“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” Many of us wake up each morning and before we grab that first cup of coffee or take a shower we put on our mask. 

Remember when you were five years old and you didn’t have to wear a mask, the innocence of childhood is lost very quickly in a world that has lost its soul. 

We are conditioned to speak, behave and respond in certain ways to meet the norms of modern society. We take on gender roles as early as our first five years of life. The first mask we put on as children is either the color blue or pink. 

Today I reflect on the role of women in society and the masks that they have to wear. Women who have to work twice as hard for just half of the recognition or salary that a man would get, women who silently live in pain and smile when she is asked if she is okay, women who keep giving but never get anything in return, women who have become nothing more than an empty shell because she poured herself into everyone else and then still pretends that all is well. 

One of the hardest roles I ever had to play was Dumb, I’m sure many women can relate. It’s when you were 7 years old and you could climb that tree faster than your brother but you let him win, it’s when you were 16 in chemistry class, even though you knew the answer to the question, the boy you liked didn’t so you pretended to struggle too, it’s when your friends told you in 12th grade not to be a smart mouth because you wouldn’t find a date to the prom, it’s when you got let go from your first job because you stood up to your male manager, it’s when you had your first serious relationship and didn’t question him about his lies because women who do are called crazy, it’s when you reserved your comments on a particular topic on social media because you were tired of being called an erratic feminist by a stranger. 

The fear of rejection, the fear of labels, the fear of being alone has forced women into submissive roles. We have come a long way since the days of women being burned or hung because they were believed to be witches but modern day society has found new and creative ways to ensure that it is nearly impossible for women to not play dumb and get away with it. Women were and still are conditioned by a patriarchal society. Although many women have seen the light, there are so many more who still live in the dark. I believe it’s our responsibility to enlighten the path of women we interact with. To ignite a spark in just one other person keeps the fire burning. 

I however have made the conscious decision to never play never dumb again, I choose to never wear that mask again, I choose to wake up each morning and leave the house without a mask and if my bare skin shows and people think I look like a monster then so be it because with that comes a freedom and power that is overwhelming, a sense of peace that can only be found when you silence the noise of the play by walking away from the stage.