women do not have the potential to be great (and other misnomers).

Yeah, you read that right. Follow-up beneath the cut-link.

Now, don’t bite my head off – just wait a second. We were talking about this in English class, and someone said something about how ‘women have the potential to be great, but society hinders that.’ Well-meaning, perhaps, but incorrect.

Women do not have the potential to be great, as women are already great. You cannot simply say that women “can” amount to something – what about men, then? No one ever says that men have the potential to be great; it’s just assumed that they already are. And let me tell you, that that is one of the many utterly infuriating standards that women will be subject to throughout life – standards that are utterly idiotic (the word I really want to use isn’t appropriate for school settings), and I’ll walk you through a few of them.

  • Men who get around are playboys. Women who get around are sluts.

This is the twenty-first century, and for some reason, men can brag about their “conquests” and be lauded as worldly and attractive – but women can’t do the same without being branded sluts and whores. As a matter of fact, anything from wearing a – gasp! – tank top to talking to a member of the opposite sex will earn such a derogatory label.

Tell me again why feminism isn’t necessary?

This is the twenty-first century and sexuality is still something that’s pushed behind closed doors – and in vain. People have sex. It happens. (All over media, in fact.) People have sex to have children, and people have sex because they like it. Guys “get around” evidently because they like having sex, so why are women not allowed to do the same? No one tells these “playboys” to “have self-respect” or throws condescending advice at them to “settle down,” but for women, that’s all they get in regard to their sex lives – which, by the way, is a personal decision regarding their own bodies.

God forbid that women put on public display something men have been raving about to the entire world for most of history, now.

  • “You’re not like other girls.” Wow!!! What a compliment!! Thanks for shaming the rest of the female population, pal!

“Girl,” “woman,” “female,” etc. are not synonymous with “weak” or “domesticated.” Try getting that through Blood Countess Erzsebet Bathory, or Cleopatra VII Philopator, this preconceived notion that girls are unassuming and shallow and vapid. (Erzsebet Bathory was known for bathing in the blood of virgin girls, and the name “Cleopatra” should already give you an idea of what I’m getting at.) This idea of shaming young girls or other females, as a matter of fact, is incredibly problematic. Teenage girls are constantly made fun of as insecure, neurotic, shallow, etc. – and why? Because they are bombarded by these ideas that they ought to act or look a certain way, from all aspects of life, including, but not limited to social media, TV and movies, the other gender, friends’ peer pressuring, and even parents at times. Not that the teenage years are some of the most difficult years of a girl’s life, right? Yeah, who cares. Let’s just put them down even further.

  • Ugh!!! Cheerleaders!!! The color pink!!! So bourgeois!!

This goes hand in hand with the whole idea that a guy saying “you’re not like other girls” is a compliment. Need I remind the world that we are in the twenty-first century, for Christ’s sake and not – gasp! – the Dark Ages any more? Women are no longer and should no longer be confined to domestic or “traditionally” feminine areas of life (and do NOT even get me started on this whole “the woman’s place is in the house” debacle because I can and will pull out a slew of AP Euro terminology. And then a knife, because aren’t those kept in the kitchen?). It’s honestly astonishing that some people still look down on other girls who have interests in “masculine” fields. Because God forbid someone enjoy something that society doesn’t approve of, right?

However, this is a double standard. This is a huge TREAD WITH CAUTION territory. It’s okay to like comics and video games and sports and other “boy” things. But guess what? It’s also okay to wear the color pink and be a cheerleader and wear skirts and participate in other traditionally “feminine” areas, if you so choose. Because this is the twenty-first century and, by God, no one should be shamed for doing something that they enjoy.

  • Girls who dress up are only doing it for male attention. Duh. Why else?

It’s amazing how dense some people can be about this. I remember even my own English teacher partaking in this institutionalized misogyny – yeah, Mr. Theriault, I’m calling you out, sorry! – commenting on one of his ‘Dating 101’ lessons. There was a picture of a guy and a girl leaning close together, smiling and talking over a textbook. He was saying how they were evidently on a date and that there was romantic interest – the girl was wearing earrings, for crying out loud! Why else would she be wearing earrings?

Obviously not because, oh, I don’t know, she just felt like it, right?

Girls – if you want to wear winged eyeliner and MAC Ruby Woo just because it looks awesome, go for it. If you want to put your hair in a low ponytail, even if it makes you look like a founding father – like me! – by all means, have at it. If you want to wear cute matching Victoria’s Secret lingerie just because you like how it looks, by God, you should be allowed to without some institutionalized, dense, egotistical misogynists butting in with their own very much unnecessary opinions on your personal choice of attire.

  • Conclusion: screw society = screw the patriarchy

I suppose this post may come off as argumentative and angry, or attacking men, even. That is not the case. I have no problem against men. I’m related to a lot of great guys who respect women. I know a lot of great guys who respect women. But that’s not to say that the rest of the world does, and the fact of the matter is that society is dominated by the patriarchy with certain views about certain things, and while these views might have worked in, say, the Victorian era, this is the god damn twenty-first century and women should be liberated; and not just liberated, but equal in every way to the rest of the population with a Y chromosome.

The fact of the matter is that feminism is very much needed. The fact of the matter is that there actually had to be laws instated allowing women rights like voting and property, when men were guaranteed these long before. The fact of the matter is that there are girls who think it is okay to shame other girls about the way they dress or look, or even their hobbies. Do you think that if society was a little less absorbed in these ideas of gender roles that this would happen?

Thank you very much, society. Really, thank you for perceiving femininity as a frilly, gentle, domesticated, weak thing.

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