The Student Voice of North Allegheny Senior High School

The Uproar

The Student Voice of North Allegheny Senior High School

The Uproar

The Student Voice of North Allegheny Senior High School

The Uproar

Opinion: The Suppression of Femininity

Stereotypes of womanhood have changed dramatically, but problems persist.
Ruby Morris

In an age of modern media, influencers, and aggressive politics, women are finally becoming the center of conversation about power and influence. However, with these conversations, questions arise. Did women have to relinquish their femininity to obtain these results? Does being feminine equate with weakness? 

Throughout all of history, women have been categorized and their places have been dictated. What is considered powerful, respectable, or attractive is micromanaged, shifting as if strength is subjective and appearance is chosen. Stereotypes manipulate femininity by pushing it into the shadows, emphasizing the attributes that culture dictates, or discouraging it as weakness.

Throughout much of human history, the physical appearance, empathetic qualities, and power of feminism were hidden. Women were exempt from family lineages, separated from high places of social status, and prohibited from the seats of power and influence. writer Suzanne McGee states that women in ancient Rome “lacked a voice in history. With few exceptions—like the words of the female poet Sulpicia or the graffiti of a woman summoning her lover, found scrawled on the walls at Pompeii—what we know about them comes almost entirely from the writings of men in Rome’s most elite circles.” 

To the Romans, women were a society all of their own. They had busy lives, and sometimes occupations outside the home, but they were never allowed a voice in politics, religion, or community decisions. “According to Rome’s legal and social code,” McGee writes, “the ideal Roman woman was a matron who spun her own cloth, oversaw her family’s affairs, provided her husband with children, food and a well-run household, and displayed suitable modesty.”  These tasks were not only difficult but vitally important to the community, leading ancient Roman women to be respected for their strength but ignored for their empathy sidelined in positions of power.  

As the human race progressed, so did stereotypes. Through the early 1900s, women were categorized, controlled, and suppressed, reaching a shameful peak during the 1950s. Modern media harnessed what had become the social norm, using women as sale points, painting their role as laughably effortless. This role was simply to stay home and look nice doing it. 

Shameful ads were a perfect example of this sexist marketing. An ad for Alcoa boasted that its bottles opened “without a knife blade, a bottle opener, or even a husband” and “even a woman can open it!” Another ad for men’s ties stated, “For men only! Brand new, man-talking, power-packed patterns that tell her it’s a man’s world.”

In the 21st century, the expectations of a woman’s role in society have dramatically changed in America. The media continues to market women as impossibly perfect images of unattainable physical attraction but have added powerful professional success to the clickbait for the latest men’s product.

This emphasis on power has led to a decrease of femininity and empathy. Women are now being taught to covet what men have rather than hold on to a unique, and just as influential, feminine power. Traditional roles, such as becoming a wife, are, for some, frowned upon in exchange for positions of power. The empathy, power, and extreme strength of motherhood is suppressed or outright ignored by the chase up the financial, political, and social ladder.

If society is willing to admit that stereotypes in the past have been cruel and suppressing, why doubt that the same thing is happening today, only in a different form? Why is a wife and stay-at-home mom viewed by some as a result of indoctrination, obligation, or restraint? What if more of us started choosing to see femininity as powerful, beautiful, and influential rather than weak and hindering? 

A female entrepreneur is just as much a woman as a wife. My mom is just as strong a woman as Mira Murati, the female CTO of OpenAI. The constant sexualizing and categorizing of women can only be ended when every girl is told they have inherent value as a woman regardless of what they look like or whether they want to grow up to play in the WNBA, become a doctor, or hold her child as she makes food for her family.

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About the Contributor
Jaycee Mae Faber
Jaycee Mae Faber, Staff Writer
Jaycee Mae is a junior at NASH. She transferred to North Allegheny this past January and is excited to explore her opportunities in writing for The Uproar. She loves to read, bike, camp, hang out with friends, and travel to Ninja Warrior competitions with her family.

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