Thoughts on Feminism and Gender Inequality

By Cathy H - 10:40 AM

On the way home with my friends today, we ended up discussing the topic of the "burden" of being born a women. Since it was close to 1am, and we noticed drunk sounding guys near us- we got a little anxious about our safety. Than, on of us brought up "why should women have to be wary of just walking home alone at night, minding their own business?" Because there are always self-entitled skeevy men looking at us suggestively and thinking they have the right to approach us because "normal" ladies wouldn't be caught DEAD walking home by themselves late at night. God forbid they wear little clothing! And that just got me thinking, all this time my parents taught me to "be safe" and "come home early" is really do to the patriarchal mentality of men thinking they can go about harassing girls or raping them etc. Even when I was little and begging my mom to let me sleepover, the predominant reason my mom gave me on why not was "they have males in the household, it is not safe." Like honestly, from a young age my mother was scared they were going to sexually harass me. The brothers and fathers of my friends...and sadly she is not being unreasonable. The rate of unreported child molestation, especially by close family members and friends is honestly through the roof as females grow up struggling with this trauma and telling themselves it is not their fault and they can move on. Everytime I contemplate traveling to a  exotic destination alone, the first thing I google is "Is _______ safe for a female to travel to?" And living abroad, the number one message I get from friends and family is "Cathy remember to stay safe!! Close the doors and don't go to places alone!" ....Should I feel grateful or degraded I'm being warned of a birthright I should be enjoying- freedom to do what I like without worrying about what men will do to me? When I think about this now, I feel insulted. 

Than my friend brought up this: "does anyone's family tell them to cover up when their uncle and dad's are home?" we all agreed it happened to us, and my friend said "since when we I have to worry about being sexualized by my own household?" Honestly, I feel like both our parents and society drilled into us "be careful around men! They all have animalistic tendencies! Don't do stuff you regret, don't give yourself away so easily. Wear more clothes!" It's like a burden that comes with being born female. As if it's not hard for females in North American countries already, I'm thinking about countries where women are literally INVISIBLE. In Saudi Arabia, women may as well be non-existent. They are literally born to... breed and raise children? They cannot do anything without approval of a male guardian- whether it is driving, holding a job, or going out in public in general. In Saudi Arabia, all there is to do for women is literally going to the mall shopping than going home- and even doing this covered head to toe in black. It's like a sin to be born a women. In muslim culture, women on menstruation aren't allowed to enter temples because they are considered "impure"  during this time. Oh, because females totally CHOOSE to menstruate every month of their life until menopause! 

And with this, males in general tend to dismiss any tempers women have as them being "crazy." "Oh, she is big deal she's just insane these few days." In media and popular entertainment, women are portrayed as these suspicious, crazy people with wild imaginations that make unnecessary drama all the time. And we play on this image as a joke, when really is is so mysogynistic and degrading to females. And like with all these burdens and general crap females put up with on a daily basis in life- whether through relationships/marriages with men or society's attitudes and social norms for them, it's like we desensitized ourselves to all the negativities automatically coming with being a women.

 "Oh, my husband cheated on me after making me stay home and raise the kids so I have no life stability now. Great, I'm a single parent now!" "Oh, I shouldn't let myself "go" after marriage cuz god forbid my find another more beautiful women!"

I love this one which my ex used to guilt-trip me with this all the time:
"Wow Cathy, look at your so and so ex, they cheated on you and didn't care about you. Look at me, I'm doing all these things for you. I would never treat you like that. I'm so good to you. Look at him, and be happy you have me. I'm like 1% of the male population" 
Oh ok, thanks for being a decent human to me. Thanks for doing good things for me. Do I not deserve that though?? Congratulations on not being a shitty human being!! So because of all the crap I put up with men, I'm supposed to be grateful that I'm entitled to be treated with respect. Am not worth every effort I get, because I- just like every male I have given far too much effort and stress over- am worth being treated importantly too? Hello, equality?

So that leads to the talk of marriage. Girls dream of the amazing day of getting married but what about the rest. I feel like marriage is a lose-lose situation for females. We give up our fit bodies for motherhood, give up our career for children, give up a peace of mind worrying about making husbands not leaving us. It's just "giving up" all along the way, while males just pursue their own ambitions and success. One of my friend's dad remarried and on day her stepmother asked her husband "I'm growing old with arthritic so I want a housekeeper for some extra help?" and he said "Why? I married you so you can stay home and do the housework." Wow......are females not like farm animals being chosen for their customers? It's like we have one purpose- breed and please our men. We look at the sexist ad's in the 1950's and giggle at them for the shocking offensive nature of the content- but women don't stop to think that in the present- nothing much as changed. I can see this with all my friend's worries and discussions on men and marriage- giving up friends, maybe even being tempted to convert to religions, worry after worry to stick with their man and please them. Everything still revolves around the patriarchy. Honestly writing this is just making me so sad, angry, and hurt for me and all the women being oppressed, made fun of, being made to feel like they're not enough, being scared of simply walking alone in the dark etc. and all the crap with deal with in life in this patriarchal culture. 

Everytime I talk to my best friend, one of the most important questions is "any new boys?" "Found any new men?" And sometimes I get caught up in the feeling like it's wrong I'm not after another man again. How about all my other accomplishments and value as a person- like learning a new language, new friendships, new experiences? With all my relationship experiences so far, it just gives me more and more reason and lessons on the oppression and dismissal of women and the way men manipulative us into thinking "this is all you deserve- me." No, I will NOT be told I need a man or a nice marriage to make my life complete. Or be defined by being a in a relationship or not, because the reality is that women have very little to gain from relationships with men, on top of dealing with society. It's hard to be a women in this day and age, but I will stand on my values and not become a feeble-minded and dominated and submissive in this male-orientated society.

It's not the women who should "be careful" when they walk home alone, but the men who should be re-educated and socialized with proper respect for females- because YES WE DO DESERVE IT!

  • Share:

You Might Also Like