I bet you’re well acquainted with all of those inspirational Pinterest quotes and Instagrams blowing up your feed about how to be a “brave woman” and that tell you to “never settle” in beautiful calligraphy laid out over a filtered sunset. I bet you see one after another and another and another personal essay or (god FORBID) listicle cluttering up your Facebook feed telling you how you “run the world” and how you’re “strong as hell” perfectly captioned and framed with a Shutterstock image of a girl laughing.
I bet you’re fully familiar with how you’re supposed to be an independent, confident, never settling down or for less than what you TOTALLY deserve female. I bet you’ve got it. You have heard the message, you have nodded in solidarity, you have liked and Retweeted until your fingers gave out.
And you know what? I’m here to tell you one thing, and one thing only.
None of that fucking matters.
Really. Like seriously. Absolutely none of it matters. Sure, word art is fun sometimes (especially when you’re decorating your bathroom) and inspirational quotes make you smile from time to time when you’re absentmindedly scrolling through the interwebs. Maybe a reminder that you’re a badass bitch or can do anything you put your mind to (because you are and you can) is nice — sure. I can roll with that. I DO roll with that.
But there is a connotation behind a lot of that Pin-spirational Porn that I simply cannot get behind, and I hope you can shrug off too.
And that’s that there is a “right” way to be a woman.
See, the problem with these messages and visuals that keep flying at our faces every day is that frankly, they’re no better than the Maybelline ads telling us what we aren’t born with. They are just as influential and, potentially, just as damaging as something telling us to stick out our chests in a Bombshell Bra or telling us we’re only “worth it” if we dye our hair with L’Oreal. And that’s because even these supposed feminist rants that are supposed to be uplifting are in fact telling us that there is a correct way, and a less than correct way to conduct ourselves, carry ourselves, and ultimately look at ourselves as a woman.
They are telling us that there is only one way to woman, and it’s their way.
And that, my fellow women, is bullshit.
It is bull with a capitol B for breasts bullshit.
And I for one, have had it.
I’m tired of being told that by not traveling alone across a desert I’m not brave and that by not getting a degree I don’t need I’m giving up on myself. I’m tired of being told that by not waiting for someone who sweeps me off my feet I’m settling and that by not chasing a dream that’s not feasibly obtainable or financially responsible I’m limiting myself.
I’m over being told that my practicality is boring and that my realistic outlook is damaging. That my sense of contentment with myself is loneliness in disguise but that my fear of dying alone is anti-feminist. That wanting kids is giving into societal pressures but NOT wanting them is failing at fulfilling some sort of duty to myself and the world.
You guys (girls? whatever.) it’s fucking exhausting. And I’m done trying to keep up.
Because you know what’s actually damaging?
Telling other women how to live their lives simply because it doesn’t align with how you’ve chosen to live your own.
Maybe you’re a virgin but someone else practices polyamory and multiple partners. That’s DOPE. Maybe you’re a stay at home mom and someone else has had their tubes tied at 28 because they’re certain they don’t want kids. That’s AWESOME. Maybe you’re a woman who works 60 hours a week and someone else is choosing to go through all of Southeast Asia with nothing but a smartphone and a backpack. I applaud you both.
And I applaud you both not ONLY because you’re ladies, but because you are ladies who are doing what feels right for YOU.
See, inspirational quotes are great. Inspirational articles are great. But they’re only great if they don’t make you feel bad about or make you question the life that you’ve chosen to live. Choosing something is not synonymous with settling. Taking a different path is not the same as limiting yourself. And living a different life than someone who looks completely opposite to you does not make you a bad woman.
Because, at the end of the day, it’s nobody’s life but your own.
So be whatever kind of woman you want to be.
Because I think she’s pretty quotable, pretty badass, and absolutely worth writing about.
Who run the world? You.
So don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.