As a woman in my mid-thirties I’ve certainly felt the pressures to live up to our societies idealised standards. I think that there are pressures on all women at many different times in their lives but when you hit your 30’s you’re supposed to have figured a lot of things out. Many of us feel pressurised to get married and have children and if we don’t do this now then we are somehow made to feel like we could miss the boat. In our 30’s we feel more pressure at work to be more senior and to be seen to be climbing the career ladder, earning more money and becoming more successful. On top of this we are constantly pressurised to “look good” and appear youthful. Now don’t get me wrong, I know that men have pressures on them too but for women it does all seem to come to a head during our 30’s; with that ticking biological clock and the got to have it all attitude. It’s not often that a man is pressurised to look ageless, in fact our male counterparts are often regarded to age like a fine wine and become a silver fox…..(here I am rolling my eyes).
It seems that to be a successful man he does not have to look good, in fact if you read any magazines or crappy newspaper articles they rarely point out or critique how said successful man is looking. How a man dresses, the clothes he wears, his hairstyle, his weight, his age is rarely mentioned in comparison to how successful he is. We only have to look at Donald Trump and Harvey Weinstein to see how men who have/had success based on their careers and not their appearance are written about in the media. A successful female or female in the public eye is constantly analysed over her appearance. It seems so unfair.
However, I must point out that I do like to look after myself. I like to wear make-up and buy new clothes and I like to make an effort with my appearance but I do it because it makes me feel good about myself. I try to portray myself as they best version of myself, not every day, I certainly have days of no-make up and scruffy hair and feeling like an absolute mess. However, I feel much better about myself when I’ve invested time in my appearance.
Society doesn’t seem to really accept us women when we’re seen to be not making an effort and not achieving all these things we are supposed to. Some things are of course a lot harder than others to control, like having a family for example. I think us women should try not to worry too much about this: 1) it really isn’t something we can control, any pregnancy is literally a miracle 2) just because you haven’t followed the same path as your peers (whether you intend to or not) does not mean you have in any way failed 3) women have kids right into their 40s now and there are plenty of methods to help you have a child if you so wish 4) who says you have to have kids anyway plenty of women feel happier choosing not to!
However, going back to our appearance, although society wants to make us feel bad about ourselves telling us we need to be wrinkle, cellulite, grey-haired, fat free versions of ourselves it is something we can control. Feeling confident in your own skin is much more of a mind-set. If you want to lose weight, or build muscle, or wear make-up or present yourself in a way that makes you feel good about yourself you can. The main issue we should be thinking about is our health and our mental well-being. Forget what everyone else is doing and just focus on you. What would make you feel good. What would make you feel happier. If your appearance is important to you making some lifestyle changes could help.
I think the world is pretty harsh on women sometimes but we are tough enough to deal with it. I hope you don’t let societal pressures get the best of you, it really isn’t worth it and it really isn’t worth worrying about when you think about how short and precious life is. Make the most of you in whatever way you can. Screw what everyone else thinks and just do you!