The Expectations of Women

A Work of Artifice

The bonsai tree 
in the attractive pot 
could have grown eighty feet tall 
on the side of a mountain 
till split by lightning. 
But a gardener 
carefully pruned it. 
It is nine inches high. 
Every day as he 
whittles back the branches 
the gardener croons, 
It is your nature 
to be small and cozy, 
domestic and weak; 
how lucky, little tree, 
to have a pot to grow in. 
With living creatures 
one must begin very early 
to dwarf their growth: 
the bound feet, 
the crippled brain, 
the hair in curlers, 
the hands you 
love to touch.

Marge Piercy
This poem is comparing a small, typical bonsai tree to a woman. The bonsai tree had the potential, strength, and will to grow to 80 feet tall but was restricted and tamed as a small tree and for the rest of its existence was maintained and cut to take the form of what the gardener wanted it to look like.
A girl or woman has as much potential, strength, and will to grow and thrive as a tree and any man. In the minds of most of society, from a young age a girl is supposed to be delicate, proper, and act like a lady. She is taught that she needs to look presentable and one day she’s going to get married, have children, and her husband will support her and take care of her. Women also have this whole demand on their shoulders to always look good and I feel that most young girls and women have an expectation to look like the models in magazines and the actresses on tv, which most of them go through hours of make up and air brushing and editing to look that good.  I have so many problems with this. First off, the idea that a man will support you should not be engraved into a young girls brain because if something ever happens to him or the relationship doesn’t work out then what’s her plan B? Maybe she finished college and got her stuff together but now she has her kids and has settled down and doesn’t have too much work experience. In my opinion a woman should have gotten her career together and is able to financially support herself before she gets married. These should be the new guidelines for women in America. Also, a girl should look the way she wants to look. Whatever makes her feel comfortable is the priority! She should never feel as if she has to change herself for a guy she’s trying to impress or to meet status quo. It’s hard to change the imagery in your brain when you hear the words: Beautiful, Pretty, Perfect, Gorgeous, and Good Looking. It may take a while to reshape the perception of these words in society. Things have definitely come a long way though. Comparing the role of women in the present year to one hundred years ago is completely different. A woman’s major role was to be a house wife, take care of children, and cook. I’m not saying all women want to be these butch, deep voiced, manly women but I think I can say that most women want to be looked at as if they can do anything that a man can do and they can do it just as well. Women don’t need to meet the “standards” of what a female is supposed to be. They NEED to be what they WANT to be, not what they HAVE to be.
Here are some songs that I like that talk about girl empowerment and independence:

Scubs by TLC. Talking about girls not settling for a guy who is just going to hold you down.

That Thing by Lauryn Hill. She speaks out girls(and guys) not respecting themselves enough to wait and not give everything away.

Beautiful by Eminem. He’s just rapping about being accepted for who you are and not to judge people until you know what they’ve gone through.

And the MOST cliche song about girls wanting respect 😛

Aretha Franklin singing the song respect. That just sums it all up huh?


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