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| by Salma Waheeb

The Everyday Societal Pressures Of Being A Woman

Why is it that to be a woman we must be so many things? A woman has to be beautiful, funny, strong (but not too strong), successful (but not that successful), and maternal (because what are you if you do not want babies?). We have to be enough (whatever the hell that means), yet not too much. We have to be above all (but not above him), smart (but not smarter than him). Not only that, but we also have to adopt our own opinions and views. But, when there are men around that disagree, we have to shut the hell up. Or accordingly, they will treat us as a threat. From the time we were little girls, we were put to believe that looks are the thing we should only be concerned about. Society judges us on the way we look, rather than our ability to do or achieve something. They expect us to look good in the morning, yet they judge us on the long time we take to get ready. Also, we should spend some time picking out our outfits, because people remember what we look like more than what our brain is capable of. Here are some ridiculous everyday-pressures a girl faces in society

1- On Point, Always 

We live in a society based on looks and we are surrounded by certain societal expectations and specific molds that girls should fit in to. Girls have to always be looking good, besides living up to those expectations. From head to toe, we have to look effortlessly flawless, looking just like the images of perfect women the media bombards us with everyday. 

2- Being “Put Together”

We are not just judged by appearance, but also by how we have our life held up. No, you cannot look messy. You are a girl who is supposed to have everything figured out in your life, and also be able to make people around you feel so. IT IS YOUR DUTY! Society always frames women and gives them too much to hold, and blames them if everything is not going on the right track. A mother is held responsible for her family’s happiness and a wife is held responsible for the success of her marriage. It is always the women to blame. Although we are not supposed to be too strong, we have to be in control. 

3- Dress Codes 

Girls are told at schools that they cannot wear shirts that show their bra straps, or even shoulders because it is ‘DISTRACTING’. In this light, society installs in boys’ minds that girls are not as free or liberal as they are, simply because they are ‘girls’. Coupled with this, girls believe that their bodies are sexualized, which is wrong on all levels. Besides, girls are always judged on what they wear. Society allows people to stereotype us ONLY by our clothes. They build stories and make assumptions only by some clothes we have on.

 4- Always be Happy 

You have to put a smile on your face. You cannot groan, you cannot complain. You have to always be happy and content, or you will be labeled as annoying, always-whining, or ungrateful. If you are not grinning from ear to ear, people will ask ” Are you OK?” or ” What’s wrong? What if nothing is wrong? What if I am totally fine? Bottomline, to be happy is OK, to be sad is OK, or even not to show any feelings at all is also OK. Don’t let society push you. Be honest with your feelings. At a very young age, girls start to feel the need to stand out and accept the pressures of womanhood, just to please the society around them. However, we have to embrace ourselves and celebrate our differences. “Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.”

Tags: Arab women  Women  Women empowerment  Women's health  Living  Healthy lifestyle  Wonder woman  Women rights  Mental health