I have always been told that I am outgoing and sociable; as a young lady “should” be. While I may be easy to talk to and outgoing, I am a strong introvert; for every hour of social activity, I need two hours by myself. I guess you could say I am an “extroverted introvert”, but I think thats just a nice way of saying I don’t like social interaction. In this blog post I will be discussing my personal experience with how society expects women to act in social settings and how it can be hurtful to women like me.
In the past, society wanted women to be the social butterflies that welcomed guests into the home, hosted gatherings, and arranged playdates for the kids. All of these activities requires what I am calling “social energy”; for some, these tasks don’t see, to be too much of a burden, but for other, like myself, it is the contrary.
Women used to, and still are, expected to be social creatures. If a man is quiet and doesn’t want to socialize, he is an intellectual, but if a woman is shy and antisocial, she is standoffish and rude. This double standard has existed forever, but has become more present to me personally since being in college.
In addition to the double standard between men and women, there is a contradiction within the expectations for women’s behavior; women need to be social, but not too loud. If a woman is quiet and shy, she is “weird”, but if a woman is passionate and loud, she is “obnoxious”.
We, as a society, need to accept that people (women especially) are allowed to participate in social activity however they choose. No one needs to act a certain way in order to be attractive, accepted, and valued. If people focused less on how women act and more on what women say, we would progress as a society.
Long story short: act how you want, go out, don’t go out, take time for yourself when you need it, and don’t change for others.
3 thoughts on “The Social Butterfly Standard”
I couldn’t agree more with this blog post.
I was raised to always be ready to throw a party at my house or host small get-togethers. I have grown up watching my mother host events at the house and she made sure to teach me how to be the perfect hostess, so I understand the pressure you feel. However, unlike you, I have always loved and have embraced hosting events. I get so much pleasure from planning such events, I have decided to choose event planning as my career path. Event planning/ hosting is not for all women, and it is for some men; I agree that society shouldn’t look at these activities as feminine, and except that hosting a good event just takes a lot of organizational skills, strong attention to detail, and leadership skills. In fact, I work with 3 other event planners within the hotel I work for, and out of the 4 of us, I am the only woman. With that in mind, I do believe that society is beginning to embrace women who do not enjoy hosting and event planning and beginning to expect the activities they do enjoy, no matter how “untraditional”.
I am the same way. I really enjoy talking and interacting with people; however, I really like having time to myself and being able to just be in my own thoughts sometimes. Being a male, I have never really had to worry about being an ambivert, and it’s interesting for me to read how some women go through the troubles of either not being social enough or being too social because this is something that I did not know women struggled with. I am happy that I read your article and appreciate you taking the time to share your point of view.
I can relate to your post so much! People always think that I am an extrovert but what they don’t know is I force myself to act like that. There are so many factors that play into why I feel like I have to be like that. Also, I agree about when you said you’re an extroverted introvert and that you need time alone after socializing, cause I am the same way. Sometimes we just need a break from all of that.