BERKELEY'S NEWS • SEPTEMBER 27, 2022

Challenging stereotypes: Embrace whatever kind of woman you are

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MARCH 08, 2021

It feels like a simple idea that a woman should be able to be whomever or whatever they want to be, especially in today’s world where women and gender-nonconforming people continue to push the boundaries and redefine what a “woman” is. Yet, now more than ever, I feel pressure from all around me to be a certain kind of woman, and it all contradicts itself. Even internally, my idea of what kind of woman I am never seems to fully match up. I experience this weird tension of wanting to push and help to redefine a woman’s role in society and also succumbing to some of society’s expectations of me. For me, it boils down to two more generalized conflicting issues: housewife vs. feminist and mom vs. working professional. 

All of these roles can 100% be mixed and there’s a different scale for every woman and gender-nonconforming person, but I constantly feel pulled between them. In one way I’m a super feminist — I try to fight for women’s rights and to redefine roles within straight female-male relationships. Why should I have to make dinner while my boyfriend does his homework? Why am I the one who always ends up cleaning? But at the same time, my type-A personality makes it so that I love to cook and organize and be in charge. The outcome is this weird conflict I’m not sure that can ever be fully resolved. I want to fight these stereotypes but I also find myself embracing them.

I also feel this tension when planning my future and my career. Men don’t seem to have to worry as much about their career in terms of being a parent. Conversely, I know I’ll have to take maternity leave and create a full-on human life if I want to be a parent and it will almost certainly have to interfere with my career. I hate that this is something that only women seem to have to deal with, but I’m also beyond excited to be a mom and have kids. So again, I experience the strange pull of wanting to fight for some kind of equality, yet I embrace and am excited for those aspects of motherhood.

Again, this may not be applicable to all women, but to me, it feels like it’s impossible to be a woman correctly these days. Even internally, I fight myself on who I am vs. who I should be. From this internal and external battle, here is my advice to my ladies and gender non-conforming folks feeling similarly: 

Firstly, stop caring about what other people think you should be. I get it — it’s not easy. Some women claim I’m not enough of a feminist and I need to be doing more to help fight gender roles. Others claim I’m too feminist, I need to accept my role as a mom or housewife in society and let go of wanting to pursue a career. You’re never going to please everyone, so stop trying to (yes I’m talking to myself too!). 

And secondly, stop being so hard on yourself. It’s okay to be in between and not fit any of these categories of what a woman should be. It’s okay to be a mega-feminist who wants full equality and still wants to take care of their partner or to be a stay-at-home mom. All that you need to care about is that you as a woman can be whoever the heck you want to be and you do not need to have it all figured out!

This International Women’s Day don’t let anyone, even yourself, try to define who you are as a woman! Celebrate all the amazing aspects of your womanhood — whatever they might or might not be!

Contact Jackie Amendola at 

LAST UPDATED

MARCH 08, 2021


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