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.