I’ve thought a lot about posting this, especially as I’ve never written anything sensational about a really strong opinion I’ve had before but hey, I needed to break out of my comfort zone and put my thoughts out there.
So yep, this is me. Putting myself out there and trying not to sound like a complete and utter tit.
I’ve been thinking about what it means to be a woman in 2017.
As I’ve been growing older, becoming a woman has meant more and more to me as every year passes and it’s pretty damn empowering if you ask me.
My mum and sister are the strongest female role models in my life. My mum is so strong, she is the kind of woman that thrives in the face of adversity. Srsly, nothing phases her; she is rational, she always makes the best decision (despite my past protests, she really is always right) and she puts all her effort and energy into constantly motivating everyone around her to strive for greatness.
My sister also, is possibly the most headstrong person I have ever met. She doesn’t hold back, her opinions and thoughts are well thought out but holy heck, so honest. She is always so confident, even when she doesn’t feel it inside, and she is so sure of herself and who she aspires to be that I doubt my own self sometimes.
Whereas I always seem to be bumbling around with my heart first instead of my head, and make ill-thought out decisions based purely on emotion.
We can’t all be perfect right?
But my point is, I had a great childhood and both my parents raised my sister and I to have hopes and dreams; I was told that I can achieve anything that I wanted to if I worked hard enough and my schooldays were filled with dreams of succesfully being a lawyer, or a computer forensic analyst, or a dentist.
LOL I had such a varied career choice – I’m gonna blame this on watching back to back episodes of Forensic Files.
I’d like to think that everything that I’ve achieved in life is because I’ve always known that I would be able to achieve it with a hella amount of perseverance [HELL YES GIRL BOSS] and support from my family. Quite a lot of my adult life has been an uphill struggle to try and show that I’m capable, can learn quickly and want to better myself.
I’ve always felt that I’ve needed to prove to people that I can make a success of what was destined to be a hard life when I left school with hardly any qualifications, and I had always assumed that any hurdles that I needed to battle through were mostly because of my age rather than anything else.
That is up until recently.
Last year it would have never have come into my mind that I may have been judged on my success because I’m a woman and as I’m typing this now, I’m shaking my head in such disbelief that at times I’m made to feel thankful for where I’ve ended up in life because I’m female.
I literally wanna stomp my foot on the ground and shout HOW IS THIS FAIR but LOL I don’t think that will add to my cause much.
I’m talking about all of those times that I’ve been told that I’ve done well to be in the position that I am for y’know, being a woman.
All those times that I get DM’ed by men after posting a picture of my face on social media. Not from flatlays, not from posting cute cat pictures, but by posting a picture of me or my body.
All those times that I get heckled by idiots in a van – pointing, whistling, staring – at times when I leave the house [and it’s always when I’m alone], with my hair down and make-up on. Why does this never happen to me when I leave the house with a 2 week old baggy t-shit on and a bun that would make Ms Trunchball proud?
And for the times that I’m told that I’ve actively been searched for on the internet because someone is interested to found out what I look like; to find out whether I’m an average looking girl with an outspoken opinion or whether someone classes me as ‘pretty’ my opinions are changed to cute and confident?
And the excuse is that men will be men. Men can’t help it. It’s just in their nature.
But what difference does it make whether I’m a woman or not? If there is anything that I want in life it’s for me to be judged on my merits rather than my gender.
Occasionally I sit and think about it from time to time but I tend to ask myself – has the World changed recently, or has it always been the same and I’m only just seeing it now I’m entering my mid-twenties?
The worst thing is that there has been nothing that anyone has said to me in particular; when I first started working there was almost a unwritten truth that, as a woman, it was harder to be promoted into higher positions, generally, as the opinion is that a woman cannot lead as strong as a man can.
I hate to say this, but how misogynistic is that.
It’s almost as if, in 2017, we’re in a period where we’re still living by outdated idealisms, that women are gentle and empathetic which means they cannot perform in business, however the moment a woman breaks that stereotype they are classed as harsh, cold almost.
Errr doesn’t make any sense to me, soz. Some of the most amazing men I have ever met have been compassionate, creative, good listeners, ambitious and have physical beauty. These are all traits that everyone can work towards regardless of their gender.
I understand that there are fundamental physical differences between men and women – men tend to be stronger based on their build (which comes in super handy when I can’t unscrew the cork from a wine bottle which, TBF, is a hard job at times) but apart from that, I can’t see any other differences.
Personality wise my willingness to learn and adapt, my perseverance, my wit, my empathy – none of that has come from me being a woman. Similarly my stubbornness and emotions don’t rise to the surface because I’m a woman, that’s just the kind of person I am.
I wouldn’t even say I’m the kind of person to write my emotional state off as hormones, or quietly say to my gal pals “well y’know, it must be my time of the month’ – I’ve always felt that I should never need to apologise for the way I feel no matter what the root cause is.
I went to a girls only comprehensive secondary school, and grew up to be a person who supports and appreciates other women instead of seeing them as a threat for a new job, new boyfriend etc. which is why it seems almost foreign to me [still!] that at times society continues to pit women against each other.
Women put so much pressure on ourselves to always strive for success/ good appearances/ healthy family – we should just throw this out of the window and begin supporting each other more to strive for change on bigger issues such as human rights
And huns, there is so much more that we can do to support one another, we need to applaud other women’s success. Be the best person you can be. Do Good. Take care of yourself. Speak your mind. Stand for zero tolerance and stop feeding into social media when it glories women being hurtful or catty against one another.
In this modern day, we shouldn’t need to keep on campaigning for change, but now I realise that there is still some work to be done. Particularly in my life, I’d like to think that this will change over time and with the help of education not just from myself, but from other women in my life too. I hope that the more I speak my mind, the more change will be created.
I mean, I’m not gonna run off to Topshop and buy myself the most pro-feminist top I can find. I wouldn’t even class myself as a feminist – am I an equalist? Does that sound like a real word or LOL have I just made that up?
OK I’ve quickly googled it, apparently it’s ‘Egalitarianism’ (er, is it just me or does that sound like some kind of dinosaur?).
I’m getting a bit rambly now and I’m kinda just throwing my ideas out there, but really the aim of this post is to open up a discussion and dialogue about equality.
Do you feel that things are a bit more equal between men and women? What d’ya think of women supporting each other?
Here’s to supporting other women and striving for equality.
P E A C E.
Photographs taken by the amazing Steph at Stephanie Dreams Photography – check out her incredible work on her website here.