Growing up in America, I was raised to follow a set of unwritten rules that society abided by. They weren’t laws, so it’s not like you would get arrested or fined if you ‘broke’ a rule per se, but you were certainly looked at in a negative light if you did. As I grew older and truly embraced a mind of my own, I questioned why some of our societal norms and beliefs were alive, particularly the ones that do no harm onto others. I understand and believe that laws are needed to maintain limited chaos and a successful society, but I don’t understand why we need the following unwritten, sometimes unspoken rules that further mandate our choices, and way in which we lead our lives.
1. No tattoos if you want that job.
There is a huge difference between having every square inch of your body covered in graphic, profane tattoos, and having a few tattoos on your arms and legs. Who decided it was not socially acceptable in the workplace to have a tattoo of a flower on your shoulder? Deciding to permanently draw on your body doesn’t lower your IQ, but it does decrease your chances of landing a job. There are plenty of highly intelligent, responsible individuals in the world that would be kick-ass employees or bosses, but aren’t hired because they have a small tattoo on their wrist. No harm is done when you see the word ‘love’ tattooed on someone else’s forefinger.
2. If you’re the guy in a heterosexual relationship, you have to text her first.
Given, this norm is becoming more and more malleable as time goes on, but it by no means is extinct. If you are very well aware that both you and another person want to start ‘seeing’ each other, does it really matter who initiates it during the beginning stages? There’s a difference between a person texting another to make plans first, and only one person initiating plans through out an entire relationship.
3. You’re not as smart if you attend community college.
I can’t imagine how many smart individuals are forced into attending community college because they can’t afford a “real” school. Community college IS real school, too! I took some classes through a community college during high school to earn some cheaper credits, which lead me to believe the level of difficulty should be measured more so pertaining to each subject, and not by where you’re learning the information.
4. If a girl hooks up with a lot of guys she’s a slut, but if a guy hooks up with a lot of girls, he’s the man.
I don’t get it. You want it. I want it. So, why are girls more harshly judged for wanting and doing the same thing boys are? From boys, we hear “we don’t want to settle down with a girl who’s been in the hands of many other guys”, yet you’re the one’s who keep passing her around! And that’s just slut shaming from the male perspective. What about from other females? There’s sometimes a hint of jealousy when a girl calls another girl a slut. Jealously as in, I wish I were her right now. Remind me why we slut shame when we’ve most likely acted the same way ‘the slut’ has?
5. Being fashionably late.
Fashionably late – fashionably = late = rude. Since when does it make you look better arriving a little bit later than everyone else? There’s nothing wrong with craving a little attention, and actually, I find it quite normal. But why search for it in easy ways like coming in late so everyone is forced to turn around and stare at you?
6. Having the nuclear family.
As a child, I remember hearing “your sister is your best friend”, and “treat people the way you want to be treated”. I also remember hearing things like “Stefanie, you’re going to grow up and marry a nice, Jewish boy”. Sorry to disappoint, fam, but I couldn’t care any less to marry a nice Jewish boy. Actually, I couldn’t care any less if I get married at all! What if marriage is just not something everyone wants? What’s the point of getting married to someone because society tells you to get a move on making a family by the age of 30? If I happened to get married, so be it. If not, it’s not causing you any harm. If anything, I’m saving you money on Hanukkah presents. Besides, there are plenty of children currently in the world that need a home. If you’re willing and able to adopt a child and provide them with a healthy lifestyle that doesn’t affect their quality of life, is marriage a necessity?
7. Having to wear a bra.
We didn’t start on Earth with a bra, and we don’t need one now. My theory is that we wear them because we’re taught boobs look better in a bra. I don’t know.
8. Chicken fingers are juvenile.
Chicken fingers are great when you’re 4 years old, and 19 years old. I’d imagine they’re great after that as well, but I haven’t gotten there yet. Why is this food deemed for children? If I ever decide to get married, you can bet your ass I’ll have chicken fingers at my wedding.
9. Women should be thin, yet real women are curvy.
You can’t help the body type you were given. Far and few between are thin with the ‘perfect’ hourglass figure. There’s a difference between maintaining a healthy, normal weight, and not being the thinnest person around because you’re loading up on tons of junk food. Our society is currently into this fad where girls are obsessed with thigh gaps and being as thin as possible, without being anorexic. The unwritten rule of attempting to be as skinny as humanly possible is not normal. Maintaining a healthy weight IS normal.
10. Losing your virginity is a big deal.
Coming from someone who isn’t religious, I don’t see why this first is exponentially more special than another first. Do I think your virginity is something to completely throw away? Absolutely not. But I don’t think it needs to be with someone you love. Maybe just with someone you like. You’re not dirty or unworthy of anyone else’s respect if you don’t lose your virginity accordingly to society’s unwritten rules.
11. Real men wear pink.
This stems back to when babies rooms are either painted blue for a boy or pink for a girl. Why do we create a social construct around the idea that blue is more masculine and boys that wear pink are either being bold or are gay? If a guy likes pink, that means he likes pink. I like yellow. If we followed the baby-painting-room rules, I would be gender neutral. I acknowledge and respect those who label themselves as gender neutral, but I am not one of those people. I’m just a girl whose favorite color is yellow, and finds nothing off putting about a boy wearing pink.