Life as a woman in the United States is, well, complicated. What does it mean to be a woman? How do women act? How do they dress? How likely are they to deserve it when they are raped?
You read that right. I said when. If you pay attention at all to the ‘me too’ movement and the stories that came from that or if you talk to the women in your personal life, we have stories. We have times where our bodies have been violated. And while you may cry #notallmen, we respond with #yesallwomen.
I read this week about a boy who filmed himself raping a 16 year old girl who was drunk (read: unable to consent) and bragged about his actions on camera. The evidence was right there filmed by his own hand. Yet, no punishment was given because he was a ‘good boy’ from a ‘good family.’ If you’re a woman in this country, you’re not surprised by this. Remember Brock Turner and his swim team times? Obviously those mattered so much more than the woman’s well-being.
Women in this country face a harsh reality every single day. Our consent is not required. Men are allowed to leer at us and pinch and prod and it’s all in good fun. We’re expected to smile and laugh it off. It’s just harmless flirting after all. Why should we make waves?
A woman came out recently and accused the president of sexually assaulting her (yes, another one) to which he replied, ‘she’s not my type.’ As if that simply excused the accusation. As if the sexual assault would have been okay if she was his type? But the kicker is how quickly people brushed it off. He’s a man. He can do what he wants.
Recently my sister own sister had an encounter with some catcallers. She took to Facebook to vent. My brother replied with a shameful — though not unexpected — message that she liked the attention and look how much more she was getting by posting about it.
This is what it is to be a woman in this country. From the time we’re young girls, our bodies are not our own. Parents talk to their daughters about their virginity and their bodies being a gift that they give to people. “Don’t share your gift with just anyone or you’ll be a slut.” But, the funny thing is, most sons are not given this same talk. Comedies are made of rape and molestation. Guys on TV frequently use coercion and it’s played off as ‘boys will be boys.’
Do we wonder why no woman feels safe?
It’s time for a change in the system. It’s time that we stop allowing the bad behavior and the sexist rhetoric to exist in our spaces. It’s time we women reclaim that space. In the 80s and 90s, there was a backlash to the feminism of the 60s and 70s. Women felt secure in their positions. They didn’t want to make too many waves and knock themselves from the precarious positions they’d fought for. They had degrees. They ran companies. Just not at the level nor the numbers the men had.
But sexism is dead. Misogyny is a myth.
Sure it is. Just ask the 16-year-old girl whose rape was filmed, yet that still wasn’t enough to convince a judge to punish her attacker for his crime. Ask the woman who knows she never wants to have children, but has to wait until she’s at the appropriate age to make that choice for herself — if she’s ever allowed to make that choice for herself. Ask the 22 women who have come forward with allegations of assault from the man that holds the highest office in our country. I’m sure they’ll tell you that it’s prime time to be a woman in this country.
But, know this. They hold us down because they are afraid. They slander us because it is their only weapon against the tide of feminism that rolls their way. I have faith that we will see this reign of terror end in my lifetime. And I look forward to helping with the rebuild afterward.