To Be A Woman in 2021
There are days I wish I was born a man. Not because I’m not comfortable in my own skin, but because I have to work twice, if not thrice, as hard to prove myself and to reassure others of who I am. My whole life has been spent pushing boulders up hills to satisfy some sick notion of society only to do it all over again just when I think I’ve made progress.
As a woman I am always fighting the idea of what I should be. My success is not guaranteed, or even assumed in the way that a male’s is from birth. I must fight to prove that I belong, that I am intelligent and capable. A man can achieve in a year what it may take a woman several, if only because a man is given more opportunities and tools to succeed. And frankly, in many situations higher wages for the same work. I have been passed over for opportunities in the past because I was told I was more useful as “a pretty face” to impress customers, as if that’s not insulting at all. As if it is a compliment to dismiss my education and skills but tell me I’m pretty.
You are told as a woman that if you are sexually assaulted it is your fault. That you should have dressed more modestly. That you asked for it. That you must have given him a signal that said it was okay. This is a reality of being a woman, even today. There are men out there who think they have a right to your body, and men who think it’s not their job to intervene. It’s shocking how many people can say #metoo and you would never know it. I hold my keys like a weapon when I go out at night. Do you?
A man can go outside in broad daylight without a shirt on, and yet I have been called a slut for wearing a (not very revealing) tank top. If I wear too much makeup I am high maintenance, or I am “inviting the wrong kind of attention”. If I wear none I don’t care about my appearance. Everyone has an opinion, and a judgement.
I grew up in a Christian environment, letting slide subtle indoctrinations telling women their place in society. How it’s okay for a married man to sleep with his slaves and have children with them, but if a woman has sex outside her marriage she is an adulterous whore. How a woman’s place is to stay quiet in her husband’s shadow and to never speak for herself except in private, and only then to her husband who has the final say.
I have been told by church leaders that it is my duty to “go forth and multiply”. That I am “selfish” for not giving my parents grandchildren, as if it is their right to a hypothetical human being that I have no desire to nurture or to love. As if it’s not my choice, my body, my decision, my life. When a man doesn’t want to have children he rarely faces the same scrutiny or judgement.
I am strong and I am capable, and I am tired of being small. I am tired of having no voice because I was taught not to use it. I want to live in a world where girls are raised knowing they can do anything they set their minds to. Where they are confident going into the workplace and don’t apologize for taking up space. Where they don’t feel like they have to fit themselves into the small box society has created for them. Where we are are truly equals.
When there aren’t days I wish I was born a man.