I’ll just say it. Being a woman is hard. Especially a 21st century woman. And not just in a ‘waah we have periods’ way (although that is slightly traumatic). I’m talking in the way that in today’s world, we can’t seem to win. Everyone has got an opinion about anything a woman does. Everyone seems to have an opinion on what a woman should be, how they should conduct themselves and where their values should lie. As I’m venturing into actual womanhood I’ve started to experience some of these things. And I’ll be honest; I’m not a fan.
On the one hand we are told that women fought for our rights. That we should take over the world, #girlboss and be crazily ambitious and driven. And with the next breath, once you hit a certain age and you’re a sassy business woman doing business it becomes, ‘oh she missed out on the important things’, ‘she missed the boat with having a family’. I’m sorry, if women fought for our rights, then surely part of that fight was to give us the option to have a family, or to not have one. I’m 24 years old, I still live at home with my mum and I’m planning on moving out with my boyfriend in the not too distant future. Yet, I’ve been asked multiple times when I’m planning on having a baby. And for me personally, babies are not on the cards anytime soon. Who knows in a couple of years my opinion might have completely changed, but as of right now, I would like to better mine and my partners position in the world.
Which brings me onto the next thing. Marriage. Now don’t get me wrong, like most little girls I have actually put a smidgen of thought into getting married. However, the prospect of having to change my name, I can’t even explain. I know it’s to unify you and bring you into the family la la la. However, in my case if my children weren’t to carry my last name, my family name will likely finish where it is. The option of double barrelled names is becoming more common which is fantastic, however there still seems to be a bit of judgement if a woman doesn’t take her husbands name. And shouldn’t a woman’s family name be as important to carry on as her husbands?
While I’ve got my sassy pants in a twist about that, if ever you want to really grind my gears. Tell me how because I’m a woman I should want to stay at home to cook and clean, I dare you. I went to school with someone who was the definition of a misogynist. Who once told me that when I’m older, if I’m lucky enough to be married I should keep a nice home for them, I should have all meals prepared and all domestic chores should be mine. Have we gone back to the 50s? And even if that is exactly what I wanted, how dare you expect it of me just because I have a uterus. A relationship, or indeed a marriage should surely be a partnership. Where both parties pitches in and are treated as equals?
Yet things aren’t equal, something men take for granted. Walking alone. It is drilled into us from such a young age, that you are not to walk alone when it’s dark. And even though I know the chances of something happening are slim, it is still terrifying. I’ve walked home alone in the dark twice, and both times my heart was racing the entire time. I was on edge and I even put my keys in between my fingers as a makeshift defence. The fact that it is deemed unsafe for women to be alone at night is appalling to me. What kind of world do we live in where there is the genuine fear of, lets face it, we’re talking about sexual assault, just by walking down the street.
Want to know what my brother bought me last year? A rape alarm. I literally carry a rape alarm on my person at all times. Want to know what else he taught me? To gauge the eyes and bite whatever I could if I was attacked. He taught me this when I was in primary school. I was being preparing me for worst case scenario, but to have to teach little girls that the world is a scary place, filled with people who want to hurt you. That kind of pressure shouldn’t be placed on anyone, regardless of age or gender. If I was to ask boys in my age range how many times they’ve been frightened to walk alone, or if they carry a rape alarm. I’m thinking the majority would say no.
And with everything happening in the press at the moment with Harvey Weinstein and all his victims being so brave and coming forward. It’s opened the doors to the #metoo conversation, where these amazingly strong woman are coming forward and speaking out about their experiences with sexual assault. And to be completely honest I’m stunned at just how many women have gone through this victimisation. It’s a huge percentage of women. I personally have had my experiences with creepy and odd men, with the standard ‘bum grab’ especially in clubs. And the fact that I class that as standard, because it happens so frequently is appalling. No one has the right to touch anyone in anyway without their explicit content. And I’m honestly so proud of all these inspirational women, coming forward and sharing their experiences to encourage others to do so. It’s a conversation that needs to continue and needs the wheels put into motion. So the standard ‘bum grab’ won’t be standard anymore.
I can’t speak for all women, however I know personally I would never expect a man to do or be anything he didn’t want to. If he wants a career, great. He wants a huge family and to be a house husband, wonderful. If he doesn’t want to settle down, who am I to tell him he should? Who am I to tell him anything? So why is it okay to tell a woman?
What’re your thoughts on the pressures women face?