Gender Issues

So, being that I have put a lot of thought into gender issues, whether it be to examine my life, to analyze society, or to create mock relationships in my fiction endeavors, I tend to have strong sentiments on the topic.

I’ll never forget the transition from high school to college. I was so obsessed with the entire process of going away to a big fancy school, that I even signed up for the “Pre-Stay” program. I worked a job at an Anne Taylor clothing store (in walking distance because I didn’t have a car) just so I could gather enough money to pay for it. Under this program, a select group of students would arrive in Boston a week before the rest of the incoming freshmen and get to travel the city doing volunteer work. What a great way to meet people early on and get settled right away! What a great way to explore such a rich, cultural and historic city! I was downright thrilled.

The problem was that we had to pick a topic of interest. The list included: Homelessness, Environment, AIDS, Children, Elderly, and Gender Issues. I was interested in all of these! Couldn’t we have a week with each? But, in the end, my curiosity sparked me. I had to choose “Gender Issues” because I saw it as an opportunity to finally discover harmony between the sexes.

They divided us into groups amidst the late August sun and the limited grassy knolls of the urban campus. They referred to that area as “the beach” because it aligned the Charles River and it was the closest you were going to get to nature. Nick was our group leader; he was a returning sophomore. Nick was very attractive.

But there was something different about him- he spoke very eloquently- and at some point after the third day and the trip to the battered women’s shelter, I started to get the feeling that Nick was gay. One of the things the people of Boston kept bragging about was that Massachusetts became the first state to allow gay marriage, and in turn, had the lowest divorce rate of any state. Interesting.

At some point along the trip I realized that Gender Issues was really a cover for LBGT issues. On the last day of the trip, Nick made a public announcement to the group, coming out of the closet. I also realized that I was the only straight member. There was nothing wrong with that. I met some pretty awesome people. I had fun. However, I must admit that I was a little disappointed that I didn’t get the opportunity to meet anyone that week who may have later wanted to take me to the student lounge for coffee. It’s funny, looking back, how naive I was. “Gender Issues.” What was I expecting?

The point of that anecdote was to show that gender issues have long been on the forefront of my mind (that story is about 11 years old). Now, in 2017, I didn’t realize that the backlash with the Trump election would be centered so much around Gender Issues, and take me back to college again.

I have an idea. Before I share it I want to warn people that it’s going to sound ridiculous. But we all know and love that heart-wrenching commercial with the ugly idea monster that turns into a beautiful creature, right? Just hear it out:

If women are truly believing in the bottom of their hearts and pits of their souls that men are at fault for their state of “oppression,” why not try boycotting something they know is a commodity to men? In other words: STOP HAVING SEX. If men truly do see sex as an act of power, and view the female body in terms of commodity, then why not restrict their means to it? I know this is an awful stretch of an analogy, but when blacks stopped riding the buses, didn’t they get a message across? Think about what would happen if we stopped “riding” our oppressors. (I know- horrible, awful- I’m so crude! #Pussy fights back.)

But, seriously, it just seems paradoxical for me that- if men are truly to blame for oppression- why are we are still allowing them access to our bodies? Why are we fighting for the right to abort the fetuses they implant in us when we can just solve the problem all together by boycotting sex until the oppression (whatever it may be) goes away. I mean what law could Congress possibly pass that would create more power than the result of women taking the power back with their own bodies and REFUSING to display or give them lustfully until their demands are met.

If this is a war, is that not the A-Bomb of attack?

And what if men are not to blame… what if it’s other women! Women like me- which I’m sure my liberal friends may agree with. Women who just want to go back in time to 1950. “Go be a house wife,” they say.

Well, if other women are at cause for the “oppression” then wouldn’t that suggest a divide in the gender? Wouldn’t that suggest that before we start demanding things we should stop and take a second to figure out how to UNITE women from both sides of the spectrum. I mean we are literally in the process of redefining what it is to be a female (and male by default). We have NO IDEA how much our identities are wrapped around the other gender.

Anyway, it was just a crazy thought I had. And I guess, it’s only for the equally crazy, and serious, and bold. I know from experience that a lack of sex is extremely difficult. It’s 100% a sacrifice. But it’s also extremely liberating and extremely achievable. Why liberating, you ask? Well, besides the fact that for me (personally) I can look in the mirror at someone with dignity, it has freed my mind. If you think about the amount of space sex takes up, so much mind space is given back when it’s completely off the table. Of course it doesn’t go away completely, but it brings about a peace of mind and release of a certain kind of drama. I used to absolutely LIVE off attention from the opposite sex (and in ways I still do), but long-term abstinence, now, has allowed me to become a little more clear.

***Note: I didn’t stop having sex for political reasons, but rather for my spiritual/religious beliefs- knowing that the purpose attached with the type of marital sex God wants me to have is soooooooooooooooooooo much more than what I was experiencing without it.