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Posted under: Opinion Feminism

Deconstructing the inherent, misogynistic socialization of women

More often than not, women are born and bred to grow in, when from an early age men learn to aggressively grow out. Where a man is meant to be large and strong, women long to be as petite and thin as their bodies will allow. Men are rarely silenced, while women are constantly told they’re better seen than heard. Before we’ve even become women, we are taught to make the space we occupy as small and insignificant as possible. We are taught to be invisible. Like many women, I’ve spent most of my life attempting to shrink myself into society. As one of the tallest girls in my 5th-grade class, I subconsciously wished I were just a little shorter. At 14, my baby fat had evolved into something not so cute and lot more crippling. It wasn’t until nearly my last year of university that I realized that the abundance of white frat boys walking down Greek row should be yielding to me.
socialization of women
socialization of women
Photo: Giphy Recently while out at a bar on St. Patrick’s Day, the politics of space suddenly hit me for possibly the first time since I moved back home. As I reached the bar for the second time that night, I ran into a girl I vaguely remembered from high school. Seeing as though we weren’t ever really acquaintances, no such acknowledgment was made, but in suburban Maryland, a local face never goes unnoticed. I had previously asked her to graciously set down my empty drink on the bar for me, and now that I was back for a refill, she generously offered to move away from her friends to create space so I could order. I humbly thanked her but explained that even though she offered, women should never have to go out of their way to move for anyone, seeing as we do it far too often. Although I can admit the inebriated unforgivingly feminist part of my brain might have been kicking in, during an in-depth catch up with a friend over lunch the other day, I began to think about the sentiment of my somewhat drunken approach. I considered how at my most confident and empowered, I seldom thought about how much space I was taking up and stopped apologizing for laughing too loud or speaking up too much in class. By the end of my college career, I was shaving my head and shopping for fatkinis, concepts the former shamed version of myself couldn't even fathom. The tops of my shoes were no longer the only things I saw while walking around campus; I was through yielding to the majority at every single turn. I was finished coveting a happiness I felt as though I didn’t deserve. I was done being sorry for simply existing.
Photo: Giphy As women, we should never forget the little girls who scream louder, play harder and think smarter than any boy on the playground, for it was not too long ago that we were fearless enough to be them. As women of color, we are to remind women around us, younger or not, that truly:
"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." - Eleanor Roosevelt
Grow up, grow out and grow smart. Grow whichever way you please, because there's absolutely no space limit on life.
What are your favorite ways to smash the patriarchy? Let us know in the comments below! 

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