As of late there have been a lot of articles coming out about “micromisogyny” and things like “#yesallwomen”, which focus on aspects of a woman’s life that is affected by patriarchy, by society, by language, etc.
Now, as a woman, there are certainly parts of these pieces that I identify with, although I’m not sure if identify is the correct word (which I will get to in a bit). In the summer for example, I often feel uncomfortable going outside in shorts without some variation of tights underneath, simply because of the amount of cars that will honk at me as I walk by and the amount of comments I’ll receive from men passing by. And yes, it does get rather hot and uncomfortable. And yes, often when it gets dark and I’m walking through New York City, I have to be vaguely concerned where I’m walking and how I’m dressed.
I’ve had cab drivers say to me when dropping me off, “Now, are you sure you’re going to be alright? You’re a pretty girl and this isn’t an incredibly sketchy neighborhood, but it’s not too safe either.”
Now to be fair, I honestly do appreciate their concern, but it does twist my spine the wrong way that they attribute this concern to the fact that I am a woman and that they consider me attractive.
Because I have never thought of myself as a “woman” and have never adjusted by actions as a result of that identity.
You may say that the fact that I wear tights in the summer is directly in opposition of that. But I have never thought to myself: “As a woman, I should cover up so men don’t holler at me.”
I think: “I don’t want people talking to me. They do when they can see my legs. I’ll cover up my legs.”
Maybe men do holler at me because I am a woman, and I’ve noticed that when I’m with any number of male friends I get significantly less attention, but that in no way changes how I act when I’m with my friends or how I act when I’m alone. I walk the same speed, I’m just as alert, because I’m acting like a person.
When I was in the second grade, I noticed in gym class one day that this boy had taken off his shirt and was just in his undershirt. Understandable, because it gets hot when you’re running around a gymnasium with fourteen other children. Thus I reasoned to myself that since I was also hot, and I was also wearing an undershirt, I could take my shirt off as well. And for some reason, all of the other children got huffy about the fact that I was only in my undershirt, despite the fact that no one had batted an eye when the boy took his shirt off. It wasn’t until maybe middle school that I thought back to that memory and realized; “Oh, I guess it was because I was a girl? But we were all seven and I didn’t even have hints of breasts so why would it matter? That’s just weird.”
And I still think it’s weird. And in a sense I have the same mentality. It’s not that I’m a woman and as a result I have to act in certain ways in certain situations. I think that I’m a person and being my specific persons, I act in accordance with those limitations.
This is what bothers me about these campaigns about being a woman. They all draw attention to the fact that women are women. It’s almost as though women want to be treated “equally” but they still want the divide. They advocate for “women writers” who write about “being a woman”. I’m a woman and I’m a writer; yet I have never written about being a woman because I’ve been too busy trying to write about being a person. Falling back on being a woman as an identity is too easy.
And you know what, even if we get to a world where women can wear whatever they want and there won’t be a stigma against them, there will still be those annoying men who leer and yell whatever they want. And there will still be the men who cheerfully say “Have a nice day beautiful”. And there will still be the men who don’t give a shit. And there will still be alleys where it’s dangerous to go at night, if you’re a woman, a white man, or anything. All that variety will still exist and the whole point of being a person is simply being aware of your situations and surroundings.
Obviously this is my own perspective on the matter, but I thought this was an opinion that hasn’t been voiced too much.