Women across the world can identify with the sentiment that it always feels like we can’t do anything right. Everywhere we turn, there is someone waiting to critique us. How we walk, talk and dress. What we eat, watch and believe. Everything we do is constantly under scrutiny and someone always has an opinion waiting for us.
You want to wear makeup? Okay, but let’s take you swimming so we can see what’s underneath. Oh, you don’t wear makeup? You look so tired and sick, are you okay? You wear revealing clothes? Maybe cover up, you should leave something up to the imagination. You like to dress modestly? Show a little skin, don’t be such a prude!
Even though it is incredibly unattainable, women everywhere work their entire lives to achieve the expectation of perfection put onto us by society. To make matters worse, not only were these expectations set by men, but they are also perpetuated by other women.
While we acknowledge that these expectations are harmful to the mental and physical wellbeing of women, the roles that they can create are not necessarily destructive. It’s not the roles that we take issue with, but the control and lack of choice that were forced upon generations of women.
For generations, women were housekeepers, mothers and wives, only good for looking pretty and following and listening to whatever men had to say. For years, women had no choice but to adhere to them. We were expected to cook, clean and take care of their children, all with a perfect appearance. They were to be rule followers and not leaders.
Thankfully, these generations of women have also fought to gain the opportunities and rights that women have today. We now have a right to choose what we do with our lives. We are no longer confined to the roles that our mothers and their mothers were forced to play.
I think that in recent years it has been so drilled into us to use these opportunities to become leaders and trailblazers because if we don’t use them, they’ll be wasted. However, I think that we forget that we also have the option of taking on the traditional female role. Only this time, we’re not doing it for the pleasure of a man. We do it because it is empowering and brings us joy.
Personally, I don’t find joy in the traditional feminine role, but that’s the whole point, isn’t it? You don’t need to understand why someone chooses to do something to support their decision. It doesn’t harm anyone, so why try to bring them down?
Advocating for women to feel empowered in what may seem like an outdated role does not negate all the work that women, especially women of color, have had to do in order to gain these opportunities.
Just as women should be allowed to choose to be scientists and CEOs without scrutiny, they should be allowed to choose to be homemakers without scrutiny. Just because a woman chooses to align herself with a traditional role does not mean that she is weak or powerless. Some women find it empowering to choose to lead that life.
Furthermore, hating on women who choose to stay home and fulfill a traditional role does not make you or your choices any more valid. It shouldn’t make you feel any more empowered to hate on someone for living differently than you. Women already struggle just by being women. We shouldn’t be tearing each other down, but instead lifting each other up.
Women still have a long way to go when it comes to fully gaining autonomy over our lives. We are ridiculed for not becoming wives and choosing a career over a family. Our healthcare is understudied and not taken seriously. Everything we do is put under a microscope for an invisible set of rules that we are forced to adhere to.
In conclusion, women should be allowed to live the lifestyle of their choosing, without fear of being questioned for it. We should be allowed to want to get married young and have a million children and cook for our families and wear makeup and dress modestly and do anything and everything we want to do. We should be allowed to do so without being questioned. We shouldn’t have to face backlash or scrutiny for doing what makes us feel empowered, especially when it comes from a man.