As I sit here this morning, the same question that has pounded through my head for the longest time comes to my mind again. Has my story already been written?
Just look at the stuff around you. The movies, music. Most pop culture preaches what the typical life of a female and male ought to be. Messages and society will have its stories for us to eventually fulfill. These stories normally include career, marriage, children, buying a house, and constructing a picket fence within a distinct timeframe. The plots of the story exist before we breathe. This is by no means a bad story, its actually a really good one. But the question is, how close will we stick to the plot? Will be personalize it a bit, without pressure. Will we make it our story?
As a female in my mid-twenties, I am hit, daily, by my surroundings, North American expectations, what the news says, what people say. Say say say. Perhaps I’m just naive, and “growing up” as my grandmother and mother would say, but as stubborn as I may be, I have some questions about this story.
Every day, every hour, every minute, ever second, every city, I challenge you to look around and objectively identify the messages to females’ and males of all ages. I promise you will find something. I may be merely stating the obvious, but I think that it is an experience that you owe to yourself. It is to be experienced by (what I would argue only females) but males, as well, as we are both victims of the “machine”. Find and experience these messages onto you, regardless of your beliefs, your ideas toward gender, whether your conservative, or liberal, it doesn’t matter. What is society telling you to do?
Reminder: This is a question not to get caught up in rationalizing what the message means, instead to experience these messages. By simply observing, that is all you have to do.
For example, today I watched a commercial for Wal-Mart. In the commercial, children are getting ready to go back to school. However, only mothers were present in these children’s lives. No fathers were there to go shopping with their kids for going back to school. Instead of being frustrated with the message and its emphasis on the active mother role in a child’s lives, I was sad because father’s apparently don’t have a role in helping their children go back to school. At least that is the message that was projected in the commercial. Another message I found was when I was walking past two construction sites and not one female was visible on these sites.
Many feminists and people in gender studies would argue that these situations have to change. Although I am a huge advocate for change, I believe it is actually more a time to observe and experience. If we don’t know why this is still happening, our stories will keep being written. By collecting these observations and collecting the “data”, it is then the root can be traced and thus create a platform for “change”. I want to argue this is not ‘feminism’, instead it is ‘equalism’ because females are no longer the sole gender that is victim to society’s pre-written stories. Male’s are also subject to being pre-written.
Find the messages and allow yourself to react to the messages, you won’t hurt anybody but help yourself and help you write your own story so its not someone/something else’s.