As women in modern American society, the odds are inevitably stacked against us. Yes, there have been incredible, courageous feminist movements in our history, but we are surely not even close to where we could be in regards to gender equality. We as women are still continuously objectified, seen as inferior, and thought to have specific roles that are our duty to fulfill, while also being seen as naturally under qualified in other areas.

This, most likely, is not news to any of you. Since the dawn of time, women have been expected to fit a mold which includes keeping our mouths shut, fulfilling roles that others do not want to have any part in, and looking presentable and feminine at all times. Don’t get me wrong; I am beyond frustrated and saddened by the sexism that still exist, but there is a phenomenon that has me even more frustrated and saddened than the expectations that society places on women.

This phenomenon is the fact that WOMEN are beginning to put down other women.

As if we do not have enough of the population of this world expecting the failure, incompetence, or inability of a woman, it is devastating to see that the women who are brave enough to break the mold are being put down by not only men and people of superiority in our culture, BUT BY OTHER WOMEN AS WELL.

This frustration and sadness is coming from a woman who has taken part in putting down other women, and in turn as been put down by other women as well. Let me tell you, neither side of this experience feels good. Due to the expectations society places on us as women, it can be incredibly intimidating to put oneself out there and hope to be accepted and understood. It is easy for us to anticipate the worst when we take a step into the unknown because women have been taught from a young age that there are boundaries to their success and capabilities.

It has taken me quite some time to come to this conclusion, but I don’t believe it. Not a single piece of it. Some of the most inspirational, successful, empowering people I have ever had the opportunity to know have been women.

It has been proven through research that women generally are quicker learners, better in social situations and have stronger communication skills, and that WOMEN ARE ACTUALLY SMARTER THAN MEN. That’s right, it’s in the research ladies. However, due to the fact that women have been taught that they must compete for careers, success, and attention, it is a new concept to us as women to be happy and proud of other women when they achieve.

The purpose of bringing some of these points to awareness is not to attack or make women feel guilty for the times they have engaged in the practice of disregarding the success and capability of other women. Instead, this is an invitation.

This is an invitation to break the mold. This is an invitation to stay true to your values and beliefs. This is an invitation to speak up and demand to be heard. This is an invitation to walk with confidence and pride across the boundary lines society has placed around you in ever aspect of your life… But most of all, this is an invitation to not do all of these things alone, but hand in hand with the women that surround you.

Katie Sternberg

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