The Shehawk: Why should you hate yourself?


Samantha Durham is a junior studying sociology. She began writing for a column, The Shehawk, to be the voice for those that feel they lack one and to help young women feel empowered and inspired. Contact Samantha with any comments, questions, concerns, or for advice at [email protected].

Samantha Durham | Assistant Opinion Editor

Women tend to hate on themselves. It’s a terrible trait that probably comes from internal insecurities or someone else being cruel. The fact that women feel the need to look one way, say certain things and behave a certain way says something important about our society. Gender roles are alive and well, everyone.

I found that one of the most moving and influential classes I have taken thus far was my Sociology of Gender class. This class was not about women. This class was not about men.  This class was about people and how we as a society have created roles for two groups of biologically different people.

I, in no way, deny that men and women are different biologically or mentally. However, this physical difference and difference of thinking has led to something so much bigger and dividing than different body parts; a set view on how each gender should behave.

Men suffer from gender roles equally as much as women do, but in different ways. Men suffer from the pressure of wanting to provide for their families, even though a woman can do that as well. Men suffer from the thought that it “isn’t manly” to cry or show emotion, therefore, they bottle it up and cope with it in other ways, and some ways that are not healthy. This is not to say that women do not face these struggles as well, but more often than not, men are the ones that feel this way.

Women experience gender roles in a whole different way. Men are expected to be providers, strong, and fatherly. Women have a laundry list of characteristics they are “supposed” to fit into. We should be nurturing, slightly self-loathing but not to the point of annoyance, patient, and innocent. We should smile all the time, look sexy in our underwear, and love walking in high heels. We should want to dress to impress others, we should smile at everyone and we should want someone to take care of us.

These are all stereotypes that lead to gender roles and how the world seems to view women. The thing that is saddest about this is how these stereotypes and roles have shaped how women see themselves. Many women out there feel less than for not fitting into these characteristics, which is huge problem.

Society has taught women that pretty means skinny, that bigger breasts mean sexy, that smiling equals approachable, that you are never fully dressed without make up and that in order to be a true “woman” you must fit into these requirements.

As time has gone on these stereotypes have grown weaker. More women everyday are jumping for a comfortable bralette over a push up bra or no bra at all, because who cares if my boobs look perky today? More women are dressing to impress themselves than anyone else. More women are showing how they really feel, because no human being smiles all the time. More women are turning away the make up because they see beauty in what they already have. More women are accepting themselves as who they are, not what society deems they should be.

I am writing about this because not enough women feel this way. Not enough women do things for themselves and there is nothing wrong with being and doing things for yourself.

Ladies, stereotypes only have as much power as you give them. For those of you that think you’ll never find someone if you don’t follow these stereotypes, you’re wrong. If a person truly loves and cares for you they will value you regardless of your bra size, your moods or your hate for high heels. Love is not being something for someone else. Love is being yourself and someone else wanting to be a part of that.

Who cares if he likes your butt in those jeans? If they are uncomfortable, don’t wear them. Who cares if you don’t wear make up? If you hate it as much as I do, then why waste your time? Who cares if you are having a bad day? Don’t smile because someone tells you to, smile because you feel like it.

Celebrate yourself and forget what stereotypes exist. No one got anywhere in this world by following the “rules” anyway. Be yourself. If you are make-up and dressing up do it for you, not for other people.  If you are eating a carton of ice cream by yourself, do it. Whatever you are, be that. Don’t be ashamed by who you are, what you feel, and how you think. Nothing is more beautiful and amazing than the person you are right now.

Embrace who you are. Love yourself. Be proud of what you do and how you do it. No one can take away what makes you shine and makes you, you. If someone feels threatened by that they aren’t worth your time. Feel proud to be you. Not because you are a woman, but because you are you and nothing is more unique than that.