Skip To Content
  • Cute badge

This Woman Is Starting A Conversation About The Toxic Double Standards In Society, And Her Illustrations Are Spot On

Illustrator Lainey Molnar is challenging double standards in society through her thought-provoking art. "The amount of women who feel seen and empowered to talk about things considered taboo? It's magic."

During lockdown in 2020, illustrator Lainey Molnar started sharing her personal experiences as a woman through art. Now, her comics — which have expanded outside of herself to address themes like gender relations and double standards in society — have been shared by millions.

"It all started with my first-hand experiences but after the community started growing, my content turned into less of a life story and more of a conversation," Lainey told BuzzFeed. "I facilitate discussions over all kinds of topics related to womanhood, listen to stories from all over the world, and get inspired by other creators too."

As a self-described "middle class, slim, white woman," Lainey feels as though her "personal experiences only go so far." Which is why she highlights not only her reality navigating through life but the experiences of women of color as well. And through this, her audience of over one million followers finds common ground to start conversations about how women from different backgrounds are treated in society when compared to their male counterparts.

Her work tackles expectations women face that men aren't as largely burdened with, such as taking care of the household, children, or the higher standard of their physical appearances both before and after birth.

Lainey told BuzzFeed that she feels most inclined to challenge "the patriarchal conditioning that there is only one right way to be a woman: it is to be slim, feminine, submissive, modest, being a wife and a mother, [and] following tradition," she said. "But even when someone checks all the boxes, they will be judged and discriminated against. This entire system is extremely problematic, there is simply no winning."

Through her viral illustrations, though, she creates a space for all genders to recognize and confront these indifferences. "They're perfect to quite literally show a mirror to society," Lainey said. "[It's a] ripple-wave of conversation. Under my posts, between women in living rooms or wine bars; between women who follow me and their male partners or family members. The amount of women who feel seen and empowered to talk about things considered taboo. It's magic."

And it's this acknowledgment, Lainey says, of larger issues women experience on a daily basis that connects them. "The division created by society sometimes disables women to realize that millions of us go through the same exact things."

"We are put in a position to compete with other women in the Perfection Olympics and talking about certain matters — or making certain life choices — are stigmatized and not talked about," she continued. "I like to think that my approach to bring these things to light is a straightforward way to start discussions women can bond over as shared experiences."

One peek at her comment section shows proof of an ongoing and much-needed dialogue from those who feel seen through her work:

comment saying the post was animation post was important

Lainey's art not only calls out differing treatments received by men versus women but also the way women are categorized and mislabeled as well.

Some may experience societal judgment and pressure from both insiders and outsiders who have beliefs about how women should dress, act, or how much they should work, and, as Lainey's art depicts, a level or worth may be unfairly assigned to someone based on these factors.

And it's this kind of thinking that she'd like to disrupt – though she understands it may be difficult to do so.

"Women internalize a lot of the patriarchal conditioning without analyzing it, just by being subjected to it our entire lives," the 33-year-old explained. "It's hard to question the beauty ideal when we watched our moms diet our entire lives; when we read women's magazines that dedicated 20 pages each month to how to get into shape; when we turned on the TV and had anti-wrinkle cream ads playing every single day."

"Same as with automatically looking down on sex workers after seeing how they're pictured in mass media and knowing that promiscuity is a literal slur," she continued. "Regardless of where we are on the gender spectrum, we are all stuck in a highly dysfunctional system that serves nobody, and the only way out is through awareness of our patterns."

Overall, through her illustrations, Lainey hopes to inspire kindness, compassion, and thought. "There are so many different points of view and to view the world in 'right or wrong' is a limiting and toxic belief," she said. "A lot of the automated thinking removes context, history, personal experience, and depth. The shortest way between two people is curiosity with kindness, and I'm building a community where we can all be vulnerable, be challenged in our way of thinking, and where we can develop more empathy for others."

If you want to see more of Lainey's thought-provoking illustrations, you can follow her on Instagram.