1. Everything you do is wrong and right at the same time. A guy may like your dress while another may say you’re leading with your sexuality — don’t you have a brain or a personality? You live your entire life having to make men happy, and having to be a good example for women and having to live up to everyone’s expectations — AND make yourself happy.
2. It will be really weird to fit into your gender role. When you find yourself being subservient to a man or enjoying something like cooking you start to wonder if it means you’re weak or a bad feminist. You have to question every natural desire you have and wonder if you truly enjoy the thing or if you are just conditioned to like it.
3. People will always tell you you are being emotional. I am a very emotional person, but I’m also very rational (getting a philosophy degree does that to a person). But I know lots of people in my life who are terrible at making decisions or at their relationships because they are too emotional. Some are women and some are men — except when men are emotional that emotion is called “anger” and it doesn’t have the same stigma of being “illogical” attached to it.
4. Your relationship with your girlfriends will be deeper than your relationship with your boyfriend. I don’t want this to be the case, I want a deep relationship with everyone. But my girlfriends know how hard it is to be a woman and how it exhausting it is to have so many expectations placed on you. I can cry in front of them without being a stereotype. I can be more open with them without fearing judgement. As hard as I try, I just haven’t been able to get to this level with a man.
5. There’s no easy answer to the biological clock question. Women are not having children in their childbearing years. We go to college, we work to support ourselves, we try to find men we want to spend our lives with. There’s really no way around it at this point. I was not meeting men at age 20-25 who wanted to start that part of their lives, and it was a financial impossibility. Maybe we will create workarounds for the next generation but for now, we’re stuck figuring out what our best option is. Wait until the time is right and hope everything turns out okay? Prioritize children even though we aren’t sure if we want them/can support them? It’s a difficult area, and there’s no paved road to follow.
6. The most complicated relationship you’ll have is with your mother. In your teens, you hate her, in your early 20’s you miss her, after that you rely on her advice as if it is Bible. Most women don’t want to become their mother, but they still love and respect her — and end up becoming much like her anyway.
7. The difference between being nurturing and being a doormat is your Everest. What, exactly, is the difference? How do you support someone without smothering them or without allowing them to take advantage of you? How do you be a wife and mother without losing your identity?
8. It’s okay to assert yourself. Women are taught to be helpful or not to be too much of a burden. Or too much of anything for that matter. But it’s okay to ask for what you want. How else will people know? Ask him to define the relationship or chip in for Plan B. Ask for details when the mechanic quotes you a price. Ask your boss where he or she sees your career going. These are not burdensome questions, they are completely reasonable and normal.
9. You shouldn’t apologize unless you mean it. It’s okay not to be sorry.
10. There is no such thing as a “Real Woman.” A “Real Woman” has curves or is flat as a pancake. She is tall or short or whatever size she finds herself. Every woman is a real woman because she is a real live human being. There are as many kinds of Real Women as there are actual women.
11. The people you will be pitted against most in your life are other women. Don’t fall for it. See the “Real Women” argument above. “A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms.”
12. When you do something unpopular, you will be called crazy. It’s probably not true and it’s just words. Brush it off and move on.
13. One guy’s approval or love isn’t the end of the world. Love is great and real but that guy you are crying over probably isn’t Love. Men are everywhere and most of them want to talk to you. They have it much harder dating wise than women, we have the upperhand. On to the next one.