Originally posted on nikbunting.me on February 17, 2012.
More than anything, the recent brouhaha over birth control, the various legislative measures around the country limiting and hindering access to abortions or making seeking one out as humiliating and degrading as possible , personhood amendments, etc., has made me aware of just how much we women have to put up with. What I do or do not do with my girly parts should not be a topic of ongoing national debate.
But really, all of that is just a symptom of a much larger problem. In spite of all the advances toward equality, women are still essentially viewed as not only lesser than men but basically the property of men—to objectify and regulate and patronize and what-have-you.
First of all, you need to stop reading my entry here and hop on over to read first Fatshionelle’s “Bodies as Property” and then over to First The Egg for the post that inspired it. I also recommend checking out Skepchick, which is a great overall resource not just of the skeptical movement but female perspectives and issues as well.
Now that you’re back, you get my two cents. And I just realized that I’m falling into the trap I so often do, undervaluing my opinion and my means of communicating my opinion. Maybe others do say it better, but that’s no reason to not give my own voice to things. You’ll read this if you want, and if you don’t, so what?
So, no more devaluing and talking myself down.
Right, where was I?
Being a woman isn’t easy. Some of us have it better than others, be it where we live or when we live. But all of us need to wake up and realize things could be a hell of a lot better for all of us.
While I have been fortunate enough—and how fucking sad is it that women have to be grateful and feel lucky about not being violated—to have never been sexually assaulted. And again I’ve been fortunate to have had only two major unwanted physical contact experiences. None of that takes into account the whistles or comments or looks, etc., that makes me (as it does most every woman) feel ashamed, dirty, depressed, etc. Just because I have a pair of tits and a vagina and opt to wear something that may showcase said tits or my legs or my ass…it doesn’t mean it’s open season on talking to, approaching, or commenting on me. Don’t tell me to smile or that I’m gorgeous or hey-baby me. I’m a complete stranger, would you like me to do it to you? How about a “Nice ass, cowboy.” or a “Don’t look so gloomy, sunshine.”? And in a damned if you do, damned if you don’t sort of thing, engaging them only opens you up to further comment as does ignoring them completely. “Aw, honey, just give us a smile.” Yeah, fuck you, perv. “Stupid, stuck up cunt.”
Wonderful, isn’t it?
In a perfect world I could walk down a deserted street at night naked and be perfectly fine. In this world, I can get mistaken for a “sir” but still have to watch my back and all sides in broad daylight on a busy sidewalk regardless of whether I’m in Philadelphia or Charlevoix. And if I am assaulted, there’s the perception that somehow I did something to ask for it, regardless of whether I’m dressed like a hooker or a nun.
I don’t like the fact I’m uncomfortable when I’m alone and in close proximity to older men. I blame the old man who lived down the street who kissed me. I blame the male teacher who brushed sand off my cheek in such a way that left me distinctly uncomfortable at the sight or mention of him to this day.
I don’t like that I have to second guess what I wear for fear of what kind of attention it will bring me. I blame a society where sex sells yet any woman who thinks about sex is basically a whore.
I don’t like that I have to be careful about where I walk solely based on the fact that I’m a woman. I blame a world where sexual assault and degradation is not only a reality but used as a weapon.
I don’t like that my access to safe and effective healthcare and services is scrutinized and debated. I blame the old white men and I blame us women for letting them have that power over us.
I don’t like being so angry and feeling so ineffective and helpless.
Maybe it’s time I finally did attempt to run for public office or become active in some organization, do instead of just talk and rage.
You can’t change the world if you don’t try in the first place