I am not a perfect woman, and far from it. But in case you’re looking for her, society has a distinct blueprint.
I’m going to try not to get too emotional while writing this, as I am not the ideal mother or the perfect woman.
I am deeply flawed and far from the female, bragged about in Proverbs 31 (It’s a book in the Christian Bible which explains what the perfect woman should be). Yeah, this is not me!
Society has placed pressures on women. They must be great mothers, excellent workers, if they decide to work, which is not preferred by society, to be honest, and sexy as well. Yes, I said the “s” word, because I need you to understand how important society thinks it is to do the impossible and look good in the process!
When it all hit home!
I was talking to my boyfriend. I told him that one reason why women were so competitive is because of society’s expectations. I was distraught, finally falling apart from the fatigue of trying to be a perfect female. I know he means well, but the look on his face told me that he was overwhelmed and really didn’t understand. So, who will hear us?
What you must do to be the perfect woman
Okay, so I cried, let it all out and then moved on. Basically, I didn’t want to feel “not good enough” anymore. So, that’s why I’m standing my ground. I’m going to fight back against these expectations. I have prepared a list of “perfect woman” qualities so that you can see what a woman is supposed to be according to society. If you’re looking for the perfect female, here’s your sign!
She must be pretty/beautiful/sexy/hot
Let me get this one out of the way because it is the worst! Society says, as women, we should look good. That’s fine, I get it, it’s good to be attractive, but what is beauty? Who set the standards for what beautiful should be? Did you know that there are different ideas of beauty from around the world? What is seen as beautiful in the United States may not be attractive in Europe or Asia. Actually, it’s quite different for sure.
Regardless, it goes deeper than that. There is three times more emphasis placed on women to look “pretty”, just take a look at the cosmetic industry, clothing and shoes! Yes, men’s apparel is gaining a wider variety, but it has nothing on what’s targeted at the female customer. Let’s just be honest, the body shaming, the harassment, and competition – it’s getting out of hand with this stuff, wouldn’t you think?
Society says that the perfect woman is beautiful, put together and sexy. Her looks are the first thing that men or other women notice. The mind of the woman is noticed much later, sometimes as long as after marriage even. There are unreal expectations on women to constantly adjust their physical appearance, and it is damaging to their mental health.
She shouldn’t work
This may not be a universal preference, but it is a common one. Many men or other members of society prefer that women not enter the workforce. Most of these beliefs come from old-fashioned standards or religious views. Speaking of religion, did you know that in some beliefs, women cannot be pastors, preachers or teachers according to the scriptures? It’s true, but hey, I don’t listen to that.
Society has created an image of women that does not include work tools or equipment. The perfect woman is seen with homemaker tools instead, which show you just how thinking is still so primitive. Most women resent this preference, as well, and still strive to break this stereotypical view of women. I congratulate every single woman who fights this ideal. Thank you!
She should go get a job
Kind of on the flip side lies the idea that any work done at home is not work at all. I am a writer, I write almost every day, in some form or for some client. I spend more time working on my writing sometimes than an individual working an outside job, but to others, I still need to “go get a job”. Sometimes, I even forget to eat because of pressing deadlines. I would call this work because it is! They would not call this work and so I need to dress up, go out, and drop physical applications.
The problem with society is that work from home is never seen as important. They may claim that you have a job, but deep down, they really don’t believe it. I have had so many people comment on how easy it must be to work in my pajamas and take breaks whenever I want. There is truth in that statement, but the statement only covers a small percentage of what working from home entails.
Not only do women have to complete their work-at-home assignments, as with freelancers, they also have to make sure the homemaker duties are completed as well, especially if no one else in the household will help them. Sorry, my “personal vendetta against shallow judgment” is showing again. Forgive me….
She must be able to cook, clean and cater to the man
I honestly believe there are more male chefs than female, but I could be wrong. Society believes, however, that every single woman should have the inborn talent to create an edible masterpiece. I remember a statement from my childhood when my father reprimanded me for playing outside instead of helping my mother in the kitchen.
“No man will ever marry you if you cannot cook or clean.”
That’s really sexist, isn’t it? Well, my father was serious and in the early 80s, my mother was still doing all these things without my father’s help. In fact, she worked a full-time job, cooked two meals a day and cleaned/washed and dusted at every other moment in-between. Her life was a testament to that Proverbs 31 woman I mentioned before.
This is what society says: Every woman must be a role model for little girls. They must have a talent for basic cooking, at least. They must keep their homes clean, dishes and clothes washed and their husbands happy. I feel nauseated, how perfectly hateful and outdated.
She must be “ladylike”
Now this one is interesting, and I also fail miserably in this arena. To society, women must be well-mannered, calm and classy. They should know what to wear, at what time and for whatever function. They must not be rude, burp, fart or laugh too loud. This is the model of a perfect woman, and all of us females should follow the blueprint…not.
I was a tomboy when younger, and still am. When my father told me that no man would marry me, I wiped my muddy hands on my torn dress and laughed at him. If memory serves me right, I ran into the woods and hid from him. After he called to me a few times, he shook his head and gave up. I was not that classy girl, and he knew it.
I’m still not that girl. I don’t really care for pleasantries such as knowing which side of my plate to put the salad fork or crossing my legs. Know what? Sometimes I even eat with my hands because, in part of my culture, eating with my hands is acceptable. I also don’t like wearing dresses all the time or tight formal shoes. I do say, ma’am, although, and I teach my children to do the same. Anyway, I’m not that perfect woman, so move along. When nobody’s looking, most of us aren’t.
She’s a great mother
Maybe, in the beginning, with my first child, I was a doting protective mother. I watched my son while he slept and I probably attended all the parent/teacher meetings. I remember taking hundreds of pictures and hosting expensive birthday parties as well.
I have three children now and one stepdaughter. For birthdays, we eat a meal at a nice restaurant, I buy a gift or two and bake a cake. Other than that, the day passes and I move on. The thing is, I love my children, but I have learned that to be a good mother doesn’t mean you have to give them everything all the time. But society says, the perfect woman, is also the perfect mother, one who sacrifices everything for the good of her children.
Now, let’s think about this for a moment – is it right to sacrifice everything for you child? Most people would say yes, but then most people aren’t going to analyze that question for their own good, but I will. If I am not happy, then how is this a good thing for my children. If I am spending every waking moment spoiling them, gifting them and paying empty compliments, then I have no energy to do things for myself. My children need to know what it means to have healthy self-love as well. But, I guess society didn’t think about that!
Now that I have filled your head with information, what really is the perfect woman?
The perfect woman does not exist. Many women may strive to fit the mold of the Proverbs 31 chick, but let’s face it, we can never live up to this symbolic image. I think, as women, we should strive to do as our conscious tells us, not as society governs. In time, maybe society will understand and appreciate women for who they really are.
Imperfect and absolutely beautiful!
By Sherrie H.