express to people that our clothing choices do not dictate our self-worth or our self-respect.
4. It's OK to say no.
This is something I have always struggled with and I know others can relate to this. You should never do anything you don't feel completely comfortable with. Anyone who makes you feel as though you have to do something that you've expressed your discomfort with does not care about you or your well-being. You need to put yourself first in these situations and tell that person the truth. Don't go along with anything just to please someone else because you feel like you have to.
5. Don't ignore red flags and signs when it comes to romantic relationships.
I wish someone was there to tell me about the warning signs of abuse and toxicity, so that's why I am so involved in educating others about what abuse looks like. A lot of young people don't even realize that what they're experiencing is, in fact, abuse. If you are even questioning the stability of any relationship in your life, don't hesitate to reach out to someone you trust.
6. Voice your opinion.
Being passionate and caring about social issues is important. People will try to silence you and invalidate your views, but overcome it. Allowing someone to silence your voice is allowing them to overpower you, so instead, speak louder. Never let anyone tell you that what you have to say doesn't matter because it does. You are important, you matter and despite what anyone else says, you have significant beliefs.
7. Don't lose yourself.
Who you are as a person matters more than the way you look. Your character and your actions are what makes you, you. Women are pressured to look a certain way or act a certain way, but as long as you're being you, you're doing a great job. You should never let anyone else change who you are. Self-growth is an incredible thing but only if you are making changes for yourself and not someone else. Most importantly, don't lose yourself trying to love someone else.
8. Stand with your sisters, not against them.
Society loves to try to pit women against each other and get us to compare ourselves, but this is counterproductive. The only way to fight back is to stand together and rise above. We should be empowering one another, not tearing each other down. Society tears us down enough as it is, so we don't need to add to it.
Most importantly, remember that you are a queen. People will try to bring you down, but you can't let them. We must rise above and resist.
Lead Image Credit: Unsplash