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Tayler Wiley Headshot

The Modern Woman as Flawless

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PUNK WOMAN
-Rekha Garton- via Getty Images

As implied by the Holy Bible, man and woman are two opposite parts of one whole. However, in the myth of Adam and Eve, man was created first. According to the word of the Lord, "it [was] not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner" (Genesis 2:18). So, God took a single rib from Adam to create Eve. Therefore woman, in her entirety, was made from a small fraction of man.

It could be implied that since the beginning, the female has been worth only a fraction of the male's value, made for man's mere need for a "helper." She was put into existence and gifted to man as an assistant, a wife, a child bearer, a receptionist. Whatever her role throughout history, the Old Testament's patriarchal implications support the centuries-old status quo that places men a rank above his lesser counterpart.

Society has created a binary lens that endorses male superiority. This perspective of stereotyping women as the less intelligent, weaker sex and man as the dominant and more physically-capable is so entrenched in our culture that it has become normal. Looking at our world through this binary lens, sexism is unrecognizable and at times completely invisible. Whether justified, recognized or not, male superiority is a modern day fact. In truth, it is a fallacy that has existed for far too long.

As stated in the documentary Miss Representation, women hold only 17 percent of seats in the House of Representatives, make up only 3 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs and 3 percent of clout positions in mainstream media. Alone, one of these statistics could be interpreted as a coincidence, but the common denominator indeed illustrates an unacceptable misrepresentation of women.

According to Newton's third law of motion, to every action there is always opposed and equal reaction. When men are held up and given more importance in the community, women are suppressed and made inferior. When men are placed in the foreground, women remain in the background, out of focus.

The psychological consequences go even deeper than the physical. When a group devaluation is so deeply engrained in a society, it becomes easier for those individuals to see them self as lesser beings or even as objects.

Seen as man's servant, meant to cater his every need, many contradictory roles and expectations have been given to women. To be a "good woman," one must be a quiet and obedient daughter, a loyal and faithful wife, produce (male) children, be a loving mother, a good cook, a tidy house keeper, and in today's modern society balance a career with the previously listed duties. She must constantly look beautiful and seductive, but not provocative. All the while she must be modest and not threaten the man.

The realization that came to me after reading the tragic news three days ago of two teenage girls found hanging from trees in a village of northern India, subjects of gang rape, was the enchanting power of women. The evolution of our resistance, not only our perseverance but our persistence to be seen as naturally equal to men, to be independent and unique individuals is because of our persecution, not in spite of it. It is the injustice inflicted upon us that has inherently made us stronger.

With this fresh perspective, I see women as the superior rather than inferior gender. Physically, mentally, intellectually, women continue to fight for fairness. As women, we have learned to suffer, to take in pain, but to speak up for injustice. We have contradicted media and political dogma to earn voting rights, academic, athletic and professional equality.

Women like poet Maya Angelou, comedian Tina Fey, First Lady Michelle Obama, and even Betty Francis, the character of January Jones on Mad Men, when acting, performing or just living, are beautiful and empowering. In their daily actions I see a confidence and refined grace that women have come to embody. Without shouting. Once quietly persevering, and now thriving.

Pop icon Beyoncé has come to represent a feminist sexuality that inspires girls across the globe. In her latest song ***Flawless, she responds to society's nonsensical rules and expectations of women with a sexy and satirical tone.

"Momma taught me good home training
My Daddy taught me how to love my haters
My sister taught me I should speak my mind
My man made me feel so God damn fine

You wake up, flawless
Post up, flawless
Ride round in it, flawless"

She seems to be saying: "Yes, I fulfill all of these expectations, because I want to. By being a female of the 21st century, I am flawless." I would like to see a man walk in the shoes, heels rather, of Beyoncé or any modern woman.

It is not to say that there aren't many demanding and also harmful expectations equally projected upon men. Stereotypes hurt everyone, but men have not had to face quite the same inequality as their female counterparts. Their voices have always been given precedence over women's. So in this way, the theory of evolution has made women stronger than man, more assertive and more beautiful than the original "Eve." Hashtag yes, all women.