"You Are Not Good Enough"
What defines us as women? -
Is it the social media pages that constantly dictate what we should look like? Is it our households that shape our self-perception? Maybe it's our job roles in the family and the workplace?
Either way, female identity has been a topic of conversation for decades, and the war against our bodies hasn’t helped our self-confidence.
When the world has convinced us that whoever you are isn’t who you should be, generations of women have become convinced that who they are and what they look like is simply not good enough, causing a self-confidence crisis in female identity.
A WOMEN’S VALUE
“Brains” or “beauty”.
Which one are you?
Because society has chosen that for a woman to be valued, she must prove to be worthy to the patriarch.
Simply existing, like male counterparts, isn’t enough to be good enough.
Beauty: appearance has been so engraved into the female culture, that “beauty” has become part of femininity itself.
Feminine women are often patronised. They are spoken over and treated in a manner that echo’s the misogynistic “sitting pretty” attitudes.
Comparably, women who identify with more masculine affinities are being told that they aren’t woman enough.
They are shunned with names like bossy, calculating, manish.
The world has decided that for women to be valued for their talents and intellect, they must reject their femininity.
It’s been over a century and women are still compromising their identity to appease the rest of the world.
I remember sending in a headshot for an event where I was a guest speaker.
I was told that it was too glam and wouldn’t be taken seriously.
Instead, I swapped my straight hair for a bun and my dress for a suit.
“you look a bit intimidating, but this one’s a lot better”.
A prime example of how women just can’t win.
Inspirational congresswoman Alexandria Ocassio Cortez spoke on the subject while addressing the criticisms she received on wearing her iconic red lipstick.
During an interview with VOGUE magazine she stated:
“first of all, femininity has power, and in politics, there is so much criticism and nit-picking about how women and femme people present ourselves. Just being a woman is quite politicised here in Washington…. There’s this really false idea that if you care about make-up or if you care, if your interests are in beauty and fashion, that that’s somehow frivolous.”
Strength, intellect, and independence are not the opposite of femininity.
A women’s value isn’t determined by whichever label others have placed upon her.
NOT LIKE OTHER GIRLS
The #LikeAGirl campaign ran by always also showcases a general attitude towards women and ability.
The campaign highlights how the phrase “like a girl” resonates with characteristics of being weak, bratty, bothered about appearance more than the task, and over-all less capable. While the campaign was launched in 2014, the same ideologies are re-surfacing through the modern gen z culture.
The “not like other girls” and the “pick me girl” attitude mimics the ideology of feminine women being the opposite of strong and intelligent. Furthermore, highlighting a desperate attempt by young girls to reject societies depiction of what a girl should look and act like.
Here are some examples of the issues being raised through popular TikToks:
165.5k likes on the post
187.7k likes on the post
29.4k likes on the post
Years of degrading women have resulted in feminine attributes also being regarded as degrading.
The trope is again showcased through the 10-part comic illustrated and created by Julie hang in 2019.
The post has 507,696+ likes and 3,844 comments.
While more millennials and Gen z youths are attempting to dismantle societies obsession with labels, boxes, and external expectations, there is still a lasting effect of the abundance of pressures that women face.
This constant criticism about female identity is likely a contributing factor to the lack of confidence and self-esteem in women and girls.
74% of girls say they are under pressure to please everyone (Girls Inc, The Supergirl Dilemma).
And women’s confidence declines (yes, declines) with experience: 27% of new female employees are confident they can reach top management; this drops to 13% in experienced female employees.
The “never being good enough” aspect of womanhood is following young girls through their careers.
In 2011, the Institute of Leadership and Management, in the United Kingdom, surveyed British managers about how confident they feel in their professions. Half the female respondents reported self-doubt about their job performance and careers, compared with fewer than a third of male respondents.
Many of us measure confidence in the ability to present ideas clearly and with conviction but often forget about self-confidence.
Imposter syndrome, self-doubt, and overthinking isn’t addressed in the “6 ways to be confident” lists yet is experienced more commonly than expected, especially amongst women and girls.
We can encourage women to trust our intuition and decision making by eradicating this constant requirement of having to prove ourselves.
So, to all the different women out there:
You are good enough.
Start believing it.
Remsha Asif, Cohort 28, Junior Content Executive at Lightbulb Media