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November 1, 2022

I am not your perfect girl anymore

It’s time we redefine what it means to be a woman today
Throughout+history%2C+girls+have+been+taught+to+maintain+a+role+in+society%2C+often+accommodating+to+the+pressures+and+needs+of+others.+The+Sidekick+CHS9+editor+Nyah+Rama+thinks+the+unequal+expectations+placed+on+women+has+a+negative+sociological+and+psychological+effect+on+them.+Graphic+by+Minori+Kunte.
Minori Kunte
Throughout history, girls have been taught to maintain a role in society, often accommodating to the pressures and needs of others. The Sidekick CHS9 editor Nyah Rama thinks the unequal expectations placed on women has a negative sociological and psychological effect on them. Graphic by Minori Kunte.

Last month I said the words “I’m sorry” at least five times a day.

Why?, you may ask. Did she say something rude to a teacher? Did she hurt a friend’s feelings? Did she turn in an assignment late?

Nope. I am simply one of billions of girls who have been psychologically conditioned by society to believe the simple act of expressing an emotion calls for an apology.

Being a woman in modern society has gotten increasingly difficult throughout the years. Women are held to an impossible standard, one that is full of contradictions, that can only lead to failure and negative psychological ramifications. Hollywood actress America Ferrara said it best in her monologue in the movie Barbie.

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“It is impossible to be a woman,” Ferrara said. “You are so beautiful and smart and it kills me that you don’t think you’re good enough. Like, we have to always be extraordinary, but somehow we’re always doing it wrong.”

To society, being a woman means you have to be skinny but cannot voice your desire to be so, be ambitious but not aggressive, you cannot have a lot of opinions otherwise you are seen as overbearing. You cannot express any desires of your own because even though the world is progressing, women should still live to serve others and never themselves. But most importantly, in all your efforts to be perfect, everything you are doing is still wrong.

With these impossible standards, how is a woman supposed to exist freely in society? The answer is simple, she can’t.

It has been ingrained in us since the beginning of time to be polite, airy and easily digestible creatures so as not to be a burden on society. I remember as a little girl a time I was asked what I wanted as a present. I had never responded like this before in my life but instead of saying the polite, “you do not have to get me anything,” I expressed a desire. Soon after, I was scolded and made to feel ashamed for doing so.

I had forgotten the cardinal rule girls must live by: never express a desire, never show a real emotion other than happiness, never ask for too much. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

It is not as if girls grow up unaware of this phenomenon. They notice it as early as high school when they start to catch those typical behaviors in themselves. But with generations of psychological conditioning, how are we supposed to combat this? There is always the feminist movement, but even that tends to get a bad reputation among men, labeling feminists as hysterical, angry and once again, overbearing.

Well, I am tired of it. I am tired of living according to others’ expectations of me. I am tired of trying to find the perfect personality that makes everyone love me. I am tired of never feeling at home in my skin or feeling like I am truly living the life I want. If my existence is overbearing to you, don’t talk to me. If I don’t look attractive to you, don’t look at me. If I am too ambitious for you, work harder.

It is high time that women and society learn a clear lesson: whatever kind of woman you are, you are right. Whether you are thin or not, whether you are louder or more subdued or highly ambitious, you are correct in being the way you are and it should not matter what anyone else thinks as long as you are living the life you are proud of.

For us to inspire true change, women need to love each other for who we are and support each other. We cannot expect immediate change, but living our lives unbothered by society’s opinion of us and uniting with the diversity making us who we are is the best thing we can do. Women are powerful and capable of great things – it is time the world sees that.

I should not have to simplify my personality for you and it is not my problem if I am not easily digestible. My personality does not fit in a box with perfectly creased edges; it is a big, loud, beautiful jumble and it is not yours to dim. My emotions are not yours to control and maintain and it is not my job to bend and break to fit the mold that you put me in.

I am not your perfect girl anymore.

Follow Nyah (@nyah_rama) and @CHSCampusNews on X. 

This story was originally published on Coppell Student Media on October 16, 2023.