Women’s issues are constantly battled for and against. There are fights to improve policies and situations and, often these issues are not taken seriously and pushed to the side. Things like the wage gap, the focus on a woman’s appearance instead of her knowledge, not including women in decisions and legislation about abortion rights, blaming rape victims, and so much more. These women are considered to just be whining and aren’t taken seriously. That is, until a man brings up the same issues and expresses concern. These things aren’t real or serious when a woman experiences it but once a man finds himself in these similar situations they become important. I can’t even count how many times I have said “I just said that,” because it was ignored when I brought it up but taken seriously when the words came out of a man’s mouth.
This is a problem. Not everyone feels the same way or has the same experiences. There are many people that are more and less fortunate than others. This does not mean we have the right to dismiss others problems and concerns just because we have not experienced them. That is the problem with this situation. Most men don’t experience the belittling, the misogyny, the disrespect that women do, so they don’t think women experience these things. We live in the same world so our experiences should be similar, right? No. This idea is absurd. Every person is different and has different experiences including men and women.
This is a story about crying and feeling. When I was a little, little girl, I would cry so often and so hard that I was gasping for air, and then I would pass out. Later, as a child, and especially as an adolescent, I was ashamed of crying. I saw it as a manifestation of my own weaknesses, exposed for the whole watching world to witness. I tried to convince myself that I should not feel or care about anything because then I would never be hurt enough to cry. I held my tears in for months at a time, only for them burst out violently when least expected, when they had been held in for too long. I had developed an elaborate metaphor to justify this, involving stuffing a suitcase so full of emotions that I had to sit on it just to keep it closed. When I did cry, the suitcase exploded, and all the things I had been holding in for the past six months would have to be unpacked, in the same way that one unpacks a suitcase when they are at their destination. Typically, this occurred while laughing because, for me, laughing and crying are fundamentally connected. Laughing is a way of crying that is more socially acceptable. Both are a feeling of bodily release of emotions. I would laugh so hard that I could not breath, then the laughing would come too close to the feeling of crying, and I would start sobbing. When this happened, it was very confusing for my companions and me because my laughing and crying noise sound scarily similar. Honestly, this still happens sometimes, and my laughing and crying still sound remarkable similar. However, this year, I understand the flaws in all of this logic. I know that crying is good. I know that expressing emotion is healthy. I know that feeling and caring is better than the alternative. I know that being vulnerable is valuable. I revel in my emotion.
One of my best friends got her first tattoo at 19. It was on her foot and it said Hakuna Matata. This set something off in me, a desire to do something permeant like that. But I was not brave like my friend, I stuck to poking holes in my ears. Then came the movement when thousands of women, all at once, went out and got, she persisted, tattooed on themselves. My friend was strange, exotic, how could she a young woman who still lived at home get a tattoo. No one else I knew lived life so dangerously. Women, it had always seemed to me, did not get tattoos; it was not only morally wrong but would also lead to regret. These women were not women you wanted to be associated with, they were sluts, they had no sense of foresight, they’re boring, or they’re just mentally ill or selfish. Continue reading “Tattoos and Women”→
We are constantly immersed in media and advertising; getting bombarded with messages even if we don’t want to. These messages often feature unrealistic beauty standards and try to convince us that we will not be happy unless we buy these products. This constant intake of messages and images has an effect on us and it is not for the better. These companies are just trying to make money and will do whatever it takes to do so. Below I have recreated popular ads that are often directed toward women to be more realistic.
Recently, I talked about the company Thinx and all they do and reviewed one of their products, the period underwear. I want to continue this conversation and talk about periods.
That’s right, the monthly gift women get that ruins our clothes, causes us pain, and tells us we aren’t pregnant. Periods are natural and most of us get them. Yet, for some reason, we aren’t supposed to talk about them. God forbid we actually educate girls about their health but, unfortunately, periods make men uncomfortable so we aren’t supposed to talk about it.
In this essay I am going to be talking about orgasms specific to people who have a vagina and clitoris, there are people who do not identify as female who experience these kind of orgasms from this anatomy, so I am going to refrain from using gendered terms as much as possible. Instead, I will just be referring to the orgasm produced from this kind of anatomy as simply an orgasm.
A majority of current media surrounding sex focuses on how to maximize male pleasure, while almost entirely ignoring estrogen-bodied pleasure. Porn primarily serves a male audience and includes acts, such as blowjobs, oriented towards male pleasure while rarely featuring female pleasure or female-centered acts, such as cunnilingus. Advice columns and magazines write about how to be good in bed, how to look good in bed, and how to pleasure your partner. These are instructing the women what to do and alienating themselves from their own body by sending the message that all of their efforts are to increase male pleasure. Popular culture sexualizes and infantilizes women for the pleasure of men.
I’ve been following Our Shared Shelf on Instagram since Emma Watson began promoting her #heforshe campaign. When I found out that Watson was the UN’s Women’s Goodwill Ambassador, I was not only happy, but impressed. I have always felt that Watson was a fantastic role model for young women all around the world, and not just because she played the intelligent and wonderful Hermione in all the Harry Potter films. I think she is an amazing role model because she graduated high school after filming all those movies and went to Brown and then graduated from there to go to the UN. On top of all of that, she has continued her acting career and maintained a very clean image (which shows that fame doesn’t affect people, but that people are responsible for their actions.) So, of course, bringing it back to my first statement, I thought that looking into Our Shared Shelf wouldn’t be that bad of an idea.
Our Shared Shelf is basically a gigantic feminist book club. On Goodreads.com, there are 167,663 people that are a part of the online forums and discussions. Every month or so, Watson and her team pick a feminist work to read, including Mom & Me & Mom by Maya Angelou, and Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein. The most recent work of choice was The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler, which is a play made up of monologues. The monologues are all from different stories about hundreds of women, talking about everything from sexual assault to orgasms, but the main focus of the book is the vagina and why it’s considered such a dirty thing. Most importantly, the book’s purpose is to make women realize that being a woman isn’t wrong, but actually a really freaking awesome and empowering experience. Continue reading ““Vagina” Isn’t a Dirty Word”→