Lately I’ve been contemplating some of the silly things we judge others and ourselves for, and realizing that many of those things are merely social constructs. Some fake rule or regulation that someone made up along the way to keep people “trained” and thinking inside the box.
As an example, here’s one that I’ve come across more than once in my life: women over 40 shouldn’t wear their hair long. This one has come from multiple sources in my social network. And I got to thinking…why the hell not? What could possibly be wrong about a woman wearing her hair long after 40?
That’s right. There’s absolutely no reason why women over 40 shouldn’t wear their hair long. This is just a rule that some anonymous someone made up along the way that has been perpetuated over time.
For the last several years, I’ve been wearing my hair long, well into my 40s, with this mindset of it somehow being my last hurrah. Then suddenly I realized that this line of thinking is utter nonsense! I like my hair long and it looks good on me long, so why the hell should I bend to meet some social construct? I shouldn’t and I won’t. I will continue to wear my hair long as long as I see fit, grey hairs a-shimmering!
This may seem like a trivial matter – and in some respects it is, because really, it’s just hair. But that’s the point – it’s just hair…why should anyone be telling me that there’s a right and wrong way to wear it?
What’s not trivial is that we allow these social constructs to govern our thinking and our life choices, big and small.
When you consider a social construct for what it is – some random rule someone somewhere made up because it suited their world view, do you really feel the need to follow it?
I think that if we give some of these social constructs a second thought, we may deem them entirely useless, especially those about appearance, more specifically women’s appearances. There are so many do’s and don’ts for women – don’t wear this, don’t do/wear/say this over the age of 30/40/50, and don’t “let yourself go” – pick your poison. And in my opinion, they are poison. Those social constructs poison our minds to focus on what “society” thinks we should focus on, rather than focus on more meaningful things, like pursuing our careers, raising our families, growing into the kind of people we think we should be, or just plain experiencing life on our own terms.
So ponder this idea for a bit…what social constructs have you been adhering to that really don’t suit you? Not only is it time to let your hair down, but it’s also time to do away with all of the concepts that some anonymous rule maker has prescribed for you.
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