Real Talk: The Societal Pressures Of Womanhood

At the Women's March on Washington

At the Women's March on Washington

Why is it that to be a woman we feel like we must be so many things?

To be a woman you must be beautiful, strong (but not too strong), career minded (but not too much), maternal (because what the f*ck are you if you don't want kids). You must be enough (whatever the hell that means), but not "too much." If you're too much, then you are seen as a threat. 

You must carry the star power to command a room, but be able to disappear into it when others take the stage. You need to have opinions, but when the men around you disagree you need to keep them to yourself. You have to spend the time to put on your makeup and pick out your outfit in the morning, because people remember what you looked like more than what your brain is capable of.

This is what society tells us. This is what it has told us since we were children.

I am a feminist. Yet that does not mean that I am free of the societal pressures of womanhood and neither are you. 

We are all different from one another, yet we carry some of the same pressures and learnings. 

We feel the need to constantly apologize for things we didn't do wrong....for things that are just us. We feel the pressure to be or do certain things. We feel the pressure to look a certain way. We are surrounded by and bombarded by messages telling us all of the different ways to be, look and act.

I think that we experience these pressures in different ways, consuming them and building them into our narratives. The narrative can change in focus from person to person depending on what we have internalized as individuals.

Even as I am writing this right now it is hard to tie all of my feelings on the subject together. There isn't a pretty bow or wrapper or "moral of the story" to end this story with. The story is ongoing. The pressures of womanhood aren't going to dissipate any time soon as far as I can tell. Tomorrow we will wake up and live in the same world, with the same pressures (maybe more) and the same struggle to learn to define our own worth and meaning away from the weight of all the things we have been taught to be and feel.