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Isabella Mendes

A woman can be as strong as she wishes to be.

Defying Standards Head On

Defying the standards set for women can be a little scary, so I set out a little adventure. For a week straight I defied those standards

March 18, 2017

Since the beginning of time, women have been treated like ornaments or decorations―pretty, but with no actual purpose. Even though society is getting better about recognizing how intelligent and powerful women really are, we still see countless mean social media posts body shaming female celebrities, as well as articles about how important it is for women to have flawless skin and the virtues of acting “ladylike.” Gender inequality is an international crisis that needs to be recognized. Worst of all, women have been so bombarded with images, words, and actions, that some of us actually believe we are inferior to males.

Some statistical facts point that women are judged or treated less than males. It is proven that women get paid less for doing the same work as a man. Women, on average,  earn less than men in virtually every single occupation for which there are sufficient earnings data for both men and women to calculate an earnings’ ratio.  In 2015, female full-time workers made only 80 cents for every dollar earned by men a gender wage gap of 20 percent, according to Institute for Women’s Policy Research. 

Adding to those double standards, it seems like when women do something wrong it’s like this big scandal, but when men do something even remotely wrong, most times they get applauded for it. I am not saying men are not great or good in certain aspects, because let’s face it, men are a huge part of this world, and it is questionable where the world would be without them. But I also think that women are just as important to society.

I set out on a little adventure of experimenting with the double standards society makes women feel like they should abide by. Most females feel pressured to look a certain way for fear of being judged by others. Whether it’s a teenager or middle-aged professional, many women are afraid to leave the house without makeup. For a week, I tried to defy those standards to see who would notice that I wore leggings every day or had my hair in a messy bun, literally every day. It was change for sure, but a good one.

I think I realized after about four days of hardly looking at myself in the mirror when getting ready for school, I do not need to wear makeup and do my hair daily to impress people that I could not care less about. I also realized that not looking your best daily hardly goes noticed. No one commented on my messy buns or my makeup-free face, or even the hoodies and leggings I wore daily. I find hope in the fact that no one gave my appearance a second thought. Maybe this means that in this new day and age, women are gaining just as much power as men and therefore do not need to worry about their appearance as much.   It seems as if we are finally able to leave an era where women are made to do nothing more than bear children and cater to men.

While most people at school did not remark on my appearance, my father commented on how my hair looked. He said, “Why don’t you go brush your hair and do something with it?” My reply was snarky of course. I looked at him and said, “ Why don’t you go brush the rat’s nest on your head instead of worrying about mine?” He left me alone. I take it as men don’t understand what to do in when women stand up for themselves.

It seems that women today are trying to make a statement that they are strong and capable, and we are trying extra hard to make sure our daughters realize that. Feminists and overall supporters of women’s right’s all over the world have protested with parades and marches to defy standards instead of letting standards define them. Women today are strong and determined, they know what they want when they want it, and it is to be treated equal just like everyone else.

Frankly, this past week of doing things the way I liked rather than how I am expected to had a really big impact on me. Every day, I’d wake up ten minutes before I left for school, only giving me time to brush my teeth and get dressed for the day, I hardly even looked in the mirror. Looking back now, I realized that I loved not caring about what I looked like or how I acted. Truthfully, I think I am going to live more how I wish to rather than worry about what other people might want me to.

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