Empowerment & Feminism

“What Women Want” Is a Lie: Why We Shouldn’t Give Up On Fighting Gender Roles

No more being small, quiet and pretty for anyone.

It seems crazy that, in 2017, people still believe make-up and Prince Charming are “everything a girl wants,” doesn’t it? And it is.
 Crazy that is. Not because women shouldn’t be allowed to love red lipstick or to dream of being in a great relationship, but because these things, that are pretty nice by themselves, are being put in an ugly box. Again, not ugly because they are “for women only”, but because this idea sets useless boundaries on things that shouldn’t have any.

If I don’t care about make-up, that doesn’t make me any less of a woman. If career is my goal, not marriage, I’m still a woman nonetheless. And, biggest surprise of them all, I might as well love painting my nails and dream of the perfect family if I want to, but you shouldn’t put me in a box for that.

Everything a female individual is passionate about does define her as a woman, but nobody should ever decide what’s “allowed” and what’s not.

How could anybody decide what others should or shouldn’t like? That’s absurd. Historically, though, women have been told what to do all the time. They have been taught since they were kids that they should always look pretty, that they had to set their own dreams aside once they were going to become wives, because marriage is compromise, and you’re not going to need your aspirations anymore once you have a family.

It’s not the fifties anymore though, so women are now allowed to do whatever they want, right?

They can be CEOs, full time moms, astronauts, artists, journalists, engineers, you name it. It’s true, we have come a long way as far as women’s rights go, but deep down (sometimes, not so deep), society still considers certain jobs, attitudes, interests as “for boys” or “for girls”. It comes from the way people were socialized, and things are never going to actually change if everybody keeps that kind of mindset. Women can drive motorcycles all they want, but if society keeps thinking this way, it’s always going to be perceived as “weird”.

It’s so hard for so many to understand how deep the roots of the issue are, and I’m not only talking about men unfortunately.

A great number of women still believe this is the way things are and should be, without realizing that so much of what they think does not come from them, but has been engrained in their mind by society for all these years.

The debate needs to be sparked in order to break these issues down and get to understand how they can be solved, because they range from the smallest things to creating huge probems on a worldwide scale. 
Many of the latest events that uncovered frightening details of sexual harrasment in the Hollywood/Press industry and the way the public reacted to them, still show how big of a part gender roles play in the whole narrative.

Victim blaming, sexist attitudes, cat calls, the “boys will be boys” excuse are basically never condemned because they answer to gender role rules. If a man gives a woman unwanted attention while she passes by on the street, she shouldn’t get mad, because that’s what boys do. But it shouldn’t be, because boys should be taught not to do so. Cat calls on the street are not just undesirable and disgusting, they degrade women to a lower level and put men in a dominant position through basically being abusive. That’s also perpetuating a gender role, where women are inferior and weak and passive while men are strong and in control.

Associating females and males with certain things through fixed gender roles is dangerous, because it justifies this kind of mentality.

My point being, if women love makeup it doesn’t mean they can’t get into politics, but neither of the two should put them in a box that they can’t get out of. That can transition (and it has) to being told “you’re a woman, there is no way you can do this, go back to the kitchen”.

It’s just not about gender roles either. Not being open to other points of view is what creates extremism, and that’s the root of totalitarianism. Narrow-mindness perpetrates idiotic models in which people are forcefully enclosed. If you don’t meet the parameters, then you’re out.

Our generation prides itself in receiving and processing information globally, 24/7, yet these ideas are still being brought about to this day. That’s why it takes just the slightest comment on what women should do, say or wear to keep perpetuating these meaningless models.

That is also why females who call you out for being sexist are not “bitching”, they are fighting an ongoing battle to be free to do whatever the hell they want, as long as they’re not hurting anybody. 
So we might as well be dreamers, just not the way you want us to be.

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Giada is a journalism student and aspiring singer-songwriter currently...