We are different than our mothers.
We are collectively different than the women before us, and as Gloria Steinem once said, “becoming the men we wanted to marry”.
Women have made leaps and bounds towards equality and more often than not we forget to truly reflect on how amazing we are, and how much our continuing fight has paid off. Though women still face generic, overplayed stereotypes, and are perpetually defined by their sexuality, we have come a long way from being burned at the steak for having our periods.
Menstruation is no longer a dirty word, and it’s finally being realized that middle aged white men might not be the best judge of what should govern a uterus. Witch hunts and scarlet letters are a thing of the past (though are sometimes replaced with hateful Instagram comments). But nonetheless we are no longer women of the past.
We are a new wave of women.
Gender Roles? *Chuckles*
These new wave of women are challenging old feminine notions and doing away with outdated gender roles in society and frankly it’s a beautiful, badass thing.
Whiskey, cigars, the right to vote, PANTS. Nothing is off limits for us now.
There is no more questioning if we really can have it all. We know we can slave away at work for lesser pay and come home to take care of our family. Women no longer have to choose between the two.
Pant suits are no longer required to demand attention, and the term “boss bitch” is a catchphrase used by everyone from the girl in a pencil skirt and leopard print top combo, to the executive manager of her own fortune 500 company.
Buying Starbucks every morning isn’t “basic”, it shows we make our own money and can spend it how we choose. We are too big for silly labels like that, and assigned rules no longer apply to us.
Makeup, body hair, dress codes, football, swearing; we have taken back the things that were once considered taboo.
The magic of reclaiming what was denied is the sexiness that comes with it. We are sure of ourselves, we know our worth, and are not bothered by those uneducated enough to not know that women control all things beautiful. We will teach our daughters they are more than their bodies, but they are not hindered by their beauty. This strength has come from those before us, and will continue on to those after us.
Those bras weren’t burned for nothing. In fact, they weren’t burned at all.
But that’s a post for another day. Moving on.
Who Run The World? Girls.
We have evolved over time.
Not only emotionally but physically. Our eye muscles have strengthened from all of the eye rolls we have to do daily to process the misogynistic bull shit that freely flows in the world around us. We’ve honed these muscles to read texts from across the room, and to communicate telepathically with our best friends (which are practiced in the bathroom and is why we all go together). We roll our eyes at ignorant things we’ve become accustomed to hearing, such as:
- “You wear too much makeup”
- “You should try to wear some more makeup”
- “Try smiling more”
- “You’d look more respectable if you covered up a bit”
- “Just show a little bit more skin”
We take condescending and counterproductive comments about our appearance and shove our academic achievements in their face.
We’ve turned hateful slurs like “slut”, “whore”, and “bitch” into laughable pet names for one another that are casually dropped in greeting and yelled across campus quads in a lovable way.
Lewd cat calls on sweltering hot summer days aren’t appreciated, and are now met with manicured middle fingers raised high like our heads.
Boys pulling our pigtails isn’t a cute way to flirt, it’s an excuse to practice our right hook we learned watching Rhonda Rousey fight. The overemotional, delicate flower we were once portrayed as is an outdated and inaccurate gender stereotype. In 2012 US women outnumbered their male counterparts at the Olympics, proving that they are not lesser in any sense of the word and that strength can be defined in more than one way.
Not only are we strong, we kick ass. We put on our trendy and fashionable high heeled boots and we walk right by anyone who’s trying to stand in our way, especially down school hallways.
Educated, In Charge, and Breaking Stereotypes
Since the 1970’s the ratio of women to men enrolling in school has been on the incline for women, and in private universities women are surpassing the number of men enrolled and are politely inviting them to eat their dust.
Women are hungry for knowledge and are doing something about it.
Women’s increased involvement doesn’t end there. Single women voters are becoming political powerhouses, and are making a tangible difference with every ballot cast. No matter what party they belong to, unmarried women are a key demographic and one that candidates recognize the importance of.
That’s not where political involvement ends for them either. As the number of women holding political positions has increased as well. The House, Senate, Supreme Court, Congress, and the Office of the Mayor have gotten makeovers. They are changing everything they can and not being quiet about it.
CNN reported that about 14% of the military is made up of women. It’s no longer a figurative fight for freedom and rights, women are out there bravely and honorably fighting every day in every country and preserving the freedoms we already have.
At this point I’m surprised the term “glass ceiling” still exists, because it seems that we have shattered it time and time again.
Maybe a more fitting name would be “outdated and unfairly limiting glass shards that stand at the feet of women who have conquered literally everything”.
These roles that were once considered male specific are now the social norm for women to be involved with.
Women’s Rights Have Come A Long Way
Now I know what you’re thinking, “Sarah are you blind and also an idiot? Women still have so much to accomplish and so much is still unfair”.
Yes, I’m aware.
But it’s not at all helpful to sit and think of all that we have yet to accomplish. I shouldn’t say accomplish, instead I should say get recognition for doing but begrudgingly letting someone else have credit for.
Of course there is still so much more we need to set our sights on and set out to abolish and overcome. Although that should not inhibit us from appreciating all of the amazing progress made thus far.
This new wave of women knows they need to focus more on the rights of women of color, trans-gendered women, and queer and gay women. There needs to be a togetherness in this uphill battle we are working on every day. We need to help those in poverty, and those who aren’t fortunate enough to receive an education.
That’s what makes us a new wave, we are aware that the term woman is not limited to those born into it.
We know that not all men are against us, and even though we’re still fighting, every year a little girl is born into a world that will be kinder to her and that is what matters.
Focusing on how far we have come allows us to take things with a grain of salt. If we don’t stop to appreciate the women who have kicked ass before us, how will we know where to pick up where they left off?
About The Author – Sarah Giedl:
I’m a transplant to Portland by way of Idaho who loves incessantly sharing photos of my Pitbull, bottom shelf vodka and dark beer, and most importantly writing my honest thoughts. When I’m not studying for classes at Portland State I’m usually spending my money at Sephora or committing the words of a new Kanye West song to memory. I’ve accepted the fact that I will never be trendy or good at math but I make the world’s best grilled cheese.