It’s an odd time to be a female 20-something. The ideas presented to our generation regarding womanhood are often skewed. Beyoncé sings, “I’m a grown woman, I can do whatever I want,” while Nicolas Sparks novels and movies typically end with the main female protagonist finding a “happily ever after” with the man of her apparent dreams.
We are taught that a traditional wife should cook, clean, be humble and obedient, while we hear the opposite message as well. If you’re patient enough, your dream job or Mr. Right or whatever you seek will find you. If you’re too forward, it could backfire. But be independent and have a strong backbone! No wonder we are so often confused!
Media is now the dominant way through which we learn about the world. As little girls, we saw fairytale images of women like Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White. Prince Charming saved them each with a single kiss to make them whole. Female empowerment is a forefront concern today, and increasingly, public figures deem themselves as feminists.
I often feel a stigma exists with the word “feminist.” While the term is meant to preserve a positive idea of progress and independence, on some level, I feel that a lot of people see gender-equality as an issue of the past. With the current reality of constant, instantaneous communication, we are exposed to more ideas messages and points of view than ever before. Still, we are equal by law, so what more needs to change?
Ladies, we need to start thinking more for ourselves. It’s so easy to listen to another person’s opinion regarding what it means to be a woman how we should live our lives, but the honest truth is that there is no right or wrong way to live. The world is not meant to be a place in which every woman will graduate from college, have a career, get married and have a family.
Perhaps it is human nature to have these standard goals. Maybe it’s anti-feminist to expect a woman to exceed these goals, but ultimately, it’s you who is living your life. It’s this power to choose that is the basis of feminism.
The only opinion that matters is your own. Know that you deserve the best, and that “the best” won’t mean the same thing for every person.
It’s always helpful to gain a new perspective. But, hey, it’s 2014. Forget the cookie-cutter idea of what other people may or may not believe a “feminist” is and do what you want.
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