Students share what womanhood means to them

Emilee Tosh, Campus Reporter

March is Women’s History Month, a month dedicated to recognizing the achievements of  women in all fields of study, while also bringing the historical figures who came before them into conversation. Students at Eastern have been thinking about Women’s History Month and how they feel about it.

When asked what being a woman means to her, Maddie Powers, a sophomore English major, said, “To me, being a woman means I am too afraid to walk in the dark by myself. It means if I am not constantly smiling someone will tell me, ‘just smile, you’re much prettier that way’. Sometimes I feel being a woman can be infuriating. I have to put up with certain things that a man wouldn’t have to. On the other hand, being a woman makes me feel empowered.” 

Serena Voss, a freshman Psychology major, said that some of the best advice she got from a woman was “The best advice I have received from another woman is to never give up and do not do anything half-heartedly.”

Abby Devore, a freshman Psychology major, said that her mom gave her some advice she lives by. 

“My mom has always told me to make sure I do not let anybody treat me badly. She always taught me I deserve to be treated with kindness and not to settle for anything less than that,” Devore said. “She taught me to know my worth.”

Since Women’s History Month is about recognizing all the amazing women in the world, students have thought about who the most influential women in their lives were. Devore also said that her mom is one of the biggest influences on her.

“My mom has put me on the right path and kept me on there when I started to stray,” Devore said.

Powers said that even though she didn’t know anyone personally, she did look up to Eve Sedgwick. “She was a soft-spoken woman, but that only made the words she wrote and spoke more powerful. She was not afraid to speak the truth no matter how harsh it was. She made wrote several fundamental pieces that contributed to Queer Theory.” 

Voss contributed by saying “I admire Rosie the Riveter as she played a very strong part by being an advocate for women’s equality.”

Not only did they reflect on those who inspired them, these students also considered which challenges the next generation of women are going to encounter.

“We have been the ‘guinea pigs’ for technology, which has led to us having so many mental health issues. We grew up with Instagram models and unrealistic expectations, and I worry it will only get worse from here on out.” Voss said “I feel that the biggest challenge, as it is a challenge, that I feel is growing rather than shrinking is a woman being able to confidently find their own worth. It can be so hard to tell yourself that you are worth it when there are so many other ‘perfect’ people around you.” 

Powers she hopes to see changes in the way women are seen. 

“I want the beauty standards of women to change. A certain body type should not be more beautiful and accepted over others. I think how a woman chooses to express herself is beautiful. She should be free to express herself without judgement. Who are we to have set beauty standards? Beauty has no set definition nor boundaries. So why do we try to lock beauty down? It should be a free thing that we all have that has no limitations … Women just impress me so much. They are beautiful and so strong. My favorite thing about being a woman is when I am able to be supported and support other women. I love the feeling of unity of being there for each other rather than dragging each other down”, which these assumptions have led to.”

When asked what advice she would give other women, Voss replied, “A piece of advice I would give to other women is to not be afraid to show off the beautiful things about you or step back from a job because you are a woman. Basically, do your best to put yourself out there to advocate for yourself and others.”

Devore agreed, stating “You should always stay true to who you are and be confident in yourself and your talents. Do not let others tell you who you are or who you need to be; you’re perfect the way you are.”

Powers concluded, “I would tell other women to be selfish. To do what makes you happy. Wear what makes you feel beautiful. Wear make-up or don’t. Who cares? Build up the self you want to be and become her.”

 

Emilee Tosh can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]