Please Stop Saying "She’s desperate for attention!"

So, is anyone else tired of hearing people moaning about how girls are “desperate for attention”? I mean, it’s no wonder female comedians and entertainers are so underrepresented; so often women who claim the limelight are criticised for being desperate for attention.

And the reason more women are being accused of being attention seeking is not because women are more attention seeking than men. It’s because men are more readily accepted in to positions of power and influence. Women, on the other hand, are expected to be more passive and unassuming. If a woman attempts to step in to the limelight and does things that do not fit with what is expected of a woman, she will be branded as an “attention whore” and disregarded because of it. Branding somebody in this fashion is an easy way to belittle or dismiss a person’s thoughts, feelings and opinions.

This criticism of women trying to get too much attention is applied to a variety of things. It’s used as a criticism for photographs, YouTube videos, the amount a woman speaks, hairstyles, fashion sense, career choices and is even used to degrade women who have been courageous enough to speak out about mental health problems, abuse or other issues. Social media is an everyday example of when women are regularly accused of being attention seeking. If a woman updates her status regularly, posts a lot of photos or comments on things frequently she will often be criticised for being attention seeking. This demonstrates the idea that women must be unassuming and not take up too much space, even if it is a virtual space, online. The insult “attention whore” is a particularly interesting one as it implies that a woman who places herself in the limelight or commands the attention of many people is “slutty”.

But we don’t need to be reinforcing that sexist crap anymore!

Another crazy thing about this “attention shaming” is that everyone needs attention. Everyone needs a certain amount of acceptance, love and validation so why is it such a terrible thing to seek these things? Sure, some people may be actually be desperate for attention. But instead of belittling them we should either give them the love and attention they need or, at least respect the fact that they are going through some personal issues and need a little more attention then perhaps we do. 

Despite this, there is often an assumption that people and especially women who seek attention must be troubled or “messed up” in some way. This is simply untrue. The world is made up of a variety of people; some more introverted, some more extroverted, some very independent, some more reliant on the support of others. None of these traits are better or worse than each other and I personally would like to be more attention seeking, when it comes to talking about concerns or fears.

So, women of the world and anyone else who has ever been labelled as an “attention whore”, you continue expressing yourself and taking up space. Don’t let anyone tell you that you are not valuable or that you aren’t worth paying attention to. You are fab.

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