Trying too hard or being yourself?
Embracing one’s individuality is a freedom that everyone should be entitled too; yet in many instances, many are judged for being themselves and exhibiting their individuality.
In the 21st century, it has been a common theme in society to oppress those who differ from the crowd. Some may agree that women, unfortunately, bear the brunt of this judgement; the old-fashioned view that ‘respectable’ women must be covered and reserved, is a stigma that has not been able to escape from the prejudices of society since the dawn of modern civilisation. This notion formally dates back to eras even before the Elizabethan era, where, for women to acquire husbands, they must dress and act a certain way – along with the superiority of their background which would determine their rank within society.
Yet I question why this notion, though much less intense, is still acknowledged and implemented within our society. Why is it that young girls are being sexually harassed, assaulted and even raped because of their choice of wear? WHY is it that names like ‘slut’, ‘whore’, etc. are still deemed acceptable to be plastered over Instagram posts and social media? Why is it that girls endeavour to bring each other down in front of their male counter-parts, in order to be viewed as ‘superior’?
These are the questions that should be acknowledged, for without them, young girls will continue to be judged in accordance with what they wear – which isn’t acceptable.
Yet it is also imperative to understand that this degrading narrative within society also permeates men and young boy’s lives also – for this hyper-masculine ideology hurts those who wish not to adhere to this prescribed ‘normality’. It is clear that if a man or boy acts in a way deemed ‘too feminine’ or against what is considered ‘manly’, they are ridiculed – numerous names are called, some which end up hurting them in ways one cannot comprehend. Likewise, the fashion sense of man can determine how they are categorized within society – this judgemental ideology simply needs to stop, there are too many cases of young boys and girls hurting themselves and others on the basis of what ‘society’ says.
Perhaps the most popular series at the moment which thoroughly relates to the actions of others and the treatment of women is the Netflix Originals show, ’13 reasons why’. When finishing this series, it made me understand the affect my actions can have on others; and with this show, I hope that many realise the impact of their insults, the impacts of sexual assault and how it can change someone’s life forever.
It is hard to change widely understood concept that is so deeply engrained in western society, yet the simple acknowledgement that no means no, and that young girls shouldn’t be objectified for what they wear – is certainly a good starting point.
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