A woman with a sea for hair stares out peacefully

Our downfall is assumption.

Assumptions of what our lives need to look like in order to be beautiful.

We are taught that marriage, a house, and a family are all markers of a life well-lived. A necessary and natural unfolding of life’s quintessential experiences.

A partner will complete us.

A house will give us safety to grow.

A child will fulfill us and give our life purpose and meaning.

But these ‘goals’ only serve to create assumptions that further a system of oppression.

Men are taught to assume that women will take care of them, make their lives better, and afford them status and support while asking little to nothing in return.

Women are taught to assume that a relationship with a man will fulfill her, make her feel wanted, valuable, or beautiful. It is assumed that the perfect man exists for each woman and that she will bloom for him and become more than she could ever be alone.

But no one ends up satisfied. 

Men are taught to assume that owning a home and all the things that come with it will make them more affluent and appear to all the world as a success.

Women are taught to assume that making and keeping a good home is a mark of femininity and womanhood. Taking care of others becomes not only a point of pride but an identity.

But ownership only drives capitalism, feeds consumerism, and creates a gilded cage for women that they are then expected to keep clean. 

Men are taught to assume that having children is important to pass on their lineage—a mark of commitment to their partner and their family.

Women are taught to assume that having children is the most important kind of love, that it is a biological imperative and a necessary experience of what it is to be a woman.

But having children is not a necessary experience of life. Children are people who are being brought into a broken system we have not tried to heal; they fail because they never received the support they needed to succeed. Both parent and child are irrevocably harmed. 

But what would happen if we destroyed these assumptions about what life should be?

What would remain?

What would it be like to live in a place where men do not assume that they are the central axis on which the world spins but are forced to find themselves and take care in tending to their own well-being in addition to that of those around them?

What would it be like to live in a world where women are able to choose what their life looks like without fear, or pressure, or the limitations of gendered experiences? What powers would women be able to find? And what systems would crumble in their wake?

What would daily interactions between men and women be like if there was no assumption of power or worthiness?

Who would any of us have become if there were no assumptions of life’s charted course?

I want to find out.

Leean Gill

Leean Gill

Leean Gill, Soultype 9, is a student in the NEATO Pathway 2 – New Equations Fusion program. Leean is from California, USA, and is currently traveling the world while writing, drawing, and collecting incredible experiences.