As a woman myself, I’m so familiar with stereotype, stigma, generalization, sexism and discrimination that make women (in general) live under pressure.
Women have to be beautiful, sweet, gentle, soft-spoken, well-manner and obedient.
Women aren’t allowed to be fat or chubby because they’ll look ugly. But, women can’t be too skinny either—because according to some men out there—they’re not nice to hug or sexy enough. Society worship women with hourglass figure, but, researches said that they’re only 8% of total population all over the world—which is minority.
Women aren’t allowed to be too smart, ambititious and independent because men would feel intimidated. Some people said that women with high intelligent and big success often face difficulties in finding a partner. But, if women are fool, men (not all of them, of course) take an advantage of their foolishness for their own interest.
If women aren’t independent, men will control over their life and freedom. And you should know that control over is a red flag in any kind of relationship.
What women wear, how women speak, act or behave are controlled by family members, schools, government, religious authority etc. They control over women through laws, social norms even myths. Women who look or behave differently from feminity standard often perceived as “less woman” or “less feminine”.
Feminity and masculinity are different from sex. If sex is God-given, feminity and masculinity are formed and defined by social construct. In fact, feminity and masculinity are very fluid. It means women and men can have feminine and masculine side at the same time.
Women might appear as gentle, caring and sensitive, but they can show you how tough they are in a critical situation. For example, we can see how women take a participation in pandemic recovery, in any fields, like healthcare, economic and business, education etc. We can learn from some women leaders who succeed in managing the crisis in their country during Covid-19 pandemic, such as Jacinda Ardern (New Zealand Prime Minister) and Angela Merkel (former Germany Chancellor).
Men might appear as strong, firm and dominant, but who doesn’t have soft spot for woman he loves? Doesn’t man also break into tears or at least sad, when he experience a heartbreak?
So, is the example above related to you? Then, what should women do to handle these kind of pressures?
First, ignore, don’t let them make you down
You’re precious and beautiful just the way you are. You deserve love and happiness. If people tell you otherwise, remember that you only have two hands, so you can’t shut their mouths. But, you can use your two hands to cover your ears and ignore their noises.
Second, focus on your strength
I believe that everyone is unique in their own way. Flaws are not really flaws because they make you complete as a human being. Instead of listening to those unnecessary words, you better focus on your strength and improve the other aspect that you still lack of.
Third, find your support system
Like I said before, you deserve love and happiness. So, if you’re not happy with your relationship (whether romantic or platonic), don’t ever feel guilty to cut out this kind of relationship.
It’s not your fault if you decide to break up with your toxic partner or stay away from an unhealthy friendship. You need to find a circle that can help you grow up to be a better person. Find a circle that can appreciate you for every steps you take to make a change.
Fourth, love yourself
Fair skin, long straight hair, model-like body are just an outdated beauty standard. Thankfully, the beauty industry today is more aware about different kind of beauty. So, why are you still stuck in your insecurity? Do you try to meet the beauty standard just to please others? Did the people dictate you for your clothes or behaviour as a woman?
Well, they won’t stop giving you pressures even though you’re already under their control. That’s the reason you need self-love. Embrace your flaws, forgive your past mistakes, learn and improve your quality as a woman and human being. If you love yourself, no one can stop you for being who you are.
Written by Luna Septalisa for Inspirasianakita