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Why young women can’t do anything right


I remember my first day of freshman year, I was terrified. I was seated in the passenger seat of my dad’s car whilst having an internal dilemma. I was trying to figure out how I wanted to present myself. Who did I want to be? Later that day, I learned that no matter who I chose to be it wouldn’t be right. 

According to DoSomething, 70% of girls feel as if they are not good enough, as if they don’t measure up. Measure up to what? Everyone has different definitions of perfection, especially in today’s society. You can be pretty, but you also have to be intelligent, driven but not overly ambitious. Young women are under constant scrutiny by everyone, especially other girls. 

No matter what girls do we can’t seem to get it right. Being educated means you are a know-it-all, being pretty equals jealousy, having opinions means you’re stubborn. We are being constantly denied by society’s expectations. It’s hard to keep up with at such a young age; teenagers are just beginning to have responsibilities and finding out who they are as a person. Women have always been critiqued; however, in their teenage years they are the most vulnerable. 

In high school, many people feel as if they are under a microscope and they just want to be liked. How can you be liked if the standard contradicts itself? When girls do something ‘good’, they are invalidated; they either did it the wrong way or shouldn’t have done it all. 

For example, expressing themselves through clothing. A young woman could wear a simple crop top and leggings and be over-sexualized. A young woman can wear sweatpants and a hoodie and be called a slob. A young woman can wear a short-fitted dress and be called a tease. Nothing we do will ever be right. 

According to an article in the Atlantic, “How Puberty Kills Girls’ Confidence”,  “By the age of 14 the average girl was far less confident than the average boy.” The article addresses the lack of confidence in teen girls due to the competition they face from other girls. We are constantly pitted against each other, we are compared to each other, making it ten times harder to be perfect. 

Infographic by Tessa Brennan. Sources: CDC, World Health Organization

Teenage girls are categorized constantly, into little boxes. It feels as if there has been an influx of these categorizations: e-girls, bruh girls, soft girls, and vsco girls. All of these were popular at one point, but as soon as the excitement died down, they were bitterly made fun of. 

I feel as if we are put in these boxes so that we can be reduced to two simple words. We are so much more than our stereotypes; teenage girls have a lot to say. We have a unique perspective. We have grown up in the times of two economic recessions, political unrest, climate change, gun violence and social media. Teen girls have so much to say, so let them speak. 

Every child has heard the saying, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” This still applies and it feels as if some people have forgotten. Women aren’t perfect and will never be perfect. So why do we still hold ourselves and others to unattainable standards?

If I could tell freshman Tessa anything, it would be this: choose to be anybody you want to be. The only person you have to be enough for is yourself.

Tessa Brennan, Staff Reporter

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Why young women can’t do anything right