Yes, it is true that every individual has their own struggle.
Yes, it may seem cruel and unsympathetic to state that some individuals struggle more than others.
Perhaps it is simply that individuals struggle differently than others.
But when it comes to issues of systematic oppression, that argument is simply not valid.
Because if every facet or most facets of society are systematically designed to exclude, terminate and degrade a certain group of people, then that certain group of people certainly suffers more.
I think that these kinds of things are obvious.
I think that these kinds of things ought to be obvious.
But how could they be to people who live in the majority or live in a privileged group be aware of the struggles of those in the minority or underprivileged group?
They can become aware, but unlike the underprivileged group, they have the choice to become aware. They have a choice to choose to lie in the oasis of delusion where they have their rights, and live in the false fantasy that everyone around them does as well, or they can simply bask in the pleasantries of being fortunate enough to have experienced the benefits and rights of the elite class.
My point is that I get very disgusted when people of any privileged group insinuate, state or even have the audacity to argue that their struggles are equal to the struggles of the underprivileged.
I am not even going to begin to go in on the people who think that the lives of the privileged are worse than that of the underprivileged but I digress…
This blog is to focus on 10 reasons why women have it harder than men, just 10 out of the infinite list of reasons.
Women suffer from constant sexual harassment in the streets and perhaps in their own homes by their own family members. It could come from a cousin, uncle, sibling, parent and be covered up to be held as secret. Cat calling happens in the street and harassment happens in school. It is true that boys do suffer from sexual harassment but not in the same way and frequency that women do. Women suffer from it more frequently and more viciously than men. Most times men are assumed to be stronger but women are assumed to be weaker, so more than not, they are the target of these heinous crimes. Women are also taught to be forgiving, modest, quiet and docile, so even if they are uncomfortable, they are taught not to express that discomfort and to accept and submit to whatever is happening, whether they like it or not.
This does go under the umbrella of sexual assault. Sexual assault is not the same as rape, but rather an umbrella term for anything such as an uncomfortable sexual comment, to an uncomfortable sexual touch, to a form of sexual penetration into the body. Yes, it is true that men do get raped, especially in jail. However the statistics show that 1 in 4 or almost about 1 in 3 women are raped in comparison to a lower number for men. Also keep in mind that jail is a particular place that someone is sent to whereas rape towards women is in high numbers at places like college campuses.
Even the rape of male to male is usually done as an act of dominance or making a man one’s “bitch” which again returns to the ideas of misogyny (hatred of women) and has to do with humiliating, degrading and proving that one is stronger than the other.
Plenty of heterosexual men rape other men because rape has nothing to do with love, lust, desire or sexuality, but rather it is an action done to control, force, dominate and take simply because one can. It is also used as weapon and tool for power. So even when men are raped, it is still often done as a means to take a man’s “manhood” and put him in the position of a “woman” that in sexist terms represents everything weak, submissive and objectified.
3. Online harassment.
As if outside daily harassment wasn’t enough, the amount of ugly, grotesque proposals, inappropriate photos and homicidal threats women have received online and in text is astronomical. You name it: unsolicited dick pics, sexual proposals during conversations that were completely platonic or business oriented, threats of rape or death or both to women who deny a sexual or romantic proposal etc. There is revenge porn where hurt past lovers post lewd photos of their exes online that were sent in trust. There are hate pages made as well where strangers can comment and create a pool of hatred against an individual even if it’s slanderous and untrue.
4. Women against women.
I am not going to solely blame the hardships of being a woman on the fact that men have oppressed women, but also the woman on woman oppression is harsh too: Here are few examples…
- The traditional old school mother in law that never approves of her daughter in law, looks down upon her, belittles everything she does and never thinks she is good enough for her son.
- The judgmental religious pious women who shames any woman that shows so much as a naked collar bone or ankle in public. Very critical of liberal clothing choices.
- The natural woman who shames anything makeup, dress up or style change.
- The fashionista who shames anything natural or tomboyish.
- The submissive woman who goes around telling any outspoken woman how they will never have a man if they continue being outspoken.
- The independent B* this woman insists that women should do nothing for men at all, even just to be nice, she’s mean, she’s loud, she’s b*tchy.
- The competitors, women who always fight to be HBIC Alpha female, Queen Bee you name it and will destroy anyone who threatens that. Prime example: Regina George in Mean Girls.
- The “Miss Steal Your Man” woman. This woman goes around sleeping with anyone and everyone, single, married, engaged, she doesn’t care. She flirts with everyone, flaunts everything and she says she’s not at fault but rather the men who choose to cheat with her. Both parties are at fault. It takes two to tango.
- The gossip, she’ll tell all your business to everyone. Not to be trusted. Loves drama.
- “The Momster” a.k.a. The mother monster. There are many variations of these but I will highlight the controlling mother who instead of nurturing insists, even into adulthood that everything their daughter does is wrong, and dictates every facet of their life needs changing.
5. Physical Discomfort
Women go through menstruation every month and for many women it includes painful cramping, bloating, messy bleeding which can end up in an embarrassing accident, and for women in poverty, a desperate need to find pads or tampons. Men do not have a constant monthly pain, a constant messy physical event that threatens to embarrass in public. Tampons if left in too long can cause toxic shock syndrome. Periods can create an odor. There is all this societal pressure to be a flawless goddess, to look good, smell good, be good 24/7 as a woman. The money it costs to keep up with all of that is ridiculous!
6. Beauty Pressure
I cannot even begin to tell you how much pressure women have in society to look beautiful. In some places in the world women can be denied jobs for not being beautiful enough. Plastic surgery is at all time highs in some countries and is even encouraged and given as gifts by parents.To me that is child abuse, to give an insecure child an unnecessary plastic surgery for a bigger butt or breasts. There are ethnic alterations as well like eye surgeries in Asia, skin bleaching around the world, rhinoplasty to alter noses to look more narrow and European, as well as face alterations to the jaw. An obsession on youth is also an issue for women. So many creams and botox commercials that further insult age in a woman, as if it is a fate worse than death.
Men who age are still looked at as powerful, wise, experienced men. Women who age are discarded as useless and young women, as in children and young teens are preyed upon like meat.Who is beautiful every day? Some people, but to me the idea that any individual, no matter what kind of day they are having is expected to look 100% is insane. I don’t even really want to look 100% every day. I don’t need to and I want to have the opportunity to surprise people when I dress up. If I am dressed to the nines everyday, then it’s no longer special and people get used to that look. It’s also not practical. There are so many things a woman cannot do when she is dressed up or in makeup. I am an artist. I need to use my hands. Therefore manicures are pretty much out of the question. I need full use of my fingers and that money would go down the drain.
Beauty should not trump strength, but it often does. There are girls who can achieve great things but they are held back because they are told that they must look feminine and beautiful and youthful at all times. Real women get dirty sometimes. Humans have to get dirty sometimes. Some things in life cannot be accomplished clean. Women who fight to save lives get dirty. Women who play sports get dirty. Women who win medals get dirty. Bones get broken, hearts break and women carry on, still walking in their heels without stumbling, wiping their tears without ruining their mascara. We carry on even if the world is against us and still manage to look good too. That takes major ovaries.
7. Parental lock down for the daughters
All families are different so this does not apply for all daughters. Many families are without both parents and there are many without fathers so this is also not a relateable scenario for everyone. For those that do have both parents or strict fathers there is a strong double standard set of rules for daughters that are not made for sons.
Daughters aren’t allowed to stay out late, date, wear certain clothes or go to certain events. One may argue that this is simply done to protect girls, yet we egg our sons on about achieving the same atrocities that we are trying to protect our daughters from. How does a parent encourage their son to bang anything with legs while freaking out if his or her daughter has a crush? This doesn’t make any sense and is counter productive.
One may argue well it’s women who get pregnant, not men, if it were the other way around then men would be under the same rules and protection. Fair enough of an argument, but what I am saying is that unlike males women do not have the freedom of going out wherever we want, with whomever we want, wearing whatever we want. That leads into the next issue.
8. Slut shaming
While I personally have mixed feelings on this topic, which I will discuss in further blogs, I definitely am in full agreement that being fully clothed, naked nor any other certain article of clothing, does any woman deserve to be raped or sexually harassed. Part of slut shaming assumes that depending on how a woman is dressed she is promiscuous and therefore deserves any sexual harassment or attack because she was “asking for it.” There are so many issues with this I cannot even begin to get into the details. It takes away the humanity of a woman, victimizes her and leaves society indifferent to her plight because a “whore” (reminiscent of the Scarlet letter Hester Pryne) deserves punishment for her perceived promiscuity.
No one knows anyone’s sexual history unless they were their partner, and even then they can only surely be away of their encounter alone because their partner can lie. Clothes can’t tell that. There are flirtatious people who are dead fish in bed with little to no experience as well as undercover freaks who are quiet, shy and reserved in public. Men and women slut shame women and men are given praise for their sexual experience. Men are praised for showing off their bodies if they are sexually appealing. Men are encouraged to be as sexual as possible. While this hurts men as well, there are women who are killed for having sex.
There are places where young girls are stoned to death for not being virgins. There are women who die simply due to rumors that they are not virgins. Reputations are ruined, trust is lost and entire integrity is questioned of women who are not virgins. It is true we live in a more liberal era, but trust me, we are only liberal on the surface. At the core still lies many traditional, conservative, religious values. Women are too often punished by those and expected to be sexless eunuchs until marriage where they are expected to please the man sexually and expect nothing in return.
9. Pleasant Mood Requirements
Women are told to smile in the streets. I have been told to smile in the streets, and while it seems harmless it is quite annoying and presumptive. No one knows what struggles I may be going through and in American culture, especially for women, it is expected that we always have a pleasant friendly demeanor no matter where we go or what we’re going through. I really resent that. It’s not even humanly normal to smile and be happy every single moment of every single day. Plus smiles usually indicate “invitations” for creeps to creep on women and try to flirt and pick them up.
When I have a stoic face or a don’t eff with me look in the streets in general people leave me alone. That’s what I want when I am out in the streets. I am not looking for a date on the public bus. I don’t mind a nice compliment like, “you look nice today,” or “I like your outfit” those are fine. The cat calls that men say tend to be sexual and inappropriate and then when rejected become life threatening. Again when men reject women in general they don’t have to fear for their lives. Women do. Also men are not expected to smile every day, why should I? I have hardships and sometimes, I just don’t particularly feel like smiling. It’s not my job to be a pleasant beautiful smiling Barbie doll every day for society’s approval.
I also want to point out that as a Black woman, we are stereotyped to be mean and angry. If we legitimately feel angry we aren’t allowed to or it’ll just be seen as a typical black woman stereotype and our righteous anger is written off, even if it’s completely valid and worthy. Some days, I am angry, like any other human being, but because I’m Black my anger is not recognized as a normal emotion but a state of being at everything that slightly irritates me.
10. Marriage and Children pressure
I myself desire neither to get married or have children. I love children but I do not desire to have my own. It’s too much work and responsibility and yes, now that I am an adult and I have some new freedoms I want to live my life for me. I am currently 26 years old. Many people have told me that I will someday change my mind. If that happens, cool, but it’s very irritating to states my desires and constantly be contradicted and told what I should want or will want. There are women who don’t want kids and just because I have a uterus doesn’t mean I’m obligated to use it. I have had people get upset with me, like I was denying the world new life that I owed it or something, as if the population would end because I am not having kids. Plenty of people are having kids, too many, too early, with the wrong people and with too many different partners.
I get no medal for making it without having been a statistic single teen mom but I sure do get a lot of flack for not having kids. Why is there so much emphasis on having kids period? I can still as a teacher influence even more kids because I am more free to do so not being a parent. The idea that I cannot contribute to raising up society if I am not a parent is preposterous!
Then there is marriage. I have never loved anyone enough to want to marry them. Yes, I had a few boyfriends that during the infatuation stage I fantasized about a life with them, but marriage is much more serious than a teenage fantasy. Marriage is hard work, commitment, compromise and change. There are many reasons I feel that marriage is not for me, although I am not against the institution of marriage.
I think that happy, successful, loving, honest, loyal, equal marriages are wonderful things to be celebrated. I am not against getting married if I find the right person and I am ready but that’s a big if. I’m not going to get married arbitrarily just because society says I ought to and I have a time clock on my eggs.I also don’t care to have to check in with my partner if every decision I make is alright with them and since marriage is a partnership I would be obligated to share everything all the time and I don’t care to do that. I want some things for myself, to myself.
Again, there is a freedom I have as a single person that I rather enjoy, such as being able to travel wherever, whenever I want without having to consider my partner’s needs. As a linguist with multicultural affinity, I want to travel the world. The chances that I’ll find someone who can and wants to do the same well, they could be ought there, but I’m not looking. Anyway I feel like both marriage and children should be strong if’s not wants to be fulfilled or societal obligations. Many lives are effed up because people rushed out of pressure, pregnancy, infatuation, or loneliness and a need to feel validated and wanted.
I want to be the best version of myself, the best I can be, the ultimate epitome of self actualized me before I share my life with someone. It’s true I might be quite old by then, or I might reach that point sooner. It’s true that I could grow with someone, but I want to be at my best for someone and I want to be self sustaining. I don;t wan to b ea dependent. I want to share a life, not be an emotional parasite to my partner.I have to know deep within my heart that I am worthy of love, that I love myself and that I should always spread love before I get involved with someone. I have been in unhealthy relationships in the past and I do not desire to relive such ugly experiences. I want the best for myself, and the best for me, may not be within a future relationship. Right now I am living my life to the fullest and if someone else is in the future for me, wonderful. If not, it’s still wonderful!
This is the list of just 10 things that women struggle with that in general men don’t or struggles with much less. It’s much more difficult being a woman. I say this not to take away from men’s struggles, but our struggle is different and unique.