Traditional gender roles are outdated

Patricia Rocha, Editor in Chief

Being a woman is hard. This article will not be about how much high heels, monthly cramps and childbirth hurt. It’s about how much of my life was decided for me 20 years ago when someone in a hospital declared, “It’s a girl.”

It kind of blows my mind that an X or a Y could change so much about the course of one’s life.

Growing up, I never noticed it much. My parents raised me in an environment that didn’t put much emphasis on traditional gender roles.

I watched my father work on his cars and my mother cook dinner just as much as I saw my father fix a meal and my mother fix her own car.

It was this balance that I based my own life on. I played in the dirt and hooked my own worms when my family would go fishing. I played with just as many paper dolls as I did basketballs. I played with boys just as much as girls and skinned my knees more times than I could count.

But that changed as I grew up. Suddenly there were things that I wasn’t allowed to do because I was a girl, or rather, now a young woman.

My whole life I was raised that I could do anything, and suddenly my father was telling me I wasn’t allowed to hang out with boys.

I couldn’t learn how to drive until I was 18, even though it was perfectly fine for my 16-year-old male cousin to start. Dating was a swear word in my house.

There are countless examples and the only reason anyone could ever give me was because I was his little girl, and my father was just looking out for me.

Well, that was stupid.

Mae West, a personal hero of mine, once said, “Every man I meet wants to protect me. I can’t figure out what from.”

The world itself is a pretty scary place, but I can’t think of anything scarier than living in it not knowing how to protect myself.

As a woman who is currently a part of an editing staff that consists of three men and a male adviser, I have firsthand experience in what it’s like to be the only woman in the room. I like to think I bring a unique perspective to the newsroom in this way and totally do not mind bringing a bit of estrogen to the room.

It just sucks knowing that if this were a job outside of school those three men have the opportunity to be paid more than me just because they’re men.

We live in a very pivotal time. My generation has the ability to make some real social change, and I truly believe we can make a real difference if we’d all just try a little bit harder to see the double standards that plague our social evolution.

What hinders us are all these labels and outdated gender roles. I’m a woman so I should love babies and pink things and cry when I watch “The Notebook.” Well, I think babies smell, pink is just watered-down abomination of red and I only cry when I watch “The Notebook” because it reminds me that I don’t own the killer 1940s fashion it features.

Sure, it’s kind of cool when someone holds open a door and says, “ladies first,” but you know what would be way cooler? If women got paid just as much as men no matter what the job. If someone didn’t automatically assume I’m having “boy troubles” or I’m on my “lady days” if I seem under the weather.

If there was a Hooters-style restaurant that only hired shirtless men with British accents and hipster glasses. If my rights to birth control were never again debated in a public forum by male politicians that went to college with Abraham Lincoln and use the words “legitimate rape.”

I refuse to let my gender get in the way of anything I pursue. I believe you have to command respect no matter what age, gender, race, or sexual orientation you are because those things are just on the outside. The strength I carry with me is because I am a girl, and I’ve had to fight for so much. People telling me I couldn’t forced me to prove them wrong, and I will continue to do so until women are considered equal in all definitions of the word, or until that shirtless-British-guy restaurant opens, which ever comes first.