It’s an almost-fact that being a woman is difficult. For one, people are more critical of the ladies. They’re expected to not make any mistakes. It seems like a given, too, that women should not deviate from gender norms. Worse, they’re treated as second-class citizens – inferior and incapable on their own.
These assumptions spewed around as the truth, however, are not only unfair, they’re flat out false, too. While we’re not shocked every time there’s an attempt to judge, underestimate, or disregard a woman, we feel the need to bust myths surrounding women once and for all. Take a look at our list:
1. Women wear makeup for others.
Many people think that women wear makeup to impress men or to compete with other girls. For women, however, makeup is more than skin deep. It’s a form of self-expression and empowerment. It can also be a serious hobby or even a professional pursuit. As Project Vanity Founder Liz Lanuzo puts it, “Makeup empowers us to speak out, without words, even if it only involves red lipstick. It inspires us to literally be more by arming ourselves with confidence on days when it’s absent.” Superficial, you say? That’s so yesterday.
2. Women are not good at Math and Science.
The widespread belief that women do not excel in Math and Science is simply not true. In fact, studies have repeatedly shown that girls outperform boys in academics overall. Researchers did mention low expectations among parents and teachers, the girls’ lack of confidence as well as the ability to “think like a scientist” as the causes of worse results in both subjects. As the researchers at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development explained it, “…this gender difference in the ability to think like a scientist may be related to students’ self-confidence. When students are more self-confident, they give themselves the freedom to fail, to engage in the trial-and-error processes that are fundamental to acquiring knowledge in mathematics and science.” Instead of dismissing a girl’s low mark in Math and Science, encourage them to consider careers involving subjects such as engineering. It shouldn’t be difficult to tell them that they can solve problems just as well as the boys because the truth is, they can.
3. Women are weak.
Women, since the ancient times, have been regarded as somewhat inferior in (physical) strength. There is some truth to that, especially if we say, pit a man and a woman to do the as many push-ups as they can in under a minute. However, a study has revealed that women survive better than men even as infants under harsh conditions like famines, epidemics and enslavement. Hormonal differences further explain the gender mortality gap. “Estrogens, found in larger quantities in women, have anti-inflammatory effects whereas testosterone, found in larger amounts in men, may actually suppress the immune system,” lead author and Professor Virginia Zarulli said. Now, that is some girl power.
4. Women want marriage and children.
Womanhood is not synonymous to motherhood, at least according to recent studies. Birth rates among women in their twenties decreased by 15 percent between 2007 and 2012. One in five women also enter menopause without children. Ultimately, marriage and giving birth to children is a choice, not a requirement. Not every woman wants to settles down and nurture a family of their own – and that’s okay. It shouldn’t be a source of shame and it shouldn’t be a ticket to pick on someone else’s life. Whether women are waiting for the right person at the right time or simply fulfilling their career ambitions first, they should be given the freedom of choice they rightfully deserve. The line, “Oh, you’ll change your mind in the future,” is not for anyone else to say.
5. Women “asked for it.”
Every time a girl claims she was sexually harassed, fingers are pointed at her and not the violators. It’s the girl that needs to prove that she did not misinterpret what happened. It’s also her task to corroborate, to describe what she was wearing, and to explain her behavior at the time of the incident. Victims in denial are denied of sympathy and justice. Victims – who feel hopeless and helpless – are not given the hope and help they need. Survivors – who feel shame yet muster up the courage to come forward – are humiliated (even in courts) instead of assisted. Women don’t “ask for it” – to be violated, to be abused, and to be dehumanized. The “What were you wearing on that day?” exhibit at a museum in Molenbeek, Brussels even put on display the clothes worn by victims of sexual harassment.