My reflection for International Women’s Day: perfectionism and people-pleasing are the next battlefronts in the fight for gender equality.
Our foremothers had to fight the most egregious and overt forms of sexism.
That doesn’t mean it’s gone.
The women of our generation face a subtler battle: fighting the internalized expectations that still hold us back from our full potential.
Most of us were socialized to be perfect, small, quiet, easygoing, and polite at all costs. Don’t talk back. Don’t make a scene. Don’t ruffle any feathers. Apologize profusely if someone ruffles yours, and then send them flowers and a thank you card just to make extra sure they’re not mad at you for noticing their inappropriate behavior.
When these expectations silently rule our every decision from inside our own heads, external structures of repression aren’t even necessary: we keep ourselves in line so nobody else has to be bothered.
Ladies, there’s a lot of horrible shit going on in the world to be angry about. We can also make it better. Doing that will require getting our hands dirty, making some mistakes, getting loud, and pissing off some people.
What would it look like if you stopped channeling your formidable power and intellect into being perfect and soothing everyone else’s egos (and pretending you’re a-ok)?
What would it look like if you allowed yourself to get messy and mad and loud about something that matters?