Bottom line: decide what works for you, do not apologize, and do not let other people make celebrations a stressful time for you because of the expectations you are not “living up to.
1. Being beautiful is most important. Unfortunately in our society there is a very heavy emphasis on physical appearance, however, it is not what you should be focusing on the most. If genuine, unconditional love, success, meaningful relationships and a purposeful life is what you’re after, realize that none of it will come from nice physical attributes.
2. There is only one way to be beautiful. Just understand that everybody has different tastes and opinions as to what is beautiful, and it just so happens that the people who control mass media, advertising and fashion editorials have one opinion, and that is not to say that it is the only opinion nor is it the correct opinion.
3. Marriage is happiness, singledom is not. It’s as though we have been conditioned to believe our lives will not be complete or happy if we don’t have a romantic relationship. Of course it’s wonderful when it works out, but there are plenty of other things that are wonderful as well. Being in a relationship and being married does NOT necessarily mean you are in love or that you are happy, just as being single does not mean you are miserable and unwanted.
4. Skinny is healthy. People will often disguise a plight to influence weight loss behind “I just want you to be healthy and do what’s best for you.” Skinny does not always mean healthy. You can have a whole slew of health problems from being too thin as you can from being too heavy. What’s more is that stressing out over not being the right size is even more detrimental to your health than simply being a little out of shape is. Keep your health separate from the idea that it will necessarily translate thinness and focus on habits that will actually make you healthier, not skinnier.
5. There isn’t anything to celebrate other than marriages, babies, Christenings, bridal showers, etc. and there is only one correct way to celebrate them. Theme: heterosexual marriage and reproduction. Even if you do choose to marry someone, you don’t have to necessarily have an over-the-top wedding, you don’t have to invite all of the people in your extended family who you barely know just because they are “related” and you do not have to feel bad about wanting a very small gathering to exchange vow to be loyal and loving with the people who really do matter in your lives. On the other hand, you do not have to apologize for spending an exorbitant amount of money on a huge celebration if that’s what you’d like. Bottom line: decide what works for you, do not apologize, and do not let other people make celebrations a stressful time for you because of the expectations you are not “living up to.”
6. You are lesser if you do not choose to be with a man. I sometimes like to call my significant others my “partner” even if it is a man, because I like to confuse people with the gender binary. He is my partner, isn’t he? And I guess I’m on a one-woman crusade to normalize terminology that does not define your relationships by the genders involved. You have a husband if you are heterosexual, you have a partner if you are homosexual. While some women wouldn’t want to be called “husband,” (and that’s perfectly fine) there is, unfortunately, a sense of superiority in having the former as opposed to the latter. Don’t let these age-old prejudices get you down. Either which way you roll the dice, if you are loved and you are loving, you are doing just fine.
7. You can’t handle a life on your own. Men are for fixing the pipes and paying the bills, right? Don’t let yourself be scared into a life you don’t want because you think you can’t function on your own. This is more than just in marriage, though. Some people don’t even want to be single and not in a relationship, they need to feel wanted and worthy because someone else wants them and sees them as worthy. Letting somebody else give you your sense of worth is one of the worst things you can do to yourself. Trust me.
8. You are wronging your children by raising them outside of a nuclear family structure. Some people believe this very adamantly, and I respect their beliefs: it’s the system that has been in place for all of time, and of course it’s scary to accept a different way of life. But you know what? I’m of the belief that what really matters is how much you love your family, no matter who they are or what genitalia they happen to have. Clearly, nuclear family structures are not foolproof or flawless, so don’t be so quick to judge two happy and madly-in-love women who want to raise children together.
9. A career is something you pursue when you don’t have love. This actually can be the case for some people, but for others, remember that the concept of a “career” doesn’t necessarily mean a job that you hate that you’re just in for the money. If you really find your passion that fills you up like any other kind of love would, it’s more than just a job, and we call it a career, but really, it’s self-fulfilling and not reliant on anybody else. It’s something very much worth pursuing for those reasons alone.
10. Your body is made for the eyes and satisfaction of others. This means you shouldn’t have hair in places other than where men can look but not have to touch (eyelashes, eyebrows, hair) but even that has to be groomed properly. You should not have natural bodily smells or fluctuating weight because that won’t please someone else. It’s really just plain silly when you think about it. The only purpose your body has is to provide you with a vessel through which you can experience your life. If someone else chooses to love it too, that’s fantastic. But never, ever should you make decisions about it because of someone else’s opinion.
11. You are only a woman if you are biologically born that way. This is a more universal teaching, and it’s that sex and gender isn’t a choice, when really, it is. You can choose just how masculine or feminine you would like to be, and you can act on the ways you most identify with the ways in which men and women typically behave– or not! It is your life and your body, and there is no reason to label yourself in only one of two categories for other’s simple minds that can’t understand