The following is a contribution from a PASEF fan who wishes to remain anonymous. I love it, and I really hope you all read this and take what she's written to heart. I also hope that, and urge, all men to read this and take it seriously. It's very important that men get interested and involved with these issues too. It's a little long, but it's really worth it. Enjoy!
I've been reading a lot of feminist ideas and getting very involved over the course of this year, and when I tell my male friends about these feminist ideas, they get very offended. They tell me not to turn into a Feminazi. Some of them (the most uncouth and homophobic, of course) have even asked, "You don't want to become an angry, feminist dyke, do you?"
This is exceptionally frustrating. All I want is to be an equal to men. And yet expressing that I want equality is an affront to them, somehow. It's as though my saying I want to be an equal human hurts them!
Not only do I have to deal with not being an equal to men, but I also - everyday - get kicked when I'm down by society and the media.
I composed a list of all of the little injustices that females deal with everyday, just so some of my male friends could see just how unfair it is to be a woman in today's society. I want to share it with you to share with everyone you know: both men and women
To start, I'll get to the most gruesome bits (according to men).
Once a month, for three to eight days (on average), women bleed. They bleed from their female organs. Additionally, they are forced to not talk about it! Yes, maybe it's gross to people who can't handle medical issues, but women are forced to deal with pain and suffering in silence. They have to act like it's not happening.
Then, they have to pay for tampons, maxi-pads, pain pills, etc. This costs an average of $10 to $50 monthly. That equates to $120 to $600 per year! That's a lot of money!
Not only that, but women often cramp in their pelvic/back region before and/or during menstruation. Which sucks. Pain pills and heating pads help, but they cost both money and time.
This all happens because women are able to give birth to children. I think the ability to be child-bearing is fantastic and beautiful. I also think that it makes women powerful: they have all of the power in creating new life! But having babies is not easy for women, either.
So, women carry babies up to around ten months. During this time, they gain weight (which, if they don't take it off immediately after giving birth, they are judged by people in society for their new body shape). Since they're gaining weight so quickly and developing a human in their bellies, their skin stretches. This causes stretch marks, things that don't go away without expensive, painful laser surgery. Pregnant women also develop varicose or spider veins (these also don't go away without expensive, painful treatments). Women sometimes develop health issues after having babies because of the extreme stress of it all. Not only that, but their vaginal tissue stretches so much during birth that they cannot have sexual intercourse for several months after delivery. And then later in life, they are compared to younger women who don't have all of these problems and have "tighter vaginas" - what a way to add insult to injury!!!
Okay, so some women don't want to have kids. For these women, there is birth control. When men and women have an intimate relationship, men often request (or assume) that women take birth control. As someone who has taken birth control, I can say that it does do a lot of nice things. It improves skin (sometimes), it reduces cramps (most of the time), and it keeps periods regular (most of the time). However, it also causes weight gain (which sucks), water retention (which also sucks), and reduced sexual response (which really sucks). Women take birth control pills so they can have sex with their partner easily, but then the pills make sex less enjoyable and make the women feel insecure about their bodies because they've gained weight. And that also makes sex less enjoyable. Not only that, but birth control isn't free! The cheapest I've ever encountered was $10 per month. Some, like YAZ, are $60 per month. Do men ever chip in to at least pay for half of the cost? Not in my experience....
Now let's move on to some of the other, although minor, injustices.
Okay, so men have to shave their faces. Some men cut and/or shave their armpit hair (rarely). And some men shave all of their body hair (depends on the person). Almost all women (except for the few that are rebellious against society and confident enough with themselves to do so) shave daily. Not just their faces (although they do have to either wax their facial hair or bleach it because it is an affront to society). They feel forced to shave both of their legs! When I first started shaving, my mother told me that each leg was like five faces, so I needed to clean off my razor accordingly. So by that logic, two legs = 10 faces!
Women also are forced to shave their armpits. (If they don't, like the entertainer Paula Cole, for example, they are ridiculed.) Women also have to deal with their bikini lines! Not only is this the *most sensitive* place on the body, but it is also the place where shaving, waxing, etc. leaves painful after-effects! So first women have to pluck or shave all of the hairs near their sensitive areas, but then they are often stuck with bumps and burns. Of course, you can buy products to help ease the bumps, but this also costs money. Which sucks.
Then, there's makeup. Now, don't get me wrong: I've become so used to society's ideas of beauty that I feel weird or sometimes gross without shaving my legs or wearing makeup, but it's still unfair. Makeup costs money. It's not cheap. It's especially not cheap if you want to wear nice makeup that doesn't make you look like a cheap hooker.
Makeup also takes time. Time that women really don't have, what with all the shaving and menstruating and child-bearing they're already doing. Then, women get ridiculed for making men late or taking too much time putting on their makeup (sound familiar?). But what's the alternative? A woman instead doesn't wear makeup and then other members of society (her friends, colleagues, husband, boyfriend, strangers, etc.) look at her and think or say, "Why is she rebelling?" or "Why doesn't she try to look pretty?" or "She looks so tired." Very nice things, I might add. It's all because we've all been indoctrinated over the years.
Okay, so some women don't wear lingerie. This section depends on the person or couple involved. But let's face it: a lot of women buy lingerie to look sexy or feel sexy and get male attention. Lingerie costs money (again). Lingerie also requires that you look a certain way (that fits the lingerie well) and that you feel good about your body (which is often hard to do in today's society).
And what about men? Do men EVER wear lingerie for women? And why the hell not?! That's what I'd like to know. I asked a former boyfriend who wore boxers all the time if he'd buy a pair of briefs for me because I think they're sexy. He replied, "No, those things are uncomfortable." And that was the end of the conversation. Does he honestly think that wearing a thong is like being swept up in a cottony cloud?
And what's with always pleasing men? Dressing for them, doing sexy dances for them, etc? Which brings me to my next point.
So, it's already apparent that women are more often sex objects in movies or shows on the tube. They are also huge sex objects in video games, a market that is slightly more male-dominated. I wonder if the makers of video games realize that they'll never truly expand the market if the women in the more adult video games are just sex objects and make real women feel bad about themselves.
What about Lara Croft Tomb Raider? Even the sex idol Angelina Jolie had to put on a lot of muscle and wear breast enhancers for the film version. And have any of you seen the female in MadWorld? Apparently, while women are butt-kicking they, unlike men in the game, have to be super-sexy and wear a leather leotard that rides up the butt. Of course! I mean, whenever I think of doing athletic stuff, leather leotard is the first thing that comes to mind.... Come on!
So, obviously the majority of movies and video games cater to men. The only exception is the highly ridiculed "Chick Flick". God forbid that women get some joy out of a movie that is finally catering to them! Let's all put down movies that actually give back to women. That makes sense...
You know what's especially odd? Even "Sex and the City" (The Movie) - a film a lot of men probably tried to avoid because of its chick-flick association - showed topless women more often and for longer periods of time than male butts (and a helluva lot longer than the single penis shot of about one second). Does that make sense?
WALK THIS WAY
So, obviously society favors a particular look of women. This causes a lot of women to feel forced to be a nearly unattainable size. Sure, a woman can look like a Victoria's Secret Model! All she has to do is eat very little, exercise several hours a day, possibly smoke, and focus all her efforts on her appearance. That will be so easy for her! She'll just make time for that around having kids (as a lot of women do), being responsible for a household (as a lot of women are often forced to do), and having a career. No problem!!
And that brings me to the ultimate point. Women, on average, don't even get paid as much as men for the same, exact job!! Is it because they're not qualified? Hell no! They earned that job in just the same way that a man did. And they earned it while dealing with the periods, shaving, makeup, body preoccupation, and catering to men. I think they should be paid more!
So can you see now why women like me want change???
- Current Mood: hopeful