Proposal: Getting the Word Out

As a woman, I have always felt as though I have needed to please and be pleasing to others around me, most often to men. The unbalanced relationship and inequality of expectations for men and women have always deeply frustrated me as women are always short-changed and receive less freedom than do men. Not only do women have to dress to impress but they also must be caring, open, friendly, and always “smile and be cheerful” (Frye 2). “If we comply, we signal our docility and our acquiescence in our situation … [and if we happen to show our unhappier side one day,] we are perceived as mean, bitter, angry or dangerous,” and the criticisms begin (Frye 2). By accepting this social standard, “we participate in our own erasure” (Frye 2).

The form of sexual inequality that most resounds with me is the fact that women, much more often than men, are expected to be a certain way in order to be loved, admired, accepted, and respected. I cannot recall how many times in my life I have been treated with disrespect because of the outfit I wore was unbecoming or my feelings leaked through and made me seem as though I needed someone else to help me be cheerful again. Before being women, we are human, and it seems that the freedoms we deserve are removed as we enter womanhood and are expected to be caretaker, motherly and giving. At what point are we allowed to live our own lives without restrictions, as men are not only allowed to do, but encouraged to do and loved more because of their individuality. (An example is that women always seem to be drawn to the men who are bold, individualistic, and gregarious, whereas the qualities most encouraged in women are reservation, acceptance, and action only after social referencing. I cannot remember the last time a girl was either the most popular kid in school or was labeled the class clown without being hated for either.)

In short, the expectations of women are severely limiting to her growth and expression of character. Too often are women restricted in what they can do for fear of seeming unfeminine; truly, women are loved for their femininity and beauty.

An easy answer to eliminating the inequalities between men and women is not easy, but someone has to start somewhere. My proposal is to simply rethink our actions and ask ourselves whether what we are doing in any situation is because of how we are expected to act or how we feel we should act as a human, not as a woman or man. (This proposal includes men because men also are respected more for their masculinity.) In summation, the measure of a woman is dependent upon her femininity while a man’s is dependent upon his masculinity; both of these criteria seem to be passed down from ages ago when men were hunters and women stayed home: it is just too old-fashioned! No one deserves to have their actions dictated to them in life, but this is what happens from childhood. In most situations, we conform and make ourselves social slaves.

In addition to changing the way we think, which is how all change must begin if it is to really last, getting the word out is important as well. T-shirts that say something like, “Humanity before sexuality” or “Listen, don’t look,” may prompt questions from others, and clubs where ideas are shared concerning how to eliminate “social slavery” and raise equality between all individuals would further spread the equality movement. Any non-violent way women (and men!) can express their belief that equality can only be found once we view each person as a human is one step closer to finding equality.

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