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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

OPINION: Let women be women

Kali+Waechter+%28left%29%2C+Stephanie+Garcia+%28center%29+and+Michelle+Ochoa+%28right%29+protest+abortion+bans+in+front+of+33+North+Stone+Ave.+Saturday%2C+Oct.+2%2C+2021%2C+in+Tucson.+The+Rally+for+Abortion+Justice+took+place+in+Armory+Park.
Caitlin Claypool

Kali Waechter (left), Stephanie Garcia (center) and Michelle Ochoa (right) protest abortion bans in front of 33 North Stone Ave. Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021, in Tucson. The “Rally for Abortion Justice” took place in Armory Park.

For a long time, women were regarded as soft, weak and delicate. Their value was in looking pretty. They were meant to have children, cook, clean, sew, take care of children and be silent. To be seen and not heard. 

Women’s rights have progressed monumentally, and Women’s History Month is a celebration of all of the important ways that women have contributed and continue to contribute to society; but, even today, women — girls especially — are berated left and right for their every like and dislike, from trends and fashion to popular culture. 

The Humanist’s Margie Delao breaks down the four major waves of feminism simply: the first wave — that of icon Susan B. Anthony and the suffragettes, brought women the right to vote in 1920. The second wave, in the mid-to-late twentieth century, sought to conquer the wage gap and reproductive rights (though it ignored other inequalities, like racial discrimination and class differences) and the third wave in the 1990s broke down the barrier of “femininity” as a whole and not only redefined the term, but even rejected it outright. 

The latest wave of feminism, the fourth wave that we’re riding right now, brought with it the #MeToo movement, brought down abusers of the past and began to challenge sex and gender norms. This feminism looks radically different than Susan B. Anthony’s stiff-collared crusade for voting rights, but it’s still important. 

With all these waves of feminism and the definition of the word itself as ever changing as the tide, what makes a woman a woman has changed.

RELATED: OPINION: Women are caught in the middle of evolving beauty standards 

Sometimes women wear big baggy pants and giant t-shirts, sometimes they wear tight, figure-bearing athletic clothes and sometimes they wear soft fairy-like skirts. They’re still a woman through it all. So why can’t we as a society stop berating them every step of the way? 

Girls have always been made fun of for every fashion and culture trend. 

As a teenager in the mid 2010s, I was made fun of for wearing pastel jeans and high-waisted shorts. As a teenager today, my sister’s friends get made fun of for wearing baggy jeans, also skinny jeans and also for wearing pants that aren’t jeans (never my sister, though. She has an attitude that could make a full-grown man in a biker gang cry).

I’ve written before about how music trends are often made fun of because girls listen to it. The “VSCO girl” trend, with its scrunchies and Hydroflasks and reusable straws, rose to popularity and then was immediately tanked by people making fun of it. There are so many things in this world that are demeaned by society because girls like it.

The list goes on and on. Taylor Swift, Starbucks, scrunchies, boy bands, tumblers with straws, sororities, gel pens, Birkenstocks … shall I continue? 

I think that it’s important to let people enjoy things so long as it is in a way that does not harm anyone. That applies to everyone, regardless of gender. We need to stop ridiculing people for what they like, even if it’s something that may seem “weird” to us.

RELATED: OPINION: The University of Arizona needs to stand in support of the Equal Rights Amendment

I do think, however, that it is especially prominent that girls take the biggest brunt of ridiculing, because girls just can’t win.

You’re a girl, and you like the color pink, drink Starbucks and drive a Jeep? How basic. Embarrassing.

You’re a girl, and you like wearing athletic clothes, play sports and don’t wear makeup? You’re a “pick me” girl. Embarrassing. 

You’re a girl, and you like wearing oversized men’s clothes, read books and stay in on the weekends? Boring. Embarrassing.

It seems like our society has no right answer for what a woman should wear or do or like, so I’m here to say that they are all right. We are all women, regardless of our appearance or our likes and dislikes. 

We have to stop letting other people define us and categorize us, and instead learn to accept ourselves as who we are, even if that identity slides from one end of the spectrum to the next every single day. 

There are so many ways to be a woman and only you can decide what the right way is for you. Enjoy women’s history month this March and celebrate all the women in your life, including yourself. This one’s for the girls. 


Follow Amanda Betz on Twitter


Mandy (she/her) is a senior studying journalism and public relations. She spends her free time shopping, writing and hanging with friends.

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