By Paige Stewart
I’m not one to constantly complain about my life, my experiences or even valid points. I’m more of an “avoid confrontation at all costs” kind of girl. However, when I start to think about what being a woman today is actually like, I couldn’t keep my mouth shut.
Rape, sexual harassment, catcalling, slut shaming, oppression in various sectors, domestic abuse, being denied basic human rights, being regarded as less than our male peers. These are, to name a few, certain ‘obstacles’ women are faced with and are forced to live with every day. These are the things that we are raised to accept as inevitabilities.
We are raised from a young age to accept the oppression as a part of our lives. We are raised by people who say things like “close your legs”, “cover up” and “you can’t do that, you’re a girl”. We raise girls to think that just by being born female they are already guilty of something. We raise sexually oppressed women who can’t explore their fantasies and desires or even express that they enjoy sex (a natural part of being human) for fear of being labelled a “slut” or “easy”, which there are no male counterparts for might I add.
We are raised in a society which votes obvious misogynists such as Donald Trump into power, a man who openly and proudly refers to woman as “disgusting animals”. We are raised in a society which subconsciously teaches everyone to accept rape culture. We’ve desensitized the severity of rape, domestic violence and any form of violence to the point where they are used in jokes. Nobody takes joke seriously.
I’ve yet to meet a woman, young or old, who has never experienced some sort of sexual assault or harassment. Women who have the fortune of not being a victim of these crimes are seen as lucky and are few and far between. Women who have had the misfortune, however, are neglected because these crimes are seen as the norm. When a woman stands up for herself in a situation where she has been wronged, she is labelled as difficult or even radical in some cases. In these instances, we can see how little woman are respected as well as the total lack thereof, so much so we are not even given the right to redress an issue without our ‘outburst’ being attributed to female hysteria.
When asked by THR (The Hollywood Reporter) if she thinks the culture of the leverage of power and culture of abuse will change, actress Jennifer Lawrence replied, “I hope eventually. I think it’s going to be a while. I think it’s so deeply ingrained unfortunately socially and kind of this social proof of some way of your masculinity and until we‘re equal in every way, how can you expect us to be respected verbally if we’re not being respected in any other way?”