How Society's Expectations of Females Shape Girls' Lives

1989 Words Nov 22nd, 2012 8 Pages
Michelle Plante
10/10/12
How Society’s Expectations of Females Shape Girls’ Lives Society’s high expectations of females guide their everyday actions and decision making whether consciously or subconsciously. In Stephen Hinshaw’s essay “Impossible Expectations” he discusses what he calls the “Triple Bind” where girls are supposed to be good at both typical girl and guy things as well as conform to a specific set of standards created by society. These contradictory expectations shape girls’ lives and drive their decision making from what type of career they will pursue to how they dress. Hinshaw also explained that girls are supposed to fit a cookie cutter image portrayed by the media yet encouraged to break the mold at the same time,
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According to Hinshaw, pleasing others is a typical female trait. Erica didn’t really want to go to the club to “mess around” with guys, but she did it because Jasmine was her friend and she may have felt obligated to go with her. She didn’t feel comfortable with what Jasmine was doing, yet she chose to go along with everything anyway to avoid confrontation. It wasn’t until the point where she didn’t feel safe that she finally chose to abandon Jasmine at the hotel. In today’s society, Hinshaw pointed out that girls are expected to be good at the typical male things. Because of this, girls are more focused on their career and education rather than starting a family. “In today’s competitive environment, girl skills are not enough” (Hinshaw 826). On top of female skills, girls must also be more assertive like guys, excel in school to get into a good college, and be a good athlete. The narrator in “The Story of My Body” displayed the struggle to meet these expectations even though that involved doing things she didn’t want to do. She was a smart girl who was not interested in sports, yet wanted to be picked for teams in her gym class: “I wanted to be wanted. I wanted to be chosen for the teams” (Cofer 80). It wasn’t until later in her life that she finally focused on the things she truly wanted and was good at.
Girls constantly feel pressure
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