We like to think we’ve come so far with respect to women’s rights and while I admit there has been a great deal of progress, there are still some things that I feel should no longer be things in 2016. Society still seems to have an unwritten code of conduct for women and this code holds us to a very different standard from our male counterparts.
Rule #1: Never stand up for yourself or anything you believe in.
Women who stand up for themselves and are vocal about it are immediately labeled as a “bitch” or “volatile” or “difficult.” Talk to any woman and chances are she’ll tell you that she’s experienced this. I have enough firsthand knowledge to teach a Master’s program in it. Meanwhile, men who don’t stand up for themselves are labeled as a part of the female anatomy that Donald Trump seems to think you can grab.
Rule #2: Never show anger or frustration.
Don’t. Just don’t. Everyone will assume that you’re on your period or “not getting any,” even other women. Meanwhile men can be as angry and frustrated as they please. This is nuts. If every woman who’s ever been angry or frustrated felt that way because she was on her period then women have been on their periods non-stop since the DAWN OF FREAKIN’ TIME! If that were true the feminine hygiene product industry would be booming and we’d have no national debt. If every woman who’s ever been angry or frustrated felt that way because she was “not getting any,” humanity would’ve died out by now. Maybe that woman isn’t on her period or sexually frustrated. Maybe she’s angry and frustrated because you’re an ass! If you say stuff like this, grow up.
Rule #3: Never go jogging alone at night or in broad daylight, never go to a party, never go to a bar, never go out on a date, never have any alcoholic beverages of any kind, never wear a skirt, never wear pants, never go to sleep in your own home, never go out to the store during the day or at night…screw it. Basically never leave your house if you don’t want to risk being attacked or raped.
From the time I was twelve, I was conditioned to always be aware of my surroundings and always be ready to defend myself because there are people out there who want to try to make me into a victim for no other reason than the fact that I was born female. That’s a pretty young age to have your whole childhood just end for you, isn’t it? As teenagers women deal with men old enough to be our fathers objectifying us before we’re even fully aware of what that means. We’re conditioned to cater to and coddle the male ego because God forbid the guy we’re turning down for a date or a drink just snaps when we tell him we’re not interested. We can’t even walk down the street minding our own business without constantly looking over our shoulders. Even falling asleep in your own home is dangerous. A woman in NJ went to sleep in her home and woke up to find a man raping her. She reported it and cooperated with police only to have a judge tell her she wasn’t raped because she wasn’t awake to say no. We can’t even report a rape without having to answer a series of victim-shaming questions. “What were you wearing? How many drinks did you have? Were you intoxicated? Did you flirt with him?” Women and young girls get this mixed message that our bodies belong to us and no one is entitled to them without our consent and then we’re told in the same breath to be careful because if the wrong guy takes a liking to us we might just get raped. I have an idea! WHY DON’T WE TEACH MEN AND YOUNG BOYS TO KEEP IT IN THEIR PANTS?!?!?!?!
Rule #4: Never be proud of your body, dress in a way that flatters you too much, or try to own your sexuality.
Women who do any of the above are immediately labeled “sluts” or if your prefer as a T.H.O.T. (That Hoe Over There). Men can wear and do whatever or whomever they please and people not only respect it, they also glorify it and high five them to congratulate them on their latest sexual conquest. Sex should not be about conquest. Ladies and gentlemen we’re not at war. Treating sex as an act of conquest is too close to treating sex as an act of violence. This mentality is why rape culture exists. Sex should be about mutual love and connection to another person. Despite the strides we’ve made women are still viewed as objects or prizes to be won. I’m sorry boys, but this isn’t a carnival game. If you have a conquest mentality, don’t step right up. Step right off.
There is undeniably room for growth here. First, ladies we need to build each other up. If you see someone standing up for herself, stand with her. Take care of yourselves, take care of each other, and for God’s sake stop calling other women sluts because you’re jealous that you don’t look as good as they do. If we don’t build each other up, we’re just getting in our own way and impeding our own progress.
Men, get it together. I know that there are good men out there. I’m personally acquainted with several. Guys, we know you care about us. This is your fight, too. If you hear one of your friends being a misogynist ass, tell him off. There are a great many things I’d like to say to misogynists, but they all end with “and the horse you rode in on” and it’s not like they’d listen anyway, so this is where I’ll jump off my soap box. Let’s do better, people.