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15 Things Women Don’t Need To Do Though They’re Expected To

15 Things Women Don’t Need To Do Though They’re Expected To
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My husband once pointed out a bumper sticker that said, “Well behaved women seldom make history.” I know he’s proud of the bad girl in me.

There are a lot of things women are expected to do that they don’t really need to do. Fifteen is just the tip of the iceberg. It’s amazing how many rules there are that women ascribe to – just look at any magazine and you’ll find the list plastered to the front cover. So what happens when women don’t follow those rules? Shame, shame, shame? You become a social pariah? NO! It’s not true. Women who don’t follow the rules have tight friendships, strong communities and a lot of fun being themselves. The women I know who don’t clean their house, match their socks or wax their nether regions are joyful, successful and FULL OF LIFE.

An example of this is my friend, Masha, who absolutely fascinates me. She is a Russian expat and university professor of Political Science who has a partly shaved head; wears mismatched, brightly coloured clothes, tends a garden full of gnomes and disco balls, and uses the walls, ceilings and floors of her home as a gallery of stickers, graffiti, sparkles, painting, and the art of her friends and kids. Her home is frequently a jumble of toys, art and dirty dishes but is also one of the happiest place I go. She is the queen of the neighbourhood and there is no one she doesn’t know by name from beggars to bankers. By being herself, to the full extension of her ability, she has become much loved and respected. On top of that wonderful dividend for living an authentic life – she’s got a handsome, intelligent husband (who would drink her bath water) and two really great kids.

Here is a list (partly inspired by Masha) of things women are expected to do that I think should at least be optional and at most be banished from the guidebook.

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1. Be Nice

Women are often expected to “be nice.” One of the worst things women do is be “nice.” Nice is not the same as kind. Kind is good. Nice… there is a legion of things nice girls don’t do (most of which are a lot of fun). Kind women – they can do anything and do it with grace, dignity, humour, courage and still get laid on the way.

2. Keep Up With Fashion Trends

Contrary to the so called women’s magazines, women really do not need to buy the latest this, that or the other and you don’t have to spend your fortune on Jimmy Choo shoes or whatever is most fabulous this year. Finding your own signature style is fun and can bring beauty to your world but you don’t need to waste your precious resources – time and money – on what is hot this year.

3. Sit With Your Legs Together

Women can sit however they like, wherever they like. Have you ever sat on a bench with a man? He will spread his legs like eagle wings. I am absolutely certain this is a way of asserting dominance – like a cat who arches his back. Look how big I am, why I can’t hardly contain my package! Women, however; keep their legs tightly glued together for fear of… what? Why exactly is it unladylike to sit with your legs akimbo? As long as you are neat and clean and well advised why not take up a little more room. Lean in? Spread out!

4. Apologize

So many women I know apologize for existing, for entering a room, for speaking. “I’m sorry, is this a good time?” The apology is extraneous. “Is this a good time?” is thoughtful and that is all you need to be. When joining a conversation women will often apologize instead of saying, “excuse me.” Excuse me is polite and that is all you need. Try keeping track of how much you apologize (you won’t be sorry you did). Unless you hurt someone – don’t apologize.

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5. Explain

If you want to paint your house pink, smoke pot, learn Spanish or take a year off to travel the world, it’s your own damn choice and you don’t have explain it to anyone. You don’t have to tell the waiter about your root canal – just order water with no ice. You don’t have to justify shaving your head – get thee to a barber. You don’t need an excuse to go back to school at fifty: call up enrolment, enrol in an acting class and don’t tell anyone why you’re doing it. You don’t need approval. They only time you should explain yourself is when you’re late and even then an apology (as above) will do.

6. Clean Your House

Cleanliness is not next to godliness. It’s important to prevent the spread of disease and keep out varmints but other than that disorder can be a charming sign that you have more important things to do – like read books, hike, have sex or drink wine. Laundry is an excuse to be creative with your wardrobe. Toys everywhere are the signature of a happy childhood. Dirty dishes mean you had to get upstairs with that very attractive man (or woman) you share space with. Get up there. The dishes can wait. 

7. Have Kids

Not everyone should have kids. It doesn’t mean the childless are loveless or selfish. It means you don’t want to parent. That’s not so bad (I can testify to the sleep you will not lose and the “Dora” you will not have to watch). Do your thing and find fulfillment and love in the way you choose to live your life. I have kids. It’s been a great thing for me. It has made me a better person. It may not be that way for you. We are not all the same. We don’t need to be. It’s not a badge of honour to have a child nor is it a badge of honour to be childless.

8. Work Outside The Home

For a long time I thought work outside the home, ambition and success were very important. I had a revelation when I had my second child and stayed home. Suddenly, for the first time ever, I felt at peace. I lost anxiety. I spent more time outside and I didn’t give a damn about leaving my mark or making a difference. Small things became my joys. It’s not a perfect life but it’s a peaceful one. Working in the service of others is very rewarding for me. Becoming a better cook, playing kitchen hockey with my 3 year old son, talking with my 85 year old mother-in-law and learning the art of domesticity has been a great boon to my emotional life. I feel free. Our family is lucky to afford this. It is also a choice. I can if I want. I want.

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9. Work Inside The Home

Women don’t have to feel obligated to stay home with their kids or without them. It is still a topic of conversation and people forget that it’s not a new one. Most women in the world have to work. Since the beginning of time it has taken a village and historically, most children have been raised by extended family, friends of the family, boarding schools or a nanny (often, someone is minding the nanny’s kids). Taking care to provide for your children while taking care of your own needs teaches kids they can do what they want or need to do to find their own happiness. It ain’t easy or balanced. It requires juggling and it requires attention. It’s the choice you and your family make. Don’t let anyone judge you – especially you. File a formal complaint against the police in your head that shame your for your own nature. That’s police brutality and it has got to stop.

10. Wear A Shirt

My lovely stepdaughter shocks a lot of people in the summer time. She will strip off her shirt when playing volleyball or go for a swim in just her bottoms. She’s hot (in temperature, temperament and she is beautiful). She likes to feel the sun on her skin. She’s trained herself not to care about the sideways glances. Good for her. It is hot and they’re just baboo (as our sons call them). What the hell is going to happen if women take off their tops in North America? Bikinis are nearly as revealing and last I heard nipples don’t spread infection or cause world wars. I once joined her once on a barren secluded beach (I’m much more reserved than she is). Let me testify: the sun felt great!

11. Wear A Bra

Isn’t it the best feeling in the world to take your bra off, after a long day and whip it out through your sleeve? Oh my god. Isn’t it nice to walk around your house without the straps digging in your shoulders? If you don’t need it for comfort see what it’s like to go for a few days without your bra. Heaven. So, the neighbours talk. If they’re those kind of neighbours – they’ll talk anyway. Why not give them a little sugar for their coffee?

12. Wax Your Legs (etc.)

The etc. sure does hurt. I am a shaver of legs and to be honest I’ve really struggled with it. It makes me look little girl – hairless. I don’t like the social implications of that. I do, however; think it looks better. I have bought into the aesthetic. I buy into it for me. You do what you like to do – wax or shave. It should be a choice. The thing that really gets me is waxing the nether regions. That really hurts. It hurts a very sensitive place. Even after childbirth I can’t tolerate the pain and don’t think I should. Ouch. Leave it alone.

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13. Speak Quietly

Many women believe they must be soft spoken and that the sound of a woman’s voice, when loud, is irritating. Keeping your voice soft means it’s harder to hear you. That can be a good tool if you want people to pay attention but if you can’t be heard you will be ignored and you are not part of the conversation. A high, pitchy voice can be irritating and it also indicates a lack of confidence. It’s easy to fix that. Speak from your diaphram. It will make your voice warm and powerful. Voice lessons help and they do more than strengthen your voice. They are a really great for feeling emotionally connected and strong. I highly recommend taking a voice class.

14. Act Like A Lady

Good manners are important. I thoroughly believe this. I set a nice table, chew with my mouth closed and respect those around me. What I object to is all the things ladies are told they can’t do. Most of them are fun. Most things ladies can’t do actually open doors for women. It seems incredibly outdated to me to be told that there are things a lady does and does not do. Women now go into locker rooms, drive cars and wear pants (all ridiculous things once considered unladylike). In certain parts of the world these things are still off limits. No one should be limited and sisters have got to step up and say it should not happen anywhere. In jolly old England a BBC executive actually banned female presenters on children’s shows from wearing red lipstick because it sends the wrong message. I don’t think my three year old son speaks lipstick so luckily he’s not getting that message.

15. Agree With This Post

You don’t buy into this. You think women should be nice, keep up with fashion, sit with their legs together, apologize, explain, clean their house, have kids, work inside the home, work outside the home, wear swim tops, wax from top to bottom, wear a bra, speak softly, act like a lady and disagree with anything I’ve said. Go forth and be your own self! One thing women do not have to do is follow any kind of direction from any kind of article by any kind of person they don’t know.

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)
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You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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