Monday, 10 September 2012

21st Century Girl

This is something I wrote a year or so ago, but I thought I'd post it here.
Let me know if you think I should do more posts like this, coz I kinda like getting on my soap box every now and again ;)

What does it mean to be a young female living in the ever-changing 21st century world? How much have we progressed, and is it really that easy for a female to feel fulfilled now the world of options has been opened up to us?
What does it mean to even ‘be’ female?

We’re constantly surrounded by conflicting ideas; we must be beautiful and thin, but we must not show that we exercise or diet to achieve this. We must be intelligent and succeed academically, whilst spending every minute socialising or shopping. We must work towards a high paid career, because the 21st century is all about girl power. Just to add another small job to the never-ending list, we must find the perfect partner and get ready to start a perfect nucleur family.
How idealistic all of this is, with 24 hours in a day it obviously perfectly easy to fit all of this in…if we forget the prospect of sleep and make no time for meals (which works out well, because we must be thin.)
That previous is statement is, of course, packed with sarcasm. It isn’t at all possible to wake up one morning and suddenly have the ideal ‘plan of action’ to achieve all of the above ‘musts,’ unless you’re Carrie Bradshaw. I’ve watched Sex and the City (reluctantly, at first) and I have failed to pick up any tips on how to manage all the things she does, because unfortunately I don’t have the luxury of a script, nor do I have the ability to edit my life together.
Once I accepted the idea that it is not reasonable to expect all the pieces of my life to slot in together as perfectly as it is supposed to, it came down to the choices I must mistake about what is of most importance to me, and what can simply wait.
Being beautiful and thin? Neither come naturally to me; I dye my hair, wear make up, have a strange obsession with floral clothing and I am indeed guilty of calorie counting. So I suppose I’ve got half of this down, but there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to make sure my eyebrows are perfect each morning, that my hair is totally de-frizzed and I can’t really afford the plastic surgery to make myself thin or beautiful. Most importantly, the world will still go round no matter how I look- and this is something that must be understood if you can live with a semi-acceptance of your life.
Intelligent and succeed academically? I am a book-person, I am University student. Achieving academically is probably highest on my personal list, but then this may just be because I am lacking in the other areas. I do not, however, come from an academic background and I am not a naturally intelligent person. Yet again breaking the rule of ‘everything must be effortless.’ So, yes I have to work very hard to get where I want to be…leading me on to this next point.
Living a life of socialising and shopping? Don’t get me wrong, I love spending time with my friends. I fail in finding enjoyment from spending every night in a club, and spending every morning on line about how hungover I am. Don’t get me wrong, I like the odd glass of wine, but I am definitely more of a pub person. As long as I’m relaxed and in good company, I am happy. This usually finds me in the form of a coffee shop, a park, or a day out in London, a train back from a gig or a weekend away. As much as this, I equally enjoy spending my nights curled up with a book or a good movie…or even sat writing an essay and staying up until 4am making sure I’m happy with it. If I were to go out drinking every night, or going out for a rich meal in the evening, I would also lack the ‘beautiful and thin’ traits even more so than I already am.
A high paid career? I want to be a writer for a living…I’d hardly class this as high paid. Although for me, it would definitely be the most fulfilling. I can’t pretend that a high paid career wouldn’t at all appeal to me; because lets face it, to socialise to the maximum and to move forward on my hunt for beauty, I would need a lot more money than I currently possess.
And lastly, must I constantly be on the look out for my perfect man with the idea of my perfect family in mind? Since I was 12, this has always been something that I have been aware of. Again, this is an area that I fail in. I won’t lie and say it’s not something that I never think about, but as an incredibly guarded person, I am far more comfortable when focusing on my education than focusing on a guys arse. More to the point, I have a firm belief that this perfect family that we are supposed to create really doesn’t exist. Especially if, as a Mother, we are supposed to achieve all of the above. Unfortunately, I lack the super human powers that I would need to achieve all of this.
All of these ideas, they’re projected everywhere we go. Regardless of media, because that’s another topic for another time, I am surrounded by friends who feel the need to share all the details of their sex life with me- failing to recognise that I just don’t really care. (I feel it important to note, I am not prudish, I just don’t feel that sex= a pat on the back.) I live in a family where you’re either criticised for being too thin and eating too little, or you’re laughed at for gaining a bit of weight and upping you’re appetite. I meet others who seem to instantly succeed academically, whilst spending every night out with their friends, drinking yet still having perfectly clear skin.
I am an example of someone who fails to fulfill any of these moulds, I merely make a small imprint in each one rather than dedicating myself to one thing entirely. I’m not sure which choice would be viewed as more of a failure.
You know what I think? This is really, very okay
Feminism took place to give us more choices. The 21st century has almost caused the mentality of females to regress, feeling forced into being everything rather than nothing, or just one thing. A woman may be mocked because she chooses to settle down and become a house-wife, models are ridiculed for apparently lacking in intelligence, and if you’re not in a high paid career and/or on the front of a magazine cover, you just can’t be taken seriously.
Is that what ‘choice’ really means? What if a woman’s goal in life is to be a house wife, what is wrong with that? What if a woman doesn’t want this, what is wrong with that?
Sometimes, it truly feels as though we’re being forced into these boxes but being blinded into believing that these are the choices we’re making. Apparently, we’re happy to live this way- because nobody seems to be saying otherwise.  

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