Man — subject. Woman — object.
Disclosure: the following article is a personal opinion regarding “feminism” based on certain facts and real situations.
It all started one morning about 2 weeks ago. I was already having a tough time and this was the drop that filled the glass. As I was going home, a man passed by me. I already saw him from far away and I kind of suspected that he will say something that will piss me off. When he was next to me he said:
“What would I do to you. You cannot even imagine.”
And he continued shouting things as I was trying to get as far as I could from him.
I started shaking . I knew that he wouldn’t actually do anything but I was really pissed and the first instinct was to turn around and tell him:
“What would you do? Let’s see. I dare you.”
But I stopped myself in time. Somehow I felt offended. Even though he was the frustrated one I could not help but feel ashamed as he was screaming after me. I felt violated- the words he was saying were brutal, harsh. After some time I calmed down and I realized that this entire story is not about me, that this happens on a daily basis to women all around the world and that there are men out there that do not just say it but they also do it. And I felt even worse. Why are we, women, seen by the society as the weak ones, why is it ok for a man to say such things? It’s degrading to women,yes, that fact is well-known, so why say it?
I recently saw a TV show that many critics categorize as “the most feminist TV show currently running on TV”. It’s called “The Fall” and Gillian Anderson is absolutely amazing in it. To be fair, she has an interesting character — detective Stella Gibson. At the beginning I did not see it, but there was something in her words, in the way she acted that made her powerful, in control. There was this line at one point that crossed my mind that day:
“A man was once asked why he is afraid of women and he said that he is scared they might laugh at him. When women were asked why they are afraid of men, the answer was that they are scared that men might kill them.”
Are we actually that scared of men? Is that why we usually don’t walk alone at night on the streets, why we cross the street if we see a bunch of strange guys approaching us, why we prefer not to stand up for ourselves in certain situations? And God forbid we say something bad about men that we are immediately categorized as “men haters” or sexually frustrated. If a woman got a promotion she certainly slept with someone and if she does not want to have a kid or a family she is selfish, not fulfilling her purpose in life (no, it’s not a thing from the past — some people still think like this).
The so-called weaknesses of women are used sometimes as jokes which are later taken as common-truths:
“Look how that driver parked — I bet she is a woman.”
“You run like a girl.”
“You play catch like a girl.”
“Is that your strength? You are such a girl.”
I once saw a commercial at Always (yeah, the tampons). The main concept was pretty interesting— several girls were asked to “do something like a girl”-such as run or throw a ball. Most of the teenagers did the actions in a stupid, goofy way, the way the society embedded this ideas in their minds. But when the same question was put to younger girls, the output was very different:
“What does it mean to you when I say ‘run like a girl’?”
“It means ‘run as fast as you can’.”
Sad right? To think that once upon a time we thought we can do anything and when we grow up we change our believes because we are told otherwise by those around us.
Another question for which I have not found an answer yet: since when does being a feminist, fighting for equality of the sexes is regarded as a bad thing? People need to stop confusing “feminism” with “misandry”.
Since the day of the incident I started to question the whole women-man power. I did not experienced so far a situation in which a man was better paid or praised over me. But I know that I will some day.
A friend told me she had experienced misogyny at her work place — her boss preferred to have men in his team instead of women and he was always praising the guys for the jobs they did and the women were left outside of the equation. She felt in a disadvantage and she could not say anything because it would have been pointless.
There are a lot of untold stories. There are also told ones but people usually tend to misinterpret the whole concept of it so women decide to shut up because they are scared they might be judged and blamed for what happened. In most of the cases it’s the woman’s fault — the woman wore something or did something to the man and he is as innocent as the clear blue sky.
I recently read an article about a man who raped a woman in India back in December 2012 . When asked about it, he stated that:
“A girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy. A decent girl won’t roam around at 9 o’clock at night. Housework and housekeeping is for girls, not roaming in discos and bars at night doing wrong things, wearing wrong clothes. (…) She should just be silent and allow the rape.”
Moreover, the things seem to be pretty bad on this subject there- one woman gets raped every 22 minutes in India.
There are a lot of factors involved in these acts — culture, society but whatever the reason is, things must change. It will take a long time to make a change but we need to open our eyes and look around us, become aware of the problem and try to make a change. We already came a long way so far.
So, what does being a “feminist” mean (in my opinion)? It means fighting for your rights, speaking up when a man has an advantage over you at your job because you are “just a woman”, refusing to sell yourself short, standing up for yourself and not getting yourself down if someone makes a bad comment. Be smart — if you encounter a misogynist, do not let him get to you. After all, he must be pretty frustrated himself and what woman would want to hang out with a man like that?