Before you begin reading my spiel on how I believe that the majority of men still continue to feed their ego by sexualizing and degrading the role that women play in terms of societal norms, ask yourself – are you feeling insulted, attacked, or victimized right now?
It’s ironic, honestly. The number of little boys who are groomed to fill the shoes of daddy or grandpa. Expecting a nice, pretty, and “modest” girl to come around and make them feel superior.
Society has entered the year 2022 battling the same egoistic, sexist, and humiliating expectations as a woman that are set to compensate for the ego of a man. As little girls, we are told to trade our shorts for pants because the uncles are coming over for dinner. As teenagers, we are told our shoulders are distracting and how our kneecaps are teasing the hormonal teenage boys in the classroom. Then you enter adulthood and begin to understand that whether you are in your favorite pair of denim shorts, or an old beat-up t-shirt covered in a series of mysterious substances and missing a few seams – that your clothes were never the issue, They are.
Before we start an uproar, ask your mother, sister, or daughter about her own experiences. Social media has recently shined light on the statistics. Creating an environment where women have felt comfortable and safe to speak on their own experiences. This opening for conversation has allowed for a jaw dropping total of 98% of women across the globe who have experienced some sort of harassment: or worse.
As a woman, we are taught to always carry a form of self-defense. To never walk alone at night and to lock our car doors as soon as we enter the vehicle. To double check that we have locked our front doors when we enter our homes, just to be sure that we are safe to shower the anxiety of the night away before going to bed.
The word “NO!” must be stated loud and clear to properly communicate that we do not want to have sexual intercourse. Even then, that often doesn’t serve much justice in a courtroom. Which leads to a questionnaire of disbelieving “why’s?” and an interrogation to ensure that you are positive that you didn’t want that to happen.
Now let me preface, not all men are bad. This is not a matter of convincing anyone to be terrified of every man that crosses their path. But to be cautious? Definitely.
Reason being, because no matter how much change has happened over the last several decades to fight for equal rights and justice for women to be more than a housewife, we will never be able to experience life the same way a male does. Careless and free to walk down the street at any given veil of the night. Allowed to harass their local restaurant waitress, excusing her rosy cheeks of embarrassment for flattery – laughing with your friends, as she goes to the kitchen and wipes the tears from her face.
They just don’t understand.
Sure, we are now allowed to work in the same management position as our fellow male coworker. We can also get a credit card in our own name. As well as get an ivy-league education. And obtain health insurance at the same rate as a man. It is now even socially acceptable to not intertwine ourselves with the opposite sex, as our parents have started teaching us independence: to never need the approval or satisfaction of a male.
But segregating ourselves from the want or need of the desire to be kept by a man doesn’t solve the issue. Social media has officially peaked, and the comment section underneath your recent photo has made you feel just as sexualized. Walking into your nearest gas station, almost guaranteed to be cat-called by the man who thought he was being a gentleman by holding the door open for you. Politely declining his offer to let him take you out, where he retaliated by degrading your appearance. Saying how you “weren’t that pretty anyways” or how you “shouldn’t be wearing that out in public if you didn’t want attention.” Now you may feel frightened to pump your gas, ill at ease at the possibility you are going to be followed home.
In 2022, we are now more cautious than ever to make sure we are prepared for the worse. Constantly watching our surroundings and preparing our next move. Repeating to yourself over and over in your head on how you plan to avoid walking past the creepy man who has been staring at you across the restaurant throughout your entire meal on your way out the door.
In the world we live in, this is our normal. As a woman, we wake up everyday ready to trigger our fight or flight. Because no matter what we do, or where we go, or who we tried our hardest to avoid – you never know when a situation can take a turn down a trauma filled road.
Our mothers raised us to believe that it is always better to prepare for the unexpected than to live in a world of oblivion and silence. To learn the rules of what life is like to be a woman, and although it is now socially deemed to be “fair,” it will never be the life of your older brother.
Because he will never understand.