This post was brought to you by an actual argument I had online. Below are just a few of the most delightful comments I and a couple of other women speaking out received when I DARED to say that women shouldn’t be judged for wearing whatever they want to the gym. Warning; when editing this, I realised that this was a whole 2000+ words longer than it was originally supposed to be. But I like a rant, so… TL;DR at the bottom!
If you dress a certain way, you deserve to get stared at
The thing is, I’m not here to be your eye candy. No matter where I am, I am not there for you.
Men don’t seem to understand exactly the extent to which women deal with the ongoing harassment of men. No, not ALL men, however enough to treat them as a group.
One fine Saturday I had just been to the gym. I was still in my workout clothes, hair hastily tied up in a top knot, no makeup (well, remnants of yesterday’s) and not a care in the world. I was at Asda, hungrily eyeing up the doughnuts. Not the single ones, the 12-pack. Because I had just been to the gym, so I #earnedit. And yet somehow, I deserved to be followed through the shop, deserved an older man beside me eyeing me up. I was there to get my sugar fix, but apparently, it was his “right” to lay his eyes on me.
The original argument started with a picture of yoga pants, a tank top, a woman doing Good Mornings and a bottle of water. Apparently, that is the “gets annoyed when they get stared at starter pack”. Like we actually choose everything we wear and do in order to get attention. Dude, I wear yoga pants and a top because it’s comfortable. Because T-shirts either feel like they’re strangling me or that the puppies are falling out. If you think that I do this to get you to look at me, THINK AGAIN. No matter what I do, no matter what I wear and no matter where I am, you do not have the right to look & judge my body. Note the words MY body. It is here for me, and me only. I choose who I share this with. Don’t take it with force.
Women are not on this Earth for men. We have our own space, and we should be allowed to go freely wherever we want to, wearing whatever we want to without you imposing your gaze upon us. Fight me on this one.
It was just a joke
I’ll admit; I’m actually quite bad at this. I enjoy a good pun when blokes try to “slide in the DM’s” of a girl they fancy. But it’s a behaviour that I really need to stop condoning. Because it’s such a phenomenon. It started out as an introduction, a sweet little “hi, how are you?” and descended into “send me pics of your feet”.
It hardly ever stops there.
When a female rejects the advances of these so-called gentlemen, in an instant the cutesy jokes will turn into name-calling. Cutie becomes Bitch, I want pictures becomes “you’re fat and ugly anyway”. We don’t ask for these advances, yet when we reject them, it’s suddenly our fault that you weren’t successful?
Have you watched #DearDaddy ? If you haven’t done so, I suggest you do it now. It highlights how locker room jokes perpetuate the culture that a woman is a possession. How fathers joking carry over to their kids’ behaviour. If we don’t make these jokes stop, the cycle of evil will continue.
Rape culture isn’t a thing
Have a look at what I said about jokes. Have a look at what goes around you. Have a look at the estimated figures of how many women don’t report rapes because they’re too ashamed, or feel that nothing will get done.
Have a look at reporting for rape. How the victim apparently got drunk or dressed suggestively. Have a look at guys on a night out who talk about women who are “totally up for it” when they’re just being friendly. Listen to some music; how three no’s and one yes suddenly means a YES. How after a spot of cajoling, a woman will do anything. How “pickup artists” behave. How articles like “how to get to talk to a woman when she has her headphones in” can be written. If you have fully looked through the world around you and see no evidence to how a woman is seen as an object that can be fucked after a few drinks, I’ll urge you to look again. Because you’re not the one who walks home at night with their keys between their fingers. (the wrong way to do it by the way; not very effective and you’ll hurt your hand. Have your sharpest, biggest key resting against your thumb.) You’re not the one who has to think very carefully about what they wear so they’re “not giving out any signs” and you’re for sure not the one who feels like it’s their fault when rape happens.
Male privilege isn’t a thing!
Just no. As a group, white cis males rule the world. Some individuals have had a bad start in life, but the opportunities brought upon them are greater than other minorities. As a white male, you will never be judged for your ambition, the name “Chad” isn’t one that will immediately divert your CV in the bin, and you’re free to marry whom you wish.
I’m not even trying to bring out evidence to refute this; it is just such an obvious thing that if you don’t see it, you’re not open to any evidence otherwise.
In fact, the whole concept of “privilege” has been eradicated in the West
Tell that to a trans person wanting to use a bathroom in North Carolina. When a simple thing as going to a bathroom gets discussed in most of the main media, I think it’s pretty darn safe to say that privilege exists.
I’ll be the first to say it. Being white, I’m privileged. Living in the West, I’m privileged. Being married to a person of the opposite sex, I’m privileged. Feeling like I fit the mainstream gender specification, I’m privileged.
I’ve had a harsh realisation in the last few months when some police shootings have come out in the mainstream media. The realisation that I didn’t understand why a black person would feel frightened when stopped by the police, and the realisation that I didn’t understand why Ijeoma Oluo was afraid when stepping into a Cracker Barrel, was kind of a sore one. I used to think that I was quite aware of these issues and that I was “enlightened” for the lack of a better word. And then being hit with this realisation completely wiped that. Because as a white person, I never have to think about this. I never have to think about my name when sending out a CV (especially since I married a Brit, so my married name no longer creates any Brexit-related trouble), I don’t ever need to spend hours doing my hair because it’s not considered “unprofessional” if I merely run a brush through it.
It’s not just POC vs white; there are still countries (looking at you Australia! ) where gay marriage is not legal. There are countries where the “act” (that’s not the right word, I know.) of being gay is illegal. There are people who do not see transgender people as… well, people. They’re considered an “abomination”. There are people who are very firm on there being just two genders. (news flash; gender is a social construct. Sex is the biological thing you’re thinking of. Even then, having an “innie” or an “outie” are not the only two options.)
If you think that privilege doesn’t exist, I’m going to use those words that I personally HATE [because it’s not nice realising you aren’t infallible]: Check Your Privilege! Do not approach your “*insert item* friend” to discuss it but do a spot of Googling. There are so many smart, charismatic people out there who openly discuss these issues, who openly reveal the oppression they face on a daily basis. Educate yourself. Because as someone who is privileged, you won’t have first-hand knowledge of this. You need to be educated. And there’s nothing wrong with admitting that you don’t know everything.
Women already receive equal pay
As proof, this article was linked: https://www.wgea.gov.au/addressing-pay-equity/what-gender-pay-gap
The fact that the pay gap is created through (as one of many) women being in different jobs from men, was used as an example as to why the gender pay gap is a myth and it’s all down to individual choices.
WELL, pull up several seats and let’s begin.
In most countries, statutory paternity leave isn’t a thing. Where paternity leave is government-“approved”, it is for much less time than maternity leave. This pushes the view that it’s a woman’s place to stay at home and look after the kids. All well and good if that’s your thing, but whilst you’re spending time at home, your male equivalents are picking up more experience, more chances to progress and thus more chances for promotion. And what if your kid gets sick? As the primary provider, a woman will have to leave work to take care of them, and that’s a notch against them. Why would you promote someone who frequently leaves work early when you have another person who stays late and puts in a lot more effort?
If you didn’t read my point about “dirty jobs”, do it now. We’re pushed towards professions that are seen as being suitable for women, and these tend to be the lower paid ones. Cleaners, cooks at schools, nurses, secretaries, etc.
Trying to get to a higher-level position is not that easy if you’re a woman. The glass ceiling might have a few ping pong ball sized holes that a few have slipped through, but it’s still there. The same qualities that make a man seem “ambitious”, “strong”, “confident” are seen as “pushy“, “bitchy“, “arrogant” in a woman. We’re expected to be seen and not heard. We’re expected to use our womanly wiles in order to lure everyone into thinking that we’re worth a promotion. If we then somehow get to the top too quickly, suddenly it’s all about how we slept our way to the top, how we used our sexuality in order to get where we’re at.
These assumptions are incorrect. Women are just as capable as men, and women do have the same personality traits as men. But these incorrect assumptions, perpetuated by groupthink are what keeps us from progressing, from seeking out careers that are traditionally “manly”, from pushing ourselves in the way men do. So, next time when you think of a woman as “pushy”, take a long hard look and re-evaluate your thinking. Are you thinking this just because she is a woman? Or if a man did those exact things, would he be considered pushy too?
Well, if you want equality, let’s have equality. We’ll put a 90kg woman next to a 90kg man in a UFC fight. THEN let’s see which is the better sex!
Let’s talk about equality. It’s all about having the same chance as everyone. But in the end, basic biology doesn’t automatically give us that, which is why adjustments need to be made.
Just like women tend to have a higher percentage of fat in their bodies due to estrogen, so do men gain an advantage in brute force due to testosterone. Men are predisposed to gaining strength quicker and easier than women, and in general being stronger than women. Of course, if you put a woman who trains 6+ days a week against a man who never gets his butt off the sofa, the woman will most likely win. But set two folk against each other with exactly the same training, nutrition, weight etc., the woman is going to have less brute force. Because biology. Equality does not mean that no adjustments should ever be made, au contraire. Equality means that everyone gets the same starting point. If you want people of different heights to present as equal height for a photo, are you going to put them on the floor next to each other and tell them that they’re of equal height – situation solved? Or are you going to find step stools etc to elevate those shorter than others?
Well, it’s because women don’t want to do the dirty & dangerous jobs!
Bet you’ve seen this meme floating about
Now… It is a generally accepted view that fewer women enter fields like engineering, construction, farming, fire service, etc than men. You know, the roles that traditionally you need to get your hands dirty in. But this is exactly where feminism plays a key role.
You see, from early on, little girls are told essentially where they belong. From the language we use to the toys we buy them, we are constantly pushing a certain image for little girls to aspire to. Look at these two pictures:
What would your first encouraging words be for these kids? For the boy, we’ll tell him how well he can throw, how fast he can run and how good he is at baseball. If he isn’t good, he’s tenacious and can get better with training. For the girl, we encourage her to keep on going to little league as she can then see her friends, and look how pretty she looks in her little uniform. If you don’t think this? GREAT! But unfortunately, this is the prevailing thought process within our society.
How about our toys? In supermarkets and toy stores, there’s a very clear divide; there’s the blue side for boys and the pink side for girls, and then there’s the multicoloured aisle for those toys that can be played with by either. Boys get action men, fire trucks, construction sets. Girls, it’s makeup sets, little microphones and Barbies. Barbie will sometimes have a profession like “vet”, “secretary”, “nurse”. See a difference? If you don’t, see this (non-scientific) experiment on BBC Two: https://www.facebook.com/bbctwo/videos/10155359731070659/ .
Obviously, these are very stark differences that I’ve used as examples, and in certain circles, these differences are beginning to disappear. In general, however, they are still very prominent throughout the world. From day one, boys are told how capable they are and how they are strong, girls are told how pretty they are and how nice they are. Kids are like sponges and suck in all this information. If you’ve ever used a beauty blender-type sponge, you’ll know that they suck in product like mad. You can try to wash that off as much as you’d like, but if you were to cut it open, you’d have a core of old foundation in your sponge. These small things remain within our kids, and where boys grow up being confident in their abilities, often girls grow up with a view of “I’m nothing unless I’m pretty”.
So no, it’s not that we don’t want to do them. It’s just, in general, they’re not even thought of as options for us.
You are a man-hating feminazi
Can we first-of-all remove the whole ‘nazi’ thing?
Second of all, somehow the meninist movement has managed to spread around a picture that all feminists want to eradicate men, and they believe that a woman will always be superior to a man.
This is incorrect. There ARE radical feminist movements that do believe this, however just as the Westboro Baptist Church does not speak for all Christians, neither do these speak for all feminists. The key goal of feminism is equality. If you question a woman for voting Bern instead of Hillary and state that she is a bad feminist because of this, you need to realign your thinking. I would have voted Bern over Hillary any day, simply on the basis of their politics. Yes, having Hillary in the race was momentous for women, yes it would have been record-breaking to have a female president in the US, however that doesn’t mean that she would’ve been the best person for the job. Us feminist folk are funny in that way that we want equality. We want to have the same opportunities and possibilities that men do. We want to be able to walk down the street without catcalls being a regular thing. We don’t hate ALL men, just the ones that oppress us. We don’t want to get rid of men, as some of us do quite like having them around. Feminism isn’t about hate, it’s about respect.
You have no sense of humour.
I do. But you’ll never see it because you get so hung up on your ideals that you will see women as nothing other than objects.
Where’s that eye roll image again?
Generally, when people are losing an argument, the T word gets pulled. But guess what? Just because I speak passionately about a subject that is important to me, just because I back my words with real-life anecdotes and peer-reviewed studies doesn’t mean that I’m in no way triggered. Just because you feel like crap about your crappy ideals doesn’t mean it’s triggering to me. A civil discussion turns childish as soon as you pull that word out, and everyone knows who is the childish one.
Still with me? Good. TL;DR – Women = good. Men = Good. Women =/= men yet. Let’s change it?