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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UTSA chapter.

Women get mocked constantly, whether it is about how we dress, talk, our interests, or even how we sit. Women will be made fun of because they are “tomboys” because that means we are trying to be like men to fit in. Women will be made fun of when we are too “girly” because that means we are too soft. Women can walk in a certain way, and society will find flaws in it.

One of the several ways in which women get ridiculed constantly is rom-coms. Everyone from comedians to writers have mocked women for having unrealistic expectations by watching rom-coms. Isn’t it crazy how wanting a man who is actually a good guy is considered unrealistic? If a woman desires a great romance and wants to settle down and have a family one day, people think she needs to be more grounded. Society will make fun of women because they think they want to be housewives and don’t have ambition. On the other hand, if a woman wants never to have kids, not settle down, and isn’t looking ever to get married, “it’s just a phase.”

Why is being a girl such a burden? We will put on makeup to feel good about ourselves, and men will think it impresses them. We won’t put on makeup because we don’t feel like it, and men will think we are lazy. Men will have the audacity to call us too emotional, ask us if we are on our period, proving that the only time we as humans are allowed to show our emotions is when our body is bleeding. When a man is open about his emotions, we call him emotionally intelligent, and when a woman does the same, she is called dramatic. So much of everything we do has become about men, how they see us and how much the male gaze affects women’s mental health. It is insane to think that anything we do is for us.

Just because men claim these things, doesn’t mean they belong to them. Not all men will be misogynistic and are looking for ways to hurt women’s self-esteem, which is why we feel guilty making bold claims about how much the male gaze has hurt our mental health. We look too fat, too short, too skinny, too tall. There is no satisfaction with the male gaze. Women and non-binary people are at a much higher risk of getting an eating disorder because the media will show unattainable beauty standards targeted towards them. Even the “perfect” models might suffer from mental health problems; the modeling industry and its strict dieting rules are impossible to keep to. They will have a woman with big boobs, tiny waist, and big thighs laying there almost naked to sell perfume for women, but still appeals to a male audience.

We have suffered and given up our true identity for far too long now, and it is time to reclaim that. It is about time we take power back into our hands, ladies. Doing that doesn’t mean we stop caring out the mental health of all genders, all that means is we start taking care of ourselves the way we want to be taken care of by others. It means we stop letting anyone tell us our interests are dumb and too girly. It means we own the girly side, we own the tomboy side, we own all the other sides in between and beyond because it is about time we made it about us and not them! It is about time we wreck the patriarchy with pride and not shame!