So there are a lot of things that get me hot and bothered, and not in the good way (though that would be much more fun to write about). Things such as people that say “checkings account” instead of “checking account” because I’m a bank teller and fuck you there is not an “s” at the end of that word. Then there are the people that treat servers (and general customer service providers) like “the help” and not like oh, I don’t know, actual goddamn people. And of course, the people that park their idiotically huge truck in two parking spaces because they think they are special. The list goes on and on and we could be here for days discussing the things that get me in a tizzy. However, I’m not here to waste your time (or quite frankly mine) because the number one thing that gets my panties in a twist is being reminded over and over again that I, as a woman, do not count as a fucking human being.
I can hear it all now: “Whoa! I totally think you are people so you just need to calm down missy!” If that is the thought you just had, thank you, I’m really glad that you feel that way; but sit down and shut your opinion box off for a moment and listen.
I have come to expect that at the very least once a week my eyes will be blessed with some new truly fantastic story reminding me (incase I came down with amnesia and forgot the past few thousand years of recorded human history) of how low the general populace ranks the lives and rights of women. Think I’m exaggerating? Here are some gems:
And those are only a few things that I found in maybe 10 minutes of scrolling through my Facebook news feed and doing a single Google search. It took me longer to pick the stories to share and put them in this then it did to find them. Mind you these are only very recent articles. After all, let’s not forget these other shining examples of where women have stood over the past year and a half alone: the Texas government saw fit to ensure that women no longer have access to safe abortions, effectively making a woman’s choice to abort not only difficult but dangerous; SCOTUS ruled in favor of the rights of a corporation over the rights of the women employed by it; when two rapists were convicted in Stuebenville Ohio the only thing the media could focus on was that the lives of two young men were ruined not the fact that they had committed a heinous crime against a fellow human and were being justly punished; and let us remember that on April 15th of this year, 273 school aged girls were abducted from their school in Nigeria by a terrorist organization and are thought to have been forced into marriages and worse, 240 of these girls are still missing, and the help from the international community is weak at best seeing that there’s not much money to be made off of rescuing these young women.
Of course, that’s just the news making stuff, too. On the daily women are reminded that the general populace views them at the mercy of men. We are supposed to only exist for men to find pleasure in us - that is the message fed to us by television, magazines, shit on social media, and advertisements almost every waking moment of the day. There are more articles in women’s magazines that run along the lines of “110 New Ways to Make Him Happy” or “How to Look Sexy in Bed” than there ever are about the amazing things women are doing world wide to make this a better place to live, or ways to advance your career, or just anything that could lead to real genuine self-improvement. Despite the fact that there have been many studies conducted that prove that the images we are shown of the “bodies men really want” and the kind of content these things focus on are genuinely harmful to the female psyche nothing really changes. Then if we look beyond the media and into the way that we are socialized it’s even more terrifying because from the time that we are children women are taught that boys will be boys and that we should just take it. When a little boy bullies a little girl on a playground she’s told that he’s just doing it because he likes her and then we wonder why 20 years later that same little girl is in a dangerous abusive relationship. When was she taught that she had the right to not be hurt like that? You told her he did it because he liked her, you told her that boys will be boys and that she should just deal with it. And on the flip side of that the little boy was never taught that he shouldn’t do those things. When a young man is promiscuous it’s celebrated, he’s taught to be macho and to prove that he’s dominant, catcalling and making lewd comments are supported, he’s taught from a young age that the girl isn’t his equal, she’s his prize.
Why is all of this shit still allowed to happen? How in 2014 are women still treated as second class citizens? One would think that we have proven our worth (not that we should have to) over and over again. Women are world leaders, women are war heroes, women make ground breaking advances in technology and science, women lead major corporations, women are supposed to be not only successful professionally but also domestically and there are millions of women world wide that manage to do both, and if nothing else women give fucking birth (if you don’t think that alone makes a woman worthy of respect I’d like you to go watch a birthing video right now). OH! And it’s not like these are all things that have just recently started happening; women have been proving their worth for pretty much all of human history. So what else are we supposed to do? What else do women have to conquer for the general populace of the world to regard us as human beings worthy of respect? Because, trust me, if you tell us what it is we will do it better than you ever thought it could be done.
The catch, though, is that there seems to be nothing that we can do to prove our worth. We could save the world from utter disaster and there would still be those that would comment that it wasn’t good enough or that we should learn our place. Well I’m done with it. I think it’s high fucking time that we stop playing pretty, so to speak. We need to stop trying to fit the mold, we need to hold ourselves to the same base standards our male counterparts are held to and absolutely nothing more. Because the truth is that while men do have a lot to live up to, women have much of the same burden to bear in addition to many more requirements that are supposed to make us “good women”. So I say fuck the additional requirements, fuck the contradictions that we have to live up to daily. Contradictions like being assertive but only just so because we don’t want to be perceived as bitchy or bossy, having to be feminine but just enough because no one wants to be prissy, only speaking up enough to make it clear that we aren’t doormats because no one wants a push over, being one of the guys but not too much so because that would make you butch. Fuck all of it.
In her book “How To Be A Woman,” Caitlin Moran poses a question to us that should drive our daily expectations, “Are the men doing this as well?” That, my dear friends, is a question that we should never, ever be afraid to pose. Because the answer will most of the time be no, the men are not doing these things since they do not have to. I’m not saying that this whole thing is directly the fault of men. You don’t get to chose what sex you’re born with and if you happen to be a male (especially a white male) congrats because you just won the genetic lottery. And I know that there are some that will be like, “Please shut up you damn femi-nazi,” or some other load of shit like that. Just know that if you have those thoughts you are a part of this very pervasive issue. This whole “equality for all regardless of gender, skin color, sexual orientation, etc.” thing only works if people like you can cease running your mouth for one second and listen to what those that deal with this (and other ridiculous) shit daily have to say about it. In this case it only changes when men stop perpetuating the cycle of hatred toward women (including, but not limited to catcalling, stealing nude photos, blackmailing with nude photos, understanding what consent is, etc.) and begin to make a scene along side of us about how ridiculous it is that women’s right’s are still an issue.
The thing that really gets me about all of this is that with the issue of treating women as people (as with the rights of most oppressed persons) is that if we win, everyone wins! If finally women and men are really and truly looked at as equals, men get to reap a shitload of benefits. The stigma of single fatherhood wouldn’t be an issue because we would no longer think that raising children is a woman’s job, male sexual assault victims would no longer face such a stigma because assault wouldn’t be viewed as something that only happens to women, men could stay at home and be homemakers without anyone giving a damn, and so on. None of these things seem like a downside and yet it seems that this will remain a pipe dream because there are still people out there that want to continue to push social progression back about 100 years.
The point of this really long rant is this:
Treating women like people is simple, if you wouldn’t treat a man in that manner (because it could be rude or demeaning) you shouldn’t treat women that way either. Women deserve to not have to live up to a shitload more requirements just to still be treated like trash. We deserve the right to our bodies and that covers who gets to see them nude, weather or not we carry a child in them, who has sex with them, who gets to comment on them, and in general anything that can possibly happen with a woman’s person she has the final say. A woman does not exist for a man just as a man does not exist for a woman. If we can embrace the idea that we all have the right to exist in total autonomy I truly think that then (since we will be caring more for ourselves too) we can care more for those around us. Because until we are all on the same level, we all lose.