I tried to explain this to someone somewhat recently, but I couldn't have said it quite like this. Anyways, here's an interesting quote about young adult women, from Courtney Martin in her book Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters:,
We are relentless, judgmental with ourselves, and forgiving to others. We never want to be as passive-aggressive as our mothers, never want to marry men as uninspired as our fathers. We carry the world of guilt — center of families, keeper of relationships, caretaker of friends — with a new world of control/ambition — rich, independent, powerful. We are the daughters of feminists who said, "You can be anything" and we heard "You have to be everything."
We must get A's. We must make money. We must save the world. We must be thin. We must be unflappable. We must be beautiful. We are the anorectics, the bulimics, the overexercisers, the overeaters. We must be perfect. We must make it look effortless.
I have to admit, I feel this so strongly somedays. And I hope by recognizing it, I can see how to defeat this prevailing attitude in my own life.