As women, we know what it's like to be stereotyped.
We're sensitive. We're sweet. We apologize for everything. We love to clean and cook. We like ice cream when we're heartbroken and shopping on all occasions. And of course, we all worship Beyoncé.
While one of these stereotypes might be true (YASSS QUEEN), the others are hit or miss, and some are downright offensive. And frankly, we are REALLY sick and tired of stereotypes that interfere with all of the progress we have made as a gender over the past few decades. They take away from our opportunities as females. They knick at our confidence. And they don't serve any purpose other than to cut us down.
And honestly, we're just tired of them. So if you encourage any of the following six stereotypes, it might be time to cut back.
1. We're Crazy
Let's start with one of the most offensive stereotypes of the bunch. Yay.
Yes, we care. Yes, we communicate. Yes, we feel. Yes, we speak up. But none of those things mean we are "crazy." Crazy is a derogatory term used to describe somebody who has a mental illness. It's not a nice word, period. But in the past few decades, the meaning has shifted to describe women that are invested in a relationship that unfortunately is on the fritz.
So no, we're not crazy -- we're not even desperate or clingy (gasp). We're actually proud of the fact that we try to talk things out and give a real effort to make relationships work, even if they aren't that stellar. We like to know that we tried.
For anyone that resorts to calling the girl in their life "crazy," ask yourself first -- are YOU setting the appropriate boundary? Are YOU speaking up? Are YOU being clear about your wants and needs? Because chances are, you aren't, and she is. And really -- that's no reason to resort to name calling.
Plus, it's also not going to win you any respect or attraction from anyone you are trying to court in the future. So let's trash the word "crazy" and start calling a spade, a spade. It just didn't work out, and it's easier to blame her.
2. We Need a Relationship to be Happy
As Irina Dunn (later popularized Gloria Steinem) so eloquently put it, "a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle."
It's not that we don't enjoy companionship. We do. But we can also be just as happy hanging with the girls or even flying solo. Relationships do not define us as women. With every decade that passes us are more enticing reasons to delay a relationship to further our own opportunity. We are founding our own businesses and increasing our education and traveling the world. And frankly, we don't need a partner to do any of it.
There are endless amounts of perks to being a single woman as well. A little independence can take a woman a long way -- and perhaps a relationship can -- dare I say it -- hold us back. Being single allows us to focus on what we want out of life -- and that is something we definitely need to figure out before we even think about combining forces with another.
Of course, there are many of us who are ready for a relationship -- but it will happen when it happens. We don't depend on it to be happy. We depend on ourselves. (And sometimes our dogs).
3. Caring About Our Career Means We Don't Care About Family
It's no secret nowadays that women have the right to choose to pursue both a career and family. We can have both. Not a shocker. However, a prevailing stigma still floats among us. If we choose to work after we have a career -- we're still moms, yes, but we aren't top tier. And if we postpone having a family for the sake of a blossoming career -- well then, we never planned on being a rockstar mom, anyway.
What is that about? We live in a world of AND, not in a world of OR. So we'll take both, please.
Plenty of us are climbing up the corporate ladder while also getting married and starting a family. It doesn't mean we will be absent girlfriends, wives, or mothers -- it just means our day to days are becoming a bit busier over time. Of course things might get a little messy along the way, and there WILL be days where it feels like we can't do it all, but that doesn't mean it's true. And it certainly doesn't mean we don't care.
We are determined to get everything we want out of life now that the choices are readily available. Do we realize that it's more challenging for us? Yes. Do we know that work-life balance is just ONE of the issues we have to face in the workplace? Also, yes. And considering that most men haven't ever had to sit back and wonder, "hmm... if I work does that mean I don't care about my family?" -- you can safely assume most of us don't mull over that question, either. We work for the betterment of our family.
Besides, work-life balance is no longer a gender issue -- it's a human issue.
4. We're Mean to Each Other
Yes, there is evidence that women do not support each other in the workplace. However, there are many reasons that this research could be skewed. First of all, there aren't as many females in the workforce, period. The opportunities aren't as abundant. So, it's not a ludicrous thought to suspect there might be a limited 'female quota' at any given place of employment -- and that certainly doesn't foster female companionship. Second, women tend to be more verbal than men, so they most likely have a higher report rate due to vocalizing instances more than men do.
But, this doesn't mean that because a few women are rude to each other, that every female is a "mean girl." In fact, a lot of us are really supportive of each other. We like to hear about each other's success stories and enjoy motivating each other as much as we can. Most of us are aware that one girl's success doesn't suck up all of the potential for someone else. One girl's raise doesn't equal another girl's demotion. One girl getting married doesn't mean the other has to be single forever. Life isn't like a hot club downtown - one in and one out. There is room for all of us, especially if we support one another. And honestly, most of us embrace the support. Yes, bullying is still a major problem - one that myself and many other organizations are trying to dismantle - but not every girl is out to get each other. Many of us truly believe that the nicer we are to each other, the more potential there is for all of us to grow.
Side note: If you still aren't convinced, go check out the girl's bathroom at that bumping night club. You're seriously missing out. All you'll hear is compliments, laughs, "no - you first!" and a few more compliments.
It's a good time.
5. We're Super Difficult to Please
Somewhere along the way, females have been labeled as humans that are incapable of being pleased by their partner. It's weird. There are so many false high standards circling society that it's pinned us as ungrateful, needy, or materialistic.
In reality, it's pretty dang simple. All we really want is somebody to listen, communicate, and take us into consideration for future plans.
That's seriously it.
And honestly, doesn't everyone want those things?
We don't long for the day when a loved one buys us diamond earrings or takes us on a weekend vacation to France. (Don't get us wrong, we'll take it, but we don't expect it by any means!) What most females - and humans in general -- want out of life is just to be noticed and appreciated. We want to be treated with respect and compassion. We just want someone to be there and have someone care. 80% of life is showing up, right? So we don't need the perfect body, the 3 carat ring, or the six figure income - we want our special person to be considerate and in tune with us.
It takes a little bit of focus at times, but overall, just follow the golden rule.
6. Men's Behavior Is All Our Fault
This might be equally as aggravating as #1 on this list. But I'll let you decide.
The other day I was waiting for one of those seemingly easy but actually excessively difficult ballet bar classes. (Ouch my poor booty!) Tons of cute, fit girls were chatting in the waiting room while I was awkwardly introverting and pretending to be in a deep stretch in the corner. They were really friendly and being extremely encouraging of one another, and although I know eavesdropping isn't nice, it was a fun conversation to listen to.
It wasn't too long before chatter came up about a guy who ghosted one of the cute girls. They had a great date, saw each other a few times after that, texted constantly, and overall, really hit it off.
Then, it stopped. He vanished. Left her hanging on their third date and she never heard from him again.
Blah. I hate it when that happens. And not surprisingly, she wasn't too keen on it, either. In fact, she was downright pissed. And she had a right to be! It's never fun to be rejected.
Right on cue, her friends came to her defense and began spouting out theories and reasons as to why he might have fallen off the face of earth - none of which have anything to do with her. That's what friends do. Hell, I even wanted to join in. She was so sweet! How could you not want to date her?! Hmph.
But, in the midst of the brainstorming session, one girl offered a rather interesting insight:
"I know what happened. It's always the same."
"What? Tell me!"
*we all lean in*
*yes I am still in the back corner -- so awkward*
"It's his mother. It's always the mother. Mommy issues, you know. The mom screws up, so we have to suffer."
Ok. Well that took a turn in the rude direction.
I'm sorry - but is that not the most unfair thing you've ever heard? What a damaging stereotype. I kept thinking about it for the rest of the day.
I mean, after all, we are the crazy ones who blew up their phone and forced them to reject us! We are the clingy ones that MUST to be in a relationship at all times in order to be happy! And we are absolutely IMPOSSIBLE to please!!!! OF COURSE IT'S OUR FAULT.
(I tend to get a little heated about these things.)
But as it turns out, it doesn't even matter. Because even if we did everything "right" by defying every single unfair stereotype we are already battling -- another woman must have messed him up before we even got to him. An ex-girlfriend, a big sister, maybe an unrequited love. But if none of those girls fit the bill -- then it's gotta be the mother.
Somewhere along the line, a woman got to him. We are not to be trusted.
I'm not saying that all women are *perfect* and that we are immune to causing some negative impressions on other humans. I've probably done a number on a few of my ex-boyfriends back when I was still experiencing some emotional growing pains (sorry, guys). But I realized in that moment, there is a sweeping generalization that it is the female's responsibility to make sure males treat us well.
That is a LOT of pressure for women to carry.
Plus... shouldn't we all be accountable for our own behaviors?
The way I see it is, if I choose to act like a jerk, then that's my choice. I don't blame it on my dad. I don't blame it on my mom. I don't even blame it on my ex-boyfriends. I'm just choosing to act like a jerk and that's disappointing but hey, it's my choice. An individual's behavior -- regardless of gender -- is the individual's responsibility. Of course tons of factors play into behavior -- institutionalized misogyny, racism, bigotry, homophobia -- a lot of bullshit that people have to deal with on a daily basis. And it's absolutely not ok. But it's also not ok to blame a gender or a race or a sexuality as a whole. Instead, try to identify those factors and advocate for the oppressed's behalf.
But don't lean into it. That's the worst.
Moral of the story: let's stand together and fight off any detrimental stereotypes against us. We're awesome, so let's make sure everyone respects that.
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