Welcome to the first column of 2018 for Do Tell, Michelle!
I want to start the New Year with somewhat of a different post. Most my columns have given you answers, solutions, conclusions, but for this one, I just want to contemplate something: what it means to be a woman.
We are all given so many rules to obey and conditions we must meet in order to fulfill our duty as women, whether it’s what to wear, how to act or what to say. Men are given just as many rules, but often less appearance-based ones. Ultimately, these are rules that are disguised as social normalities fulfill one purpose: for us to conform.
So why then do we praise those who don’t? I’ve just been watching a documentary on Adele and everything she was praised for was for being different. So much of the documentary revolved around her appearance and how, without saying anything, she refuses to conform to the need for thinness. She's praised for her brashness. She's praised for her lack of theatrics and costume.
In essence, we have a society that encourages rules, conformity, and sameness, but then rewards those that buck all of this? So are all these rules all a test? Are they just a challenge that we must overcome in order to deserve success.
It's not just us. Even the people in our lives have believed the opposite. They've been taught to believe that if you abide enough to these norms, that you'll achieve happiness. This means often through your youth, parents will reiterate these rules all under the guise of safety. It’s safer to not be shamed as a parent for differing from the crowd. It’s safer for your child to be the norm for fear that they may be bullied. But is it those who dare not to be safe that truly prosper?
Or maybe none of it really matters at all and I’m making something out of nothing, because as I write this I'm 35,000 feet in the air and five hours into a six-hour flight (which I thought was only four) and am slightly losing the will to live. Excuse my dramatics, I hate flying.
Until next month,