Sixty years ago, women were seen as secretaries, nurses, teachers, nannies, and housekeepers. Now, look around. We have drastically changed our dispositions about women in the workforce and at home. But even after such a revelation, statistics just do not seem to correlate with our expectations. According to a recent study by Catalyst, women hold only 4.6 percent of Fortune 1000 CEO positions. Where did we go wrong? It starts at home. A girl? She will wear a pink dress. She will be docile. She will speak, eat, and walk like a lady. A boy? He will be strong. He will be athletic and intelligent. He will not cry or dare play with dolls. Sound familiar? The first stage is the parents. With the most influential power, they decide where you take your first steps. Growing up, gender bias gradually becomes passively accepted because it is a ubiquitous standard we were brought up on. Simply being female is already a setback. In a 2011 Gallup poll that asked Americans what they would prefer if they could have only one child, 40 percent said a boy and 28 percent said a girl. The sliver of difference that separates the two genders expands within in our colloquial conversations, throughout the media, and inside our own families.
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Dear Prince Charming, Where have you been? I search for your dazzling smile and witty charm in all the boys I meet. I look for your dreamy eyes and valiant nature, but you are nowhere to be found. The world around me tells me that I need you and that you will protect me and provide for me. The world tells me that you will love me for eternity. But we all know that these are huge expectations and it’s not really fair for me to want all of them. We girls always say that we want to be accepted for what we are. But we expect you boys to fit a certain criteria. We rely on the factor of love to drag us through life. But we all know that perfect love is non-existent. Love is really just what you make it. We love each other for the small things that make us different, not the things that make us like everyone else. A dazzling smile only goes so far. Sincerely, Not Looking
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Every once in a while, a song successfully molds me into who I really am, fixes me, and teaches me. I have acquired a hunger for live music. My first concert was very much like the first day of high school, except with students a whole lot older and a whole lot smellier than me. I was the new kid aching to be a social butterfly, while keeping to myself. When I bumped into someone, I would say, “I’m so sorry,” when they didn’t seem to care. The thing about hardcore and punk is that it gives you no choice but to feel free and act without restriction. Unlike the educational institutions I knew, it wouldn’t matter if you were a girl or boy, black or white, loud or quiet, or anywhere in between. We were all one. I saw members of the crowd lift their hands up, or sway, or cry. I saw the older men carry strangers as they crowd-surfed, making sure they made their way to the front without falling. I saw the singer on stage make direct eye contact with someone who really needed to know that he or she mattered. At that very moment, I knew that this is what I would live for. After that day, I found myself needing to feel infinite again. Each show was like someone telling me, “You’re going to be fine” or “You’re welcome here. We love you.” I made wonderful memories and found that I could fit in somewhere. It’s more than just music to me; it’s my life support. I couldn’t handle the dead silence that existed around me or the lifeless answers I was given. At the music venues, I learned more about myself than in therapy. I learned more about what my future would look like than I did at school. I learned what love could really be.
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Selfie. Look at me. This fake smile, It’s all you’ll see. Selfie. Look at me. Tell me please, It looks pretty. Selfie. Look at me. I need those likes, For my self-esteem. Selfie. Look at me. I took so many, Exactly 60. Selfie. Look at me. I tilt my head, Oh so perfectly. Selfie. Look at me. Look at me, I am a selfie.
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Click! “Ew! This photo is ugly!” Click! “This photo won’t get any likes.” These thoughts run through your head before you even take a picture. But is it worth it to appear perfect? What’s the point? History says that in 1839, a Philadelphia photographer named Robert Cornelius was the first person to take a selfie. His method was to remove the lens cap and run into the frame. Mind you, there was no such thing as a social network at that time, so why did he take a selfie if he couldn’t share it with everybody? His purpose was simply photographic innovation. Selfies can be fun until they hit another person’s eyes and someone starts to criticize the flaws in you, not the photo. When people say a photo is ugly, what they really mean is that your hair is not “done” or your facial expression looks “boring,” “stupid,” or “aggy.” Many teen girls are pressured into looking great before they take a selfie. They have to get their hair fixed, moisten their lips, and make sure they have good makeup. It’s all based on looks, but what about her personality? The song “#Selfie” by The Chainsmokers describes what many girls think before and after they take a selfie. “I only got 10 likes in the last 5 minutes/Do you think I should take it down? Let me take another selfie!” and “That girl is such a fake model/She definitely bought all her Instagram followers.” What caused them to think this way? Judgmental comments that people made about their appearance, of course. It’s a vicious cycle that selfies have caused in the modern day. She calls you ugly, and then you feel ugly, so then you want other people to feel ugly. Yeah, you get the picture. If you want to take a selfie, do it. Don’t let anyone stop you from posting a photo that you want to show the world.
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