As a 22-year-old single woman, I am so sick of having to conform to the standards and expectations that society has set for me. I would like to dress the way I like, without being catcalled on the street or labeled as “provocative” or “slutty.”
So what if I like to wear shorts when I go to the mall or a sleeveless shirt when I go jogging in the mornings?
I don’t dress to attract male attention. The way I dress is a reflection of my identity — of who I am and what I am comfortable with doing. And, I reserve the right to dress how I want without being told that “I’m asking for it.”
Who invented this concept of “asking for it,” anyway? Why can’t I have the freedom to wear what I like when I like without worrying if my blouse is too tight, my skirt is too short or my lipstick is too provocative?
As a 22-year-old single woman, I would like to escape the stereotype that all good women ought to be pure and virginal. I would like to be judged for my actions and my relationships with others, not on whether or not my virginity is intact.
Why is it that when men engage in conquests with multiple women, they’re “strong” and “macho,” but when a woman is confident about her sexuality, she’s suddenly a slut? Maybe I would like my self-worth to be weighed not on the basis of my virginity, but on what I’ve accomplished in the service of other people.
I would like to be treated as a person who has unique thoughts and ideas, not as a walking hymen valued on the basis of outdated religious beliefs about a woman’s chastity.
As a 22-year-old single woman, I wish more people would tell me to chase my dreams and aspirations instead of expecting me to settle down with a good man and start a family. I wish that others would not call me selfish for waiting to settle down, but would instead respect that I would like to discover more about my identity before I get into a long-term commitment.
I wish people would stop treating me like I had an expiration date and that I had a limited time to settle down as soon as I can.
I wish that more of my teachers had told me that a woman’s place was not at home next to her husband, but wherever she dreamed to be — whether as an entrepreneur, an astronaut, an engineer or the next president.
As a 22-year-old single woman, I dream of a day when I will no longer be discriminated against or treated differently because of my gender. I dream of a day when male colleagues and bosses will look at me and see a young and highly-driven person instead of a woman in the workplace who ought to be treated delicately and handled with care.
I dream of a day when people will no longer generalize all women as emotionally volatile and all men as cool, logical thinkers and respect that every person acts uniquely.
I hope that young men can be taught that there is nothing intimidating about female leaders and that young women have as much a right as young men to lead other people based on their inherent capabilities.
I hope that fathers will teach their daughters that there is nothing wrong with wanting to be a scientist or a computer engineer, and mothers will teach their sons that there is no shame in enjoying to cook and doing housework.
I hope that we can one day move past gender roles and realize that we can all be whatever we want to be if we work hard to achieve the goals to which we set our minds.
As a 22-year-old single woman, I wish that people would stop typecasting me as a damsel in distress. I would like to be able to open doors for men as well or offer seats to older men on a crowded train. I would like to treat my dates to dinner sometime or ask guys out to movies.
I look at myself in the mirror and see a strong, independent woman; someone who doesn’t need a man to prop her up and define her successes. I wish that more people would look at me that way instead of treating me delicately, and in need of constant care and attention.
I wish that more men would respect me for my skills and abilities instead of just admiring me for my looks. I wish that guys would look at me and say, “There goes an incredibly smart and talented woman,” instead of catcalling or whistling or saying, “Hey, nice legs!”
As a 22-year-old single woman, I realize that society still has a long way to go to get to a point where men and women could be valued purely on their individual merit. Maybe it’s wishful thinking and maybe I’m just a dreamer. But, I like to think (as John Lennon so aptly put it) that I’m not the only one.
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