Gender Standards

The unfair opinions people hold against women in this day and age relegate women in how they look, dress, and act. Social ideals paint inaccurate portraits of what every woman should look like; she should have flawless makeup on, be dressed to the nines, speak only when spoken to, and never cuss out loud or eat too much.

We forget the modern time we live in. We forget that individuals are just that, individual. We forget that there is a person inside that shell of perfection, striving to break free of the mold. The blame for these judgements cannot be placed purely on men, however. I find myself, everyday, looking at other girls and judging their outer appearance. Her hair is frizzy. She overloaded on makeup. Wait, what is she wearing? Nobody should be ruled by this assumption of mandatory faultlessness.

The pressure to conform is overwhelming; it can be felt everyday. One’s sexuality can be questioned by the clothes that cover their body and makeup (or lack thereof) that covers one’s face. The amount of effort that girls and women put into their appearances is often underwhelmed by the negative responses that fill their ears. These slang terms slam into women like meteors into Earth. “Nobody is perfect,” but according to society, they should be.

From classy to trashy, preppy to lazy, labels and expectations push women to the brink and keep them there. So why do we stand for this? This is the norm, we have never known anything else. And the only reason that people could be opposed to changing the norm is fear, fear and change. Society is so used to a steady social standing that any change, no matter how small, becomes momentous and an immense undertaking. From the beginning, women were at the bottom of the gender hierarchy. Men had the ability to dictate every aspect of women’s lives, and this ability was taken advantage of. Control is a factor in the picture of why women conformed as they did. The pressure to be perfect lingers in the back of every girl’s busy mind. This brought on stereotypes, guilt, and sadness.

Men argue all the time that they don’t care about looks, that they care about personality, and inner beauty, but inside we can see right through them. Look at a handsome man; chances are he’s dating a beautiful girl. Mediocre men get mediocre girls. And so on. There are clear patterns that are visible but refuse to reveal themselves to the men who preach against them. The term “lesbian” can also be earned by dressing “like one.” Basketball shorts, tee-shirts, and athletic shoes earn you that title. But, no one ever takes the time to consider the other options. What if she can’t afford nice jeans, or has jeans that don’t fit and is embarrassed? And the trouble is, these words aren’t contained, kept where they need to be. They get spewed out into the face of the innocent and unsuspecting “offender.” Tyranny rules this modern time, although the stereotypes and expectations that are the basis for society are anything but modern. Modernity needs a push to a higher level of maturity, one that does not rely on breaking down others to feed personal growth.