As little girls, we were taught to be meek. We were taught to be quiet, to be fragile, to be delicate. We were shown by society that we were the daintier sex, the weaker sex, the inferior sex. While boys built towers and raced cars and dug holes and got into fights, we sat on the sidelines. We waited patiently. We lowered our voices. We asked permission. We played with beautiful China dolls who wore beautiful lace dresses and drank from beautiful silver tea cups. We braided our hair and tied it with satin ribbons that matched our perfectly pink ballet slippers. We went to dance classes where we learned to be light on our feet, and then we went to etiquette classes where we learned to be seen and not heard. We went to school where we learned about Caesar and Henry the VIII and Thomas Jefferson; there, we were encouraged to perfect our handwriting, not excel in science. We went to church where we heard about Adam and Eve and evil and temptation; there, we were encouraged to be faithful servants, not independent beings. Grace, humility, devotion, and modesty were instilled in us. We were taught to be mild mannered, even keeled, and soft spoken. We learned quickly to apologize for things that weren’t our fault, clean up messes we didn’t create, and repair bridges we hadn’t burned–and now we’re done.
1. Stop pretending like we’re not hungry.
The crazy thing about being a human is that if you don’t eat, you die. We can’t survive off of air and sunlight, no matter what Barbie taught us. Skip the salad–the pizza tastes better.
2. Stop slut shaming.
We have a hard enough time as it is, why turn on one another?
3. Stop apologizing for having an opinion.
We’re entitled to one, just like everyone else.
4. Stop expecting the cake and eating it, too.
If we want men to treat us like equals, then we have to accept that at face value. Equal means equal. No exceptions.
5. Stop being so hard on ourselves.
Perfection does not exist. Learn to live with it.
6. Stop sweating the small stuff.
Mistakes will happen. People will screw up. Life will go on.
7. Stop the second guessing.
We’re capable. We’re intelligent. We’re worthy of being right.
8. Stop giving in and giving up.
In school, in the workplace, in the home–we’re paving the path for our daughters, so we need to fight for it.
9. Stop blaming our mothers.
They did their best.
10. Stop making excuses.
Success is not handed out. It is earned. And we must work for it.
11. Stop lashing out at the beautiful, the successful, or the otherwise lucky.
Jealousy looks good on no one. Deal with the hand you’re dealt, or work harder for a better one.
12. Stop hiding behind Photoshop.
If we can’t embrace our own imperfections, how can we expect others to?
13. Stop obsessing over the slightest flaw.
Everyone has them. Move on.
14. Stop looking down on younger women.
Maybe they dress differently, maybe they look differently, maybe they act differently. That’s no excuse to hinder their success.
15. Stop being our own worst enemy.
Enough people will try to make you fail. There is no need to be one of them.
16. Stop thinking that there is a correct face of feminism.
Whether it be Gloria Steinem, Condoleezza Rice, Jackie Kennedy, or Miley Cyrus, to each her own.
17. Stop the obsession with aging.
Another birthday means another year. Count the blessings, not the wrinkles.
18. Stop comparing our romantic lives to a Nicholas Sparks novel.
Kisses in the rain, messages in a bottle, and stereos over heads do not equate to a lasting relationship. Honesty, trust, and love do. Remember that.
19. Stop apologizing for having emotions.
We’re people, not robots. Tears, laughter, bouts of anger–this means we haven’t lost the ability to feel. Cherish the joy and even the sadness.
20. Stop posting photos of celebrities on the fridge.
We will never look like them. Hell, even they don’t look like them. Take care of yourself, but remember that piece of cheesecake won’t kill you.
21. Stop thinking we’re incapable.
The human race depends on us–we run the show. We’re meant to take the stage, not wait in the wings.