Sandra Bocharnikov is a third year at UVa who started the XX Standard, a campaign focused on women’s advocacy. We caught up with her this week to hear more about the XX standard and how women can take charge of their individulaity and push against society’s expectations.
Name: Sandra Bocharnikov
Hometown: Oakton VA
What is the XX Standard campaign and what’s your involvement?
The XX Standard focuses to encourage women to live by the individual standard, which they set for themselves, instead of one set by society or their peers. The campaign also strives to foster discussion and acceptance about the different perceptions of femininity and raise awareness about challenges due to gender that women face around the world. I am the founder and current co-director for the campaign, working with an executive board of ten members.
Where did you get the idea for creating this campaign?
After working as a first year resident advisor, I was surprised to see many women who were strong and independent still trying to conform or fit to a societal expectation of what a woman is. Although at UVA we are surrounded by some of the strongest female leaders of our time, I still found it interesting that the gossip, judgment,, and stereotyping of gender found in high school had managed to find its way to college and even the real world. In addition, after working with a lot of elementary and middle school aged children in public schools, I saw that this issue begins early. Although we are given so much opportunity now both socially and politically, we still don’t give ourselves, as women, the respect that we’ve earned and deserve.
What do you think are the biggest challenges due to gender women face today?
I think the biggest challenge that women face today is themselves. The lack of respect that we experience doesn’t just come from other people and “society”. A lot of it comes from ourselves and our fellow women. It’s time to stop shifting the blame and give others the respect that they deserve, no matter what they believe. Essentially, we need to stop letting these challenges happen to ourselves. These external influences, such as the media, will continue to push against us and challenge us, as long as we view them as obstacles and allow ourselves to succumb to the standards that they set.
What can we do on a daily basis to change the way we see ourselves and how society sees us?
A lot of campaigns and movements focus on telling us to accept our body in order to help improve our self-esteem. But changing the way you see yourself goes beyond that. Instead of appreciating how you look, appreciate and love the way you act, appreciate what you do that’s different from anyone else. By accepting ourselves for who we are as women, but more importantly, as individuals, we can change the way that we see ourselves. That’s the goal. We should embrace the ability we have in modern times to choose what we believe and how we express ourselves and our femininity. But even more importantly, to help us accept ourselves, we need to accept other women and individuals for setting their own standard. Take a tip from “Jessica’s Daily Affirmation“. Love what you have, where you’ve gotten and what you’ve given, and say it to yourself.
How can I get involved with the campaign?
Our next event will be this Friday, February 15th at 7pm in Gilmer 190. We will being showing the documentary “Mansoeme”, in order to sponsor conversation about modern masculinity and gender stereotyping.