My anger has been bubbling over the past week, but something I witnessed earlier has broken my ability to hold it back. It’s something you see around everyday in one form or another but it’s brushed under the carpet. What am I alluding to…sexism.
International women’s day was last week and I was hoping to see some positive articles about achievements women have made pop up in my Twitter feed and admittedly I did see some, however what I saw a lot more of was hatred towards men and that enraged me.
I’ve been told my entire life that men oppress me. I won’t deny that doesn’t happen, I work in a very sexist environment and I fight against it daily. However, throughout my life the people that put me down and tell me, or at least try to tell me, what I can and can’t do are women. I’m told I shouldn’t study certain subjects at school because I’m a woman, I’m told I should dress a certain way because I’m a woman, I’m told to act a certain way because I’m a woman, I’m told I should work in a particular field because I’m a woman. Not once have I been told any of these things by a man. In fact it’s the men in my life that have given me the chance to take a different path.
It’s not just these everyday mundane roles I’m supposed to conform to. I’m a prude if I don’t take control of my sexuality and if I do I’m a slut who is succumbing to the pressure of the patriarchy. We constantly see campaigns for sex workers to be rescued, never mind that some women actually chose this career path by their own free will. We hear giving blow jobs is just degrading yet woman complain when men don’t give us the oral sex we demand.
At school is was girls that humiliated me because I had a full bush of pubes by the time I was twelve and then repeated the process when I shaved it off, it was girls that teased me because my boobs were small and ‘unfeminine’. There were occasions when the boys joined in but that was mostly when they were trying to impress someone and I often got sheepish apologies from them when they were alone.
I’m not saying it never happens but why do we feel the need to extrapolate the minority of idiots to represent the entire male gender. If a man says he feels a certain way then accept he feels that way and don’t tell him he’s wrong for feeling that way, you can’t feel what he’s feeling. Why is it if a man doesn’t show emotion then he’s cold and unfeeling, yet if he cries he’s weak?
The event I witnessed that broke my quiet seething, a twenty something woman telling a couple of men that they shouldn’t know how to cook, iron or sew because they’re men and can’t do that sort of thing and no, it wasn’t said in jest. It’s also acceptable for a group of women in a bar to dare each other to grope a man, if he were to complain he would just be laughed at. This is exactly the same everyday sexism that women have faced for years, we talk of male entitlement but isn’t this female entitlement? Why is it acceptable when the gender roles are reversed?
I have always classed myself as a feminist because I believe in equality yet what I see more and more of is shouting men down, telling them they are wrong and need to pay for the way past generations treated women. How is that striving for equailty? Why can we not let each other live the lives we chose to live without such judgemental negativity? Why can we not just treat each other with respect?