Being a woman isn’t easy — period.
Even if you exclude all of the larger inequalities and injustices women face, society still expects us to behave in a ‘certain’ way on a daily basis. A way that fits into this tiny, pink, glittery narrow box that is often labelled feminine. The box that tells us that because of that damn X chromosome, we must always be polite, nurturing, kind and quiet — basically, all of the passive traits.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with being passive, but we know better, we know we have more options. And it’s 2018, so it’s about time we got rid of this bollocks.
If you’ve been conditioned to avoid your basic instincts all of your life to ensure you’re always acting ‘like a lady’, it can be difficult to know where to start on your journey to badass feminist.
It’s obviously not going to happen overnight, but remember, it also doesn’t need to be revolutionary. There are small and simple steps you can take to reclaim your independence and become the strong, sassy woman you were born to be.
Here are just a few of my faves.
Go to the toilet by yourself
This is one of the biggest clichés thrown around by men when describing women and, it is kinda true — women do travel to the toilet in packs. Personally, I don’t because I pee way too much to expect a friend to assist me every time and also, I’ve never understood why.
If you’re guilty of this and it isn’t for safety reasons, I say ditch the gaggle of girls and head to the toilet all by yourself! You can pee for as long as you want and if you need a shit, you’ll no longer need to make up any excuses for why your drunk friend should leave the cubicle you’re sharing.
Refuse to shrink yourself
Isn’t it weird how women are expected to lose weight and men are expected to gain muscle? It’s almost as if society wants women to be as small as possible and not take up room ‘reserved’ for men.
No, I’m not spouting ‘feminist bullshit’ (whatever that is), studies have shown that men will take up 75% of the conversation in the boardroom, but this trend also echoes into all areas of our society and the message is clear — women must shrink themselves to make room for men.
Well, don’t. Don’t lose weight if you don’t want to. Don’t lower your voice because you’re ‘making a scene’. Don’t sit down while everyone else is standing.
You are entitled to as much space as anyone else in the world, so don’t forget to remind people of that when they try to ‘put you in your place’. (I’m aware I’m using a lot of quotation marks, get off my back.)
Stop waiting for others to go first
I see this so often. Women letting other people go ahead, for no other reason than because of some impatient wanker who thinks they’re entitled to your space (refer to the point above).
Be unapologetically ruthless. Take the empty seat on the train, speak up when someone pushes in front, refuse to be barged out of the way.
I am 5″3 and people are often shocked that I stand my ground when they trying to move me out of their way. Just because I’m a short, young, woman doesn’t mean I’m less important. Plus, I was here first.
Don’t back down
Similarly, when you find yourself in a heated conversation where someone is clearly expecting you to take back what you said or even apologise — don’t. If you genuinely believe in what you’re saying then go right ahead and say it.
Obvz don’t be a dick about things, but too often women are talked down at and made to think that their thoughts and feelings are only valid if someone else agrees with them.
Confrontation is never great, but if it means you get your voice heard then it’s worth it.
Ask for what you want
I am so guilty of dancing around the point when I’m asking for something. I always worry that I’m going to be an inconvenience so I make the request as polite as possible which is so fucking passive and I am vowing to stop this.
When you need to ask for something, just ask. Be confident and be clear otherwise you’ll either end up not getting it or having to compromise.
What do you do to be a strong, independent woman? Let me know in the comments or tweet me @amyjmcdonnell 🐦