I went to Dorney Park the other day, and while I was there, I did not expect to encounter the sexist apparel that I did. Now, a t-shirt that reads “You Scream Like A Girl” is not the worst insult to women, but it is still an insult. “Screaming like a girl” means that you are weak, easily frightened, and “feminine”. No one throws out “You scream like a man” or “You hit like a man” and means them to be insults. Our society loves to put an emphasis on what they decide are characteristics of the inferior sex. The thing is that there is no inferior sex. Yes, men and women are both very different, but one sex is not better than the other, and these differences shouldn’t matter.
The definitions our society has attributed to masculinity and femininity widely contrast. In fact, they are the exact opposites. When we think of masculine we use words like dominant, strong, and independent. When we think of feminine we use words like submissive, frail, and dependent. While both women and men do contain a mixture of both of these qualities, for some reason it is only acceptable for men to be completely masculine and for women to be completely feminine. For this, we can blame society.
However, these words, these adjectives, are faulty. They shove men and women into tiny boxes, forcing them to “conform” to these ideals. One is to believe that a masculine man can take care of everything, provide for the family, and never cry, while a feminine woman is weak and must obey her husband or any other male authoritarians. Obviously, these are two extremes ranging from super human to helpless. But if we are to take these definitions so literally, as we generally do, we have to consider the extreme sides.
I have heard many people make the bold “statement” that masculine women are lesbians, and feminine men are gays. When such statements are made, at least to me, it is obvious that these reverse characteristics are meant to be taken as an insult and as an abnormality, which so happens to be considered wrong or disdainful. These claims may be made for various reasons, but the important part is that they are made at all. It appears to be a rather troublesome thing to be “different”, existing outside of societal ideas and/or normalities. It is not acceptable to set ourselves apart.
And although being feminine is an insult for men and women, women are at a disadvantage because masculinity is something they should never ever possess. If they adhere to their given roles as weak and submissive, they are inferior. (I mean, who wants to be told that they’re weak?) And if women are masculine, they are either lesbians (which is a bad thing apparently) or undesirable. Feminine men do appear to be at a certain disadvantage, but in the end, they are still men, men who own everything and rule the world.
To conclude, the terms masculine and feminine are absolutely ridiculous. We do not need to use these adjectives ever. They are insulting and absolutely useless. Humans are individuals. We are all inherently different and we all possess different qualities, regardless of sex or gender. We are unique. We have brains. We have entire thesauruses and dictionaries to provide us with more appropriate and accurate words to describe each and every individual we meet. There is no need to clump an entire gender into one “ideal” category. We’re better than that, or at least, I hope so.
*I decided to write this because of these comments that I have viewed recently:
[“Women aren’t supposed to be too strong. If women were strong, they’d be men (or lesbians).
What man in his right mind would want to have sex with another man? That’s gay. Therefore, women should be slightly submissive. It’s the essence of femininity.”
“A man wants to be with a woman who’s a woman – the type of feminine woman that is rapidly becoming extinct.”]
Well, boys, here’s a little tip: If there is a vagina attached to her, there’s a good chance that she just might be woman.
I never would have pictured myself actually going through with this. I have heard so many people warn of the pain and regret, the permanence. I have been warned of the stigma that is attached to each and every tattoo that is visible on your body, the judgement that is formed when you go to a job interview. But to me, these are awfully pitiful fears that society tries to instill in us, to prevent us from leading the lives we want to live, to prevent us from marking our bodies they way we want them to be marked. I want a tattoo to celebrate my hope and my joy and my pain. I want to celebrate every inch of my soul and show it to the world. I want to celebrate a feeling I have very recently began to discover, a feeling called happiness. And if that labels me as a degenerate, anything will.
I don’t read Cosmo because I don’t want to learn how to please my man. I don’t have a man, but even if I did, I wouldn’t want to take a sheep’s advice. Besides, I think it’s only fair that my man pleases me every once in a while. I don’t read Cosmo because I don’t need to lose weight, or learn how to dress sexy while being comfy. I don’t read Cosmo because there is no way that you can make a guy fall in love with you with the shade of your lipstick, or the flick of your hair, or the sex in your voice. I don’t read Cosmo because I am an individual and I can make my own decisions. I don’t read Cosmo because I go to my mother for advice. I don’t read Cosmo because I don’t feel like spending money on something so disposal and temporarily trendy. I don’t read Cosmo because I am too busy living my life.
Being sexually active has nothing to do with a woman’s morals or the looseness of a woman’s vagina. Men are given a pat on the back for either having multiple one night stands in a short period of time or for just having a lot of sex in general. However, if women have the same sexual pattern or history as a man who “scores” a lot, then she is labeled as a slut or a whore. She is then classified as promiscuous and dirty. It is here that we are presented with a great, unjust double standard. If a straight man is having all of this wild sex, then tell me, who is he having it with? Men? No. He’s having sex with women. So, here where we find ourselves stuck in a hole of confusion and hypocrisy. It really does take two to tango. I’m sure he wouldn’t be bragging about having sex with himself. My question to you is: Why is she the whore, but he the champion? Slut shaming is when a person is called out on their sexual behavior and made of mockery of for it. Being a slut is considered to be one of the highest insults, if not the highest. Slut shaming is a horrible thing to do either to a man or a woman, but it really mostly happens to women. I don’t want to say that it only happens to women, because who knows? I do not want to be the one to make that assumption. Either way, slut shaming has to stop. Actually, our entire societal view needs to change to a more sex positive one. Middle schools and high schools in every state should have actual sex education classes. No one needs to be taught about abstinence. There’s really not that much to it. We need to inform kids/teenagers about contraceptives, and STDs, and how to properly put on and take off a condom. Those are all truly important things that a properly functioning person should be informed about. I was lucky enough to have the most thorough sex education class ever in my sophomore year of high school. This might sound odd to say, but I truly enjoyed my sex education class. I learned so much and grew even more curious about sexuality and how things work, much like I am curious about many other things in life. We should not be afraid to talk about sex because it is not disgusting, or wrong, or filthy like we are told to believe. Sex is sex. It can be used to reproduce or for personal pleasure. And yes, things can go wrong, but things can go wrong in all aspects of life. Hiding the truth about sex from our children is not going to protect them, it’s only going to hurt them in the end. Once they are informed, they can be free to make their own choices and use their own minds, but the point is to inform them and not to shove our own misguided opinions down their throats.
Another issue I want to address is “loose women” and their loose vaginas. Having sex cannot and does not loosen the vagina. Vaginas come in all different sizes, but they do not change size because of the amount of sex they have had. So, all those dirty thoughts you had about virgins? Yeah, it’s all in your mind, bud. The only act that can loosen the vagina is childbirth, but this loosening is only temporary as it goes back to its original size in about six months or so after giving birth.
A woman’s morals have nothing to do with her sexual activity. Religion and societal standards do not need to treat women like a different, lesser part of the world, furthering the dehumanization of the female kind. I just don’t see how these two things can directly relate. We’re not talking about adultery, we’re just talking about plain, old sex. Humans are not like other animals. We cannot have sex for the sole purpose of procreation. Our desire for sexual pleasure is one of the many aspects that makes us human. Gays and lesbians are human, and they cannot procreate among their own sex. Here, we are presented with yet another issue. There are just so many issues, and the issues only lead to my perpetual frustration, but I can’t stop caring and reading about the issues. I am a flaming masochist.
Anyway, thank you for making it this far. I know this was kind of ranty, but hey, what else is the internet for?
Someone very close to me is still unaware of my ever-present and ever-growing feminism. This person is my sister. I am hesitant to inform her about this part of my life because she tends to be judgmental and because of various things she has said in the past. About a year ago, her and her husband were talking and said something to this effect: “Feminists are butch lesbians who hate men.” At the time, my only reaction was to roll my eyes and feel somewhat shitty inside, but now I feel disgusted and slightly hurt that someone I love would make such an ignorant comment. Lesbians can be butch, lesbians can be feminists, and lesbians can be butch feminists, but they do not make up the entire demographic of feminists. Feminists consist of men, women, heteros, homos, bisexuals, transgenders, Christians, atheists, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, republicans, democrats, libertarians, independents, femmes, butches, you name it. So, obviously not all feminists are butch lesbians. This is because people have the ability to think for themselves and decide what they want to believe and agree with. Each and every human being is an individual, who can use his or her own judgment to determine who they are and what they want out of life. My other new reaction to this ignorant comment is: Then what the hell am I? I am not a lesbian, or a butch lesbian, yet I’m a feminist. Oh, and I also don’t hate men. So it would seem that we now have a debacle on our hands since I am now the ultimate exception to the feminist rule. A predominantly straight, biological female, who doesn’t hate men can be a feminist? What? I know. I am astonished as well.
All sarcasm aside, the fact that her and so many other people think feminists are part of the “she-woman man-haters club” shows how seriously misinformed and ignorant the world is. Feminism is about achieving equality for both women and men because we are equals, regardless of our inherent, biological differences. Those differences are insignificant and matter not. The goal of the feminist movement is to rid the world of misogyny and misandry and to eliminate gender stereotypes and gender specific insults, so that one day a girl will not be given grief over her desire to join the school football team, and a guy will be allowed to cry and feel emotion in public without being called a girl, because, in reality, that is not an insult. In reality, we are all human. We were all created equally. Different doesn’t equate to less.
So, Sister, I am stepping out of the feminist closet to show you who I truly am. I do not expect you to agree with me on every issue. We both have very different beliefs politically, socially, religiously, academically, but in the end, none of those differences matter. I have looked up to you for so long. For so long, I wanted to be you, but now it is time for me to become my own person. I am who I am, and I am proud to be me. And I hope you are proud to be my sister. I love you, and I can’t wait to see you on Thursday.