I’ve tried writing this in a more reflective and candid way. I’ve tried separating the thoughts and analysis from the emotion. I wanted to write about it for another collection that I’m putting together but it’s not meant for that.
I was thinking about my experience with most of the female friends I’ve had. How the emotional woman and the damaged woman have been conflated in the minds of many, and it almost makes sense since, yeah, the abuse and exploitation of women occurs in epidemic proportions. I thought “what have we done to our women?”
The answer is a lot. So you might think I’d be angry at this terrible, woman-hating culture, blahdy blah.
No. I’m angry at women. Because these days, we* have almost full responsibility for perpetuating it.
To those who know me well, none of this will come as any surprise. I am a realist, through and through. There are a bazillion injustices in the world and it would be wonderful and fantastic if everyone could be inspired to treat everyone else fairly and we could all be happy and healthy and rainbows were a permanent fixture in the sky.
Fact is, that’s not our nature. That is not what is intended for human society. The only way we influence the world is from our own actions and the constraints that they put on those who would otherwise take advantage of or harm us. Those who are open to considering new views and behaviors to adopt are only influenced by others who shine as a result of their own strength and capability. Moreover, nothing, and I mean NOTHING, worthwhile is won without sacrifice and hard work. These observations are the core of all of my political and world views. I also employ them when I consider the pitfalls that most, if not all women fall in to.
I plan to bitch out…
- The next woman who complains about being fat around me, regardless of whether or not she is. No, I’m just going to straight up smack her.
- The next woman who complains about herself for reassurance/attention/overcompensation for insecurity.
- Any woman that, in practice, values appearance over substance or dumbs herself down to fit in/appear more attractive.
- The next woman I see reading a gossip magazine or otherwise treating celebrity stories as news OR entertainment. Come on, there are so many better things to do.
- The next woman who excuses men for being incapable of something totally reasonable with “he’s a man, what do you expect?”
- The next woman I meet who hands over her money to her husband for management.
- The next woman I meet who gives up career opportunities because she expects her man or anyone else to provide for her.
- Any woman I might meet whose child is/has reported being maltreated by her husband/partner but still stays with him.
- Any woman whose “partner” treats her like shit and she stays. Period.
We, as a gender, need to start having some respect for ourselves and taking control of our own places in the world. I know there are many women out there who do some of these things with no idea of the larger implications, who have not had exposure to different ideas. I would still expect any woman who is not happy or fulfilled with her life to explore different ways of living. However, the women I thought about while making this list have been intelligent, capable, sometimes successful women. There is just no excuse. Be the change you want to see.
- No one thinks your self hate is cute.
- No one respects you for playing dumb.
- Your life is too precious to waste on things that don’t truly enrich your life and make you happy.
- Life is also too precious to waste on people who don’t make you feel like your best self when you’re around them.
- Stop congratulating people for losing weight. If you must, congratulate them for taking care of their health in general. Health is much bigger (ha) than weight. You wouldn’t congratulate someone for taking a daily dose of aspirin to stave off heart disease.
- Try starting more meaningful, intelligent conversations with other women.
- Don’t fall into the self-criticizing trap. Don’t do it yourself, and I know its really contagious. Also don’t reassure others who look for reassurance by putting themselves down.
- Watch your speech! When you say negative things about yourself and others, when you judge yourself and others, you’re setting up negative thought patterns that permeate your life. Be positive.
- If you have a daughter, buy her that race car. Or science set. Or play tools. Barbies are cool, but let’s encourage balance and options.
- Learn how to change your own fucking tire. As long as you’ve got two working sets of hands, you can do it.
- Do things because you want to or they make you feel good to do them, not because they are expected of you as a woman.
- Speak up for yourself, regardless of how others will see it.
- Focus on being strong and capable instead of skinny, so that you can do for yourself and protect yourself if you must.
- Allow yourself to not look amazing sometimes. It’s ok, the world isn’t going to explode, people will not avert their eyes in horror.
I seriously have no room in my life for people who are comfortable with the status quo in this regard. It’s toxic and tiring and infuriating.
Also, I am specifically talking about hetero women. I know there is overlap with same-sex couples, guys, whatever. That’s not what I’m focusing on here.
*We, being intelligent women who live in the same culture that I do, or one similar and have a an otherwise livable standard of living.