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13 January 2015

Being a Woman.

I am not a bra burning, non-shaving, statement feminist. I'm a feminist because I'm a woman, and I'm a woman who knows that men and women are not treated equally despite the laws and despite what plenty of men seem to think. There are some feminist arguments which I disagree with, at least to an extent. I think men and women are different, genetically and biologically we are obviously different, our metabolisms work in different ways and our bodies function differently, we are child baring and men are not, we have breasts and men do not. Because of these differences, men and women classically have different strengths, not all of the time. Not all of the time. But the problems begin, when these different strengths are weighed up against each other. The problems begin, when they are categorised into weaker and stronger, and from there, the problems don't stop. 

Assumption. Assumption is one of the root causes of inequality in the work place, assuming somebody cannot do something because of their gender. Assuming a woman will want to have children soon and thus hiring her would be a waste of money. Assuming just because somebody has breasts and a vagina it means they somehow, couldn't possibly have the same authority as a man in the work place. Surely she must have slept with somebody to get to where she is! Assuming, just because a man works in the arts he must be gay. Assuming, if a woman sleeps with multiple men she is a 'slut'. And then, the biggest assumption of all. Assuming, because of these laws on equality and voting, sexism doesn't exist.

There is an older man in my town who myself and my sister call the 'wolf man', he rides on his bike typically at the time we used to finish school and wolf whistles at every girl he passes. He'd wolf whistle at me, he'd wolf whistle at my friends, he'd wolf whistle at my sister. And I can remember this happening since I was in Year 9, since I was 13. In fact, since finishing school I'd forgotten he was still around until last week on my way to work, when 6 years later I was wolf whistled at by him once again.

I know and believe, both genders display their attraction to somebody. I am no stranger to following male models on instagram because they're attractive, I work in a busy restaurant and I've heard multiple tables of girls talk about a couple of the chefs. Physical attraction is inevitable from both genders, however, the difference is, it often feels with many men there is no limit on this physical attraction. All you need to do is be a woman, and that is enough. The female body is so sexualised by males, by the internet, by the porn industry, the lines of sexualisation are blurred, and thus every woman becomes a sexual object. And that thought process is disturbing. What's even more disturbing is how myself, my sister and 99.9% of my female friends were all taught growing up 'don't walk home alone at night', 'if you hear somebody walking behind you, cross the road', 'if you're ever worried, put your house keys between your fingers as a means of protection', 'never put your open drink on a bar', all things I thought everyone learnt. Until I recently talked to some of my male friends and found out they'd never had these conversations with their parents.

Source
Because I'm a woman, I'm scared to get onto a tube carriage which contains only men, I'd never pull over for a stranger to help them in the rain if I was alone in my car, I wouldn't go jogging early morning, meet a tinder date without telling somebody exactly where I am, get into a taxi alone without calling and saying to someone what the taxi looks like and where I am, I even took my hair down once because I was told by a friend a ponytail is a means to grab somebody from behind. These are all things I do (or don't do) in my every day life, without even thinking twice, I just know. 

I know, not every man is a threat. I've had boyfriends and been on dates and some of my best and closest friends are men. But every single one of us ladies has had an encounter of sexual harassment. I know wolf whistling or cat calling is strictly speaking 'harmless', but it is objectifying a woman in exactly the same way as taking un-consented photographs for sexual pleasure or even more serious sexual offences. 

I will never grasp or understand how men do not realise it is their grandmothers, mothers, daughters, sisters, their friends and their girlfriends and their wives and fiances. We know not every man is out their to cause trouble, we know not every man is out there to cause us harm. But we have to adapt and live our lives as if they are, and that in my opinion, is the most important thing we need to stop. Not just because it's not fair on women, it's not fair for us to be talked out by friends of going for a morning jog. But also because it's not fair on the majority of men who are harmless and don't have any ulterior motives. The problem is, not every man is a threat, but every woman has felt threatened. We know it's not all men, the point is, it should be no men.

Ciao for Now
x

8 comments:

  1. Beautifully put.

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  2. Very well said, your point about all of the warnings you are given as a female not being given to males is really telling and something I hadn't really thought about before, but it's a really good point and just shows the extent to which sexism is still so prevalent. Really interesting and engaging post!
    Hannah x
    Hanniemc.co.uk

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  3. This is perfect. Just another reason reminding me why I love this blog so much.

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  4. This is an amazing post, with so much truth in it!! I definitely agree that not all men are like this but I'm a very paranoid person. I don't even feel comfortable at the doctors office when it's just me and him in the room. Even though I know nothing would happen, it's all the things we hear in society that make girls like me scared! I don't think it's right and I think the one thing we can do to prevent it, is to start teaching boys at a young age about how to respect women & young girls. Such a great post, one of my favourites :)

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  5. Excellent point highlighting another difference between men and women's universes that I never actually pondered before. Yes, it is sad that we have to constantly be aware of our fragile sense of safety and yet men seem oblivious. Having said that, we are physically less capable of defending ourselves and should rely on being prepared to give us an edge. Also, it is fairly obvious that men's nonchalance is naive in the current world. I agree with you that we shouldn't have to deal with this but I really hope women (and men) do take the best care of themselves. Better safe than sorry.

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  6. You hit the nail right on the head! I was recently followed and catcalled all the way to my dorm. I ended up having a panic attack once I was safely to my room because it freaked me out so much. Before leaving for college, I was given all the 'safety' talks from my parents, and I know for a fact that my brother won't have to hear any of them. What makes me more upset is how people blame the victim. "Well you should have been covering your drink" or "Don't walk home alone". How is it our fault? We need to be teaching our young men how to properly treat people, including women.

    Thanks for sharing this great, thought-provoking post!
    xx, Lizzy :D

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  7. That is a brilliant post! Thank you so much for sharing! I completely agree! We are taught to be so bloody terrified when really we almost shouldn't be! A male friend of mine recently got off the bus late at night a few weeks ago and was walking down the road behind some woman he didn't know. After a while she started panicking and took out her pepper spray in what she thought was self defense. Of course it's a terrible assault on somebody who just wanted to walk to their house that happened to stand at the far end of the street – but what has society –men or women – done to that girl to scare her that much she'd hurt someone just "to be safe"?

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  8. This is a brilliant post and written really well! I always really enjoy reading your Blog :)
    Emily x

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