Self-Esteem in Women
In almost every part of the world and throughout history, women have been regarded (and taught to regard themselves) as the inferior of men.
Women-as-inferior is not an idea that supports female self-esteem. Can anyone doubt that it has had a tragic effect on most women’s view of themselves? Even contemporary women who consider themselves thoroughly “emancipated” are prey to the pernicious influence of this ideology.
One of the most positive aspects of the women’s movement is its insistence that women think for themselves about who they are and what they want. Unfortunately, this directive by itself is not enough to overcome the long-standing traditions of subjugation and discrimination against women.
Impact of Culture and Society on Gender Roles
Some version of woman-as-inferior is found in the “cultural unconscious” of just about every society that has ever existed- and in the “cultural conscious” as well. Even in ostensibly progressive countries like the United States, many forms of self-assertion are more acceptable for men than for women. Women are still often penalized when they practice the natural self-assertiveness that is their birthright as human beings.
Low Self-Esteem and Sexuality in Women
In both men and women, a lack of self-esteem sometimes manifests in sexual promiscuity. Yet social mores dictate that men are celebrated for their sexual conquests while women are condemned as sexually indiscriminate. In reality, neither men nor women can attain a healthy sense of self-esteem through sexual promiscuity.
Despite this, some women with low self-esteem do become sexually indiscriminate in a misguided attempt to validate their worth or appeal. This road can only lead away from healthy self-esteem.