This is what I’m NOT comfortable with.
Society’s rules and expectations of me, since the day I was born:
Be pretty. I must be thin, have a glowing complexion, straight and vividly white teeth, 20/20 eyesight, and a very good handle on how to properly use every cosmetic device known to womankind. It’s the end of the world if I ever should have a blemish (and not know how to cover it properly). I must have glossy fingernails, and if I’m not well-endowed in the chest region, nobody will look at me. If my nose is too large, it’s not pretty. If I’m not thin enough, men will never look at me. It’s not pretty to have “love handles” and if I ever fall prey to an eating disorder, it’s clearly my problem and obviously I have control over it. I should be ashamed for exhibiting these behaviors that were taught to me by society.
Be sociable with women. I’m a “slut” or a “loose woman” if I’m too sociable with men. I can have many “girl friends” but if most of my friends and acquaintances are male, clearly I must be having sex with them. And that’s just not right, you see. If I’m not sociable at all, or if I have trouble communicating with others the way other people seem to do so effortlessly, I must be mentally ill, and I should see a therapist to “correct” this “problem”.
Dress well. I must not dress provocatively (because if I do, and I get raped, it’ll be all my fault), or in any way that is not “en vogue”. It’s inappropriate to draw attention to myself, and even worse if I choose to dress modestly, but unusually. And if my eyes are bad, I better be wearing contacts, not glasses. Shame on me for thinking I had a right to a personality, and shame on me for being hard of sight. I must have done that to myself, huh?
Date men. If I couldn’t get a date in high school, there must have been something wrong with me. Maybe my hair was too long, or shaggy, or not the right colour. Maybe I wasn’t wearing the right make-up. Maybe I wasn’t sociable enough. Of course, it’s my fault that young boys have more on their mind than young girls. And if I wasn’t attracted to boys, that’s obviously a mental disorder. So I’m in my 20’s and I’m not interested in sex. I’ve also had two failed engagements because there must be something wrong with me. I guess I better see a therapist, or try to be more alluring (without, of course, coming off as a “slut”).
Get married. After all, that’s my central purpose in life. To find a man and marry him. Then I’m supposed to do all the housework, make him sandwiches, bow to his every little whim, and be a housewife. I’m not supposed to “pretend” I’m above a man in any way. If I even merely suggest inequality among the sexes, clearly I must be a bitch. I’m supposed to get married, because if I don’t, there must be something wrong with me. If I don’t marry a man, I’ll never survive on my own. I’m not supposed to go to college. I’m supposed to find a man who can support me because I’m incapable of doing it myself, and if I even try, I must have some kind of mental or sexual disorder. I should probably see a therapist for that “problem”.
Have children. I have sexual organs for one purpose and one purpose only: multiplication. If I skipped marriage and I’m living with a homosexual man who happens to be my best friend, no children will ever come out of that (but people will ask me if I’m sure we’re not fucking) and obviously that’s not the plan of action that’s right for me. If I should someday have an unwanted pregnancy, I should be ashamed for calling it “unwanted” and I should forget about being part of society if I have an abortion, because that’s murder, and women are not murderers. How will my parents ever become grandparents? How will I ever live a meaningful life if I don’t have children? I’d much rather have a cat, which means that there must be something wrong with me.
Other unspoken rules of womanhood:
Talking about the menstrual cycle is vulgar, obscene, and I should feel disgusting and ashamed for these functions that I cannot control.
I will always be questioned for my skills (driving, reading, writing, math, art, music, “dirty work” or manual labour) because I am obviously the weaker and dimmer sex. I have no right to complain if I am not paid as much as my male counterparts at work, even if we were hired at the same time, because obviously I’m not capable of doing as good of a job as they do, because I am a woman.
Everything I say is a product of my emotions, because I obviously lack a logical mind. I am expected to be fascinated with love stories, love songs, “chick flicks”, and muscular men; I am also expected to exhibit stereotypical behaviors such as compulsive shopping, poor driving, losing my patience, and constantly having PMS because obviously that’s all that could ever really upset me since I’m incapable of logical thought. I never have a legitimate reason for crying, either.
I should always try to be more like [insert name of “beautiful woman” here]. Men want the women they see on the magazines. Not some frumpy girl who can’t afford a nose job, doesn’t have the patience for fake eyelashes, and lives in the real world where you can’t photoshop your face before you leave the house.
These things hurt.
I’m a woman, and I love being a woman. I hate that society feels the need to govern our lives. We are taught that it’s okay to be ourselves, but out in the real world, apparently it’s not. THESE THINGS HURT. I encourage women and girls to think for themselves. You are beautiful and perfect just the way you are. If the world doesn’t like it, we have a tendency not to like it either, but it’s okay to like yourself. Loving yourself is an entirely different matter, and something I deeply hope to learn someday myself.
Society can take a walk.
- Anyone talking is asking to be interrupted.
- Anyone carrying money is asking to be robbed.
- Anyone eating is asking to choke.
- Anyone drinking is asking to be drugged.
- Anyone walking is asking to be tripped.
- Anyone with a face is asking to be punched.
- Anyone with a heart is asking for a heart attack.
- Anyone with arteries is asking for an aneurysm.
- Anyone not wearing a breastplate is asking to be stabbed.
- Anyone not wearing a bulletproof vest is asking to be shot.
This shouldn’t even need to be done.
I just started a new job with an unnamed company. As part of my training, I had to sit and watch videos for a few hours, about the company and its connection to a larger corporation. The videos were designed to highlight all the things the company stood for, and why it’s important to people.
One thing in particular pissed me off, however.
“When people think Smart, they think [company name here].”
And it went on to discuss how busy mothers are utterly blessed by the presence of this company, because they want to be “frugal” and “fashionistas”, then marched on to gargle out the nauseating pseudo-term “frugalista”, which, apparently, defines every woman on the face of the planet. Not once did they mention the incredible product lines for men as well; they didn’t even so much as mention the sons of these women - instead they went on about how “she” could shop for her “little girl” and so on and so forth.
It’s almost as if they expect every mother to be a stay-at-home mum who does nothing but do her husband’s/boyfriend’s bidding at the store, decorating the home and dressing the family on a budget. It’s disgusting and completely uncalled for.
Every day I see an equal number of women and men - childless, single, married, with child, young, old, very young, and every demographic you could possibly imagine - shopping in the store I work in. And yet all their marketing targets women as if the stores were built for the betterment of their lives, and not for the betterment of an entire community as a whole.
Society needs to drop this bullshit stereotype that entails that all women should aspire to be a perfect housewife. It’s stale; it’s dead and decomposing. I’d like to see it have a proper burial in my lifetime. This is the age of the enlightened and empowered woman. To hell with corporate advertising garbage.
Why is it that men can undergo voluntary sterilization without first having to father at least two children, whereas women cannot be voluntarily sterilized (in my case, full-force - I’d like to get rid of my uterus) without having birthed at least one child? (Feel free to correct me if this is incorrect, but this is something pointed out to me by someone I deem as knowledgeable.)
Why does the government feel as if a man is “stable” enough to make such a decision, because he is not fickle-minded as they believe a woman to be? Why is it that a woman cannot decide for herself, what she wants to do within her reproductive life?
When will women be able to be taken seriously? I have firmly decided I don’t plan on having any children. My husband-to-be is already a father of a child whom is not mine (and will never be my responsibility, as the mother of this child is a wonderful mother herself, and will never have an excuse to pass the child, who also has a brother from another father, down to his father or myself) and has decided that he doesn’t want to have any more of his own either.
This isn’t something I just recently came up with. This isn’t just a one-off decision or a case of being “young and naive” or not knowing what I want to do with my life. This isn’t a case of a young woman who is incapable of making decisions of her own, and this isn’t a case in which the government should be able to have any say in what goes on with my body.
And yet I cannot have this operation to rid myself of the agony of a menstrual cycle and risk of unwanted children (before anyone gets up on their soapbox I’d also like to mention that I would never have unprotected sex, but sometimes accidents do happen) because I am a woman, and the government figures my opinion and my convictions do not hold as much weight as that of a man’s.
Will someone please explain this to me? Because I’m having a hell of a time trying to figure out why we’ve brought to light the way the government tries to regulate abortion (a woman’s right to choose) but the issue of voluntary hysterectomy/voluntary sterilization to any degree is rarely spoken of, when it comes to childless women who choose to remain childless. Why are we not pushing for equality in both departments?
Who will help us rise above this seemingly Catholic-bent morale that one must “be fruitful and multiply” to be a “normal”, functioning member of society and to be able to choose what’s right for OUR individual bodies? When will the government realize that their morals and their views on reproductive health are not a “one size fits all” blanket of ultimate truth and justice?
When will the government get the fuck out of my uterus?
- Jessica Valenti, Full Frontal Feminism (via angrywomenoftumblr)