Dating is…a chance to sell yourself. The self that you currently are or the possibilities of what you could be. You put forward your best face and act like the girl you think the guy will want to be around. What’s concerning is that so often girls can feel like they need to present a convoluted mix of a modern 21st century feminist mixed with a 1950’s domesticated goddess.
Have you ever:
- Felt the need to advertise that you can cook and will be able to take care of your man;
- Or on the flip side, felt like you have to defend why you can’t cook? Does it leave you feeling panicked as you look across the cafe table at your date and wonder if he is judging your lack of basic feminine skills?
- Felt pressured to touch and coo over every little human being that crosses your path just because you have a vagina but you would rather have a metre clearance from anything that dribbles or tells you boring year 5 stories.
- Accidentally said you aren’t ready for kids and then panicked because you think, that he now thinks, you’re against kids. You make up for it by stating that you definitely want kids in the future. The conversation moves on to something else. You pretend to nod at whatever he is saying but a little voice in the back of your head starts whispering to you. It reminds you that you haven’t made a decision as to whether kids are definitely something you want in your life and you feel crap for not being able to honestly communicate that.
- Felt pressured not to discuss sex, other men, kissing or anything too sensual or sexual in case you look like you come across as a whore. God forbid he realises you might have popped that cherry.
- Refrained from recounting stories where you could come across as mean, aggressive, having a temper or anger because your worry he will stop perceiving you as a ‘nice girl’?
- Realised that you may not want to get married. That you are happy if it could go either way and that a life without a husband could be equal to a life with one? You are walking down the street when you say this aloud to your date and then wonder if he won’t text you again because you assume that he will consider spending anymore time with you a waste.
It’s 2017 and girls are still growing up with this mental pressure of needing to be that stereotypical woman. Wouldn’t it be nice if girls grew up feeling like they could choose their own path and there would be no backlash. There are so many influences on a little girl as they grow up that start laying that foundation of a traditional life plan. Many women will make choices that conform to this lifestyle but it may not have ever been what they actually desired for their life. Think of the stories you were entertained with as a young girl and what they taught you about what a woman does in society, think of the comments your family made to you, “just you wait till you have your own family”, your school environment or the teachings of your religion. Does the Christian Sunday morning sermon of “finding a man of god, who will be the head of the family” ring a bell for anyone? This is by no means saying you shouldn’t know how to cook or deny a love for the idea of marriage and children, but it notes the feeling that a woman can’t choose a life outside the “norm”.
Maybe the solution is understanding that the permission to live life the way you want starts with yourself. Take time to become aware of the beliefs you have running through your mind. Choose which ones you want to keep and which ones you no longer want defining your life. It’s going on a date and coming home and reflecting on those moments where you felt you weren’t being true to yourself. If it’s to be married with three kids and be able to whip up a home cooked meal every night, great. If it’s to be single, have a partner and order from menu log most nights of the week, then that’s okay as well. It’s choosing that in the future you will be brave enough to be comfortable with your beliefs and to assertively align your words and behaviour with them.