In today’s society, turning our devices has become a nearly impossible task. As beneficial as modern technological advancements are, they make our world fast-paced and constantly interconnected. Emails, Snapchats and tweets, just to name a few, are sent 24/7, making it a challenge for people to
shut out the world around them and take some time for themselves. Moreover, these advancements contribute to society’s push to say “yes” constantly — “yes” to opting to do more work and “yes” to responding to notifications immediately.
Lena Dunham is protesting this aspect of society. She has decided to make use of the word “no” more often in 2016, and encourages women in the working world to do the same.
Dunham explains that the cycle of working, compromising relationships with others and continuing to work more has caused her to suffer greatly. She feels that the need to always be in tune with the world pushes people until they crack. In hopes of resolving this, she is urging women to take their own happiness into account. Along with the use of the word “no,” Dunham raises the point that women should not be afraid to negotiate in their work. Rather, they should value their self-worth and not completely sacrifice it for a job.
I did not have to think about this article twice. My immediate instinct was, “Preach, Lena, preach.” Now, I do not mind some stress, because I feel that it can act as some sort of motivation. In fact, it would almost feel out of place for there to be zero stress in my life. That being said, I think people today suffer from an astronomical amount of stress. There is consistent pressure to reply right away and a harsh fear that saying no will cause others to look down on you. We sacrifice necessary hours of sleep and recreational time to please others, to work hard. As Dunham suggests, however, we need to value ourselves, too. I think to work hard and to work well, a person needs to be happy and feel a sense of purpose taking the stress and pressure that comes with it rather than allowing the stress to take first place in their life.
Although I agree that, on average, women have a more difficult time in the working world than men do, I actually think that both genders can benefit from Dunham’s message. I do not think Dunham’s message applies to just the working world, but also to academic life. I am sure many students would agree with me when I say that school seems to be an around-the-clock job, particularly as information can now be accessed via both school websites and social media platforms. With the integration of the Internet so strongly intact, it is the perfect time for all to embrace Dunham’s statements. So no matter your gender, no matter your age, whether student or professional, it is time to take a deep breath, slow down a bit and re-learn the value of the word “no” to promote a happier and healthier state of mind.