There is an unspoken rule that in this crazy world of unattainable standards and one-track minded men, girls have to stick together. That isn’t to say that all guys are horrible, but the majority of the time, dealing with them and their idiosyncrasies can be quite frustrating. We girls may never be able to please everyone or completely figure out why boys think and act the way they do, but it is better to have someone to go through all of that confusion with someone rather than face it alone.
A couple of my best girlfriends are enduring rough patches simultaneously in their academic spheres and love lives. They both are experiencing the struggles that arise with higher levels of post-secondary education (one is in her sophomore year of college; the other is completing her first year of medical school). Love is causing each of them a significant amount of stress, leading them to question not only their choices of guys, but also their personal esteem and worth.
Many of you have already been down this road. You may presently be on this unfortunate highway, stuck in a horrible mess of obnoxious-boy traffic until you have enough clearance to take off on the nearest exit (I apologize for the road metaphors; it was just too easy). I’ve been there, still am to an extent. Eighty-five percent of the time, I strut with a confident attitude of a woman who does not need a man to make her happy, but during the fifteen percent, I wonder what life would be like with a guy to share my accomplishments with, someone who would rub my feet and allow me to pay for dinner once in a while. Someone I can fight and flirt with and enjoy all of life’s experiences with. But if there is something I have learned at my young age, it is that things happen the way they should when they should, and life always works out the way it is supposed to.
But that doesn’t negate that idea that being a girl sometimes sucks. We endure periods and mood swings and uncontrollable acne during said periods and mood swings while men are left to enjoy the freedoms connected to this patriarchal society (I promise, I’m not a hardcore feminist, but admit it, our world is very much archaically male-dominated). Women are still expected to bear the weight of domestic responsibilities, and if ever there lay a problem within the household, it is a women’s duty to manage it. There is unyielding pressure for females to conform to societal stereotypes: maintaining a certain weight, avoiding gray hairs, adhering to certain fashions- the list is endless. The point is, women deal with a myriad of stresses and, much of the time, work twice as hard as men; yet our contributions to the world are rarely acknowledged, and if they are, it is always compared to the successes of men.
Many women in country music broke through the barriers that stifled female progression into the genre. Loretta Lynn paved the way for all women, lyrically opening up discussions on topics that were considered taboo, such as unaware mistresses, philandering husbands, and even birth control. Reba McEntire continues to serve as a pioneering voice, discussing prostitution, feminine empowerment, and the controversial subject of AIDS. Today, the majority of country music’s women preach stories of comeuppance from men and the significance of supporting fellow females in all of their endeavors.
One of my favorite songs that laud strong women is, “This One’s For the Girls by Martina McBride. The song emphasizes with all generations, from teenagers to mid-twenties to forty-year-olds, understanding all of the issues that come with those ages, but patiently reassuring every girl that no matter how overwhelmed they feel, they are beautiful for who they are and the dreams they dream.
So tonight, I dedicate this song to two of my beautiful best friends and any girl who reads this. You’re beautiful the way you are. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.