Struggling to ignore society’s unreal expectations for women

The Channels Opinion Pages | EDITOR COLUMN


I pass a mirror and automatically conduct a quick judgment of my appearance.

The question, “What do others see and think of me?” frequents my subconscious and has affected the way I view myself more than I would like to admit.

Being a woman in 2015 requires acknowledging societal influences to look, act and talk a certain way. We receive these messages everyday through various advertising tactics, endless social media feeds and even the interactions we have with others. It will happen whether we outwardly recognize it or not.

The constant struggle to conform to what our culture considers to be normal and idolizes as extraordinary often leads to some serious consequences on a person’s confidence and well-being.

I feel there is an immense amount of pressure to embody the modern superwoman in our culture. This ideal woman has a face that is observed as “pretty” to others, but not so pretty that she may come off as threatening. She rocks the ideal body type, is very outgoing and social with a large circle of friends, is very intelligent and always gets great grades and is an all around successful person with whatever she may attempt.

These goals are simply ridiculous to try and comply with because, let’s face it, we are all human and we all have very unique personalities and physical attributions.

But accepting the reality that our “imperfections” truly are okay is incredibly necessary to becoming a more confident and happier person that enjoys life for all that it has to offer.

Mental Health America, a nonprofit organization centered on helping people become mentally healthier, states in the article “Depression in Women” that roughly one in every eight women will probably struggle with clinical depression in her lifetime.

The organization also brings up the idea that certain social factors can potentially lead to higher rates of clinical depression. Factors such as stress from school and work, family obligations, and the roles and expectations that women feel pressure from.

You’re going to wake up some days and your skin won’t be perfect. You may gain some weight at some point, and that really gets you down because your body doesn’t resemble the same shape as the girls you may see in a fashion spread of a magazine.

What we often miss is that anyone else’s perception of our appearance really doesn’t matter. If a person looks at you and believes that you aren’t witty or intelligent enough, please proceed to strut past the negative comments so that you may find inner peace. What is truly the most important is how we regard ourselves without worrying about if we’re looking trendy enough to anyone else.

I will admit that it seems to be nearly impossible not to observe, stress or cave into societal pressures. It’s happened to me; in fact I will admit that it can still have some strain on my well-being.

However, since I have taken it upon myself to let go of all the stress and worries that go into trying to become that superwoman, I tend to feel all around happier. I’m more comfortable in my own skin, even if I may not be the best quiz taker or have the most fabulous hair.

It’s what allows me to drop the baggage and soak in the beauty of this world around me without being constantly worrisome about how I may appear.

I suggest you give it a try.