Just some new art at my local market , very bond esque.
I often feel blessed and challenged at the same time being a woman, it’s liberating and suck ass at the same time. I exercise my right to vote, to not drive, to be a sexual being and a feminist and for the most part it’s empowering to be my own person dancing to the beat of my own drum.
Inside every woman I know, myself included, is the sometimes small and sometimes big fear of being sexually harassed, intimidated or assaulted simply for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I’ve felt the anxiety and nervousness at walking alone and having a group of men approach me who then feel it’s their right to make some kind of derogatory sexual comment and the boganism (??) of guys in cars driving past any and every woman and yelling out at her on the street then high fiving or laughing. The fact that sexual assault is still a taboo, is still happening and victim shaming is still rampant shows the deeper issues within first world countries that tout they are advanced, civilised and view women as equal, valuable participants.
This harassment has been happening to me since I was twelve and hasn’t stopped yet, no matter what clothes I wear, what company I keep or which suburb I live in. I say this not to cast shame or delve into a man hating deluge, but to remind some of the ignorant male readership of what it is like to be a girl and to have some empathy. At twelve just because I had breasts didn’t mean I welcomed attention from men who at eighteen or nineteen should not have invited me around to their house alone (seriously, this happened at the playground I used to frequent) I still remember telling one ‘Um… I’m only twelve and don’t want to be alone with a grown man, that’s just gross!’. Never mind the fact I couldn’t go to the beach and swim in peace without being asked out or to accompany much older men to their cars or houses.
The crux of why such behaviour still happens is probably both simple and complex at the same time, women are to some extent still commodified and lauded for their attractiveness and sexuality. When you have “dating sites” (I use this term a tad sarcastically) like ‘sugar daddy’ where the purpose is to basically find hot, young women to escort rich, much older gentleman it doesn’t take much guesswork to why women are viewed the way they are. And it’s sad really. Sad for the women who place all value on genetics and physical benchmarks to trade it off for money to the highest bidder, sad for the uber wealthy who time and time again think money actually buys happiness or satisfaction.
Women are complicit in this though, far from being totally exploited and innocent babes a lot of women manipulate their looks knowingly for profit, dumb down their other accomplishments or traits and have little regard to the long term effect it may have on their self esteem or the betterment of their own gender. If discernment was a common human trait, I would not have to explain that I’m not a gold digging whore to hordes of men online who think every woman is the same, that I possess intellect, sarcasm and humility and that there is a fine line to taking a compliment and turning it into an insult. I am not just a vagina or a pair of tits, no matter how they are packaged.
I’m as adverse to society and any commentator or advertisement that doesn’t recognise men as having value or feelings or issues worth discussing. There are strong reasons why young men the world over commit suicide at horrendous rates, I had a cousin that gassed himself after being called as a Royal Commission witness into sexual abuse that happened within Christian schools. He didn’t get adequate treatment and probably felt ashamed, alone and ignored for feeling weak or powerless. Men feel anxiety, depression and the pressure to always be masculine, strong and sexually assertive even if these roles do not work or are outdated for them. Men are also less likely to feel able to openly discuss health problems (particularly mental health) for fear of judgement or ridicule. This has to stop…. now.
I’ve included a link to a controversial French mini movie depicting a femi-nazi regime that treats men the way we (governments, police, predators) treat women. Yes, it’s confronting, yes it will make you feel very fucking violated. But that’s the point, it wants you to feel degraded and somewhat rejected just because of your gender. If you are easily offended I suggest not watching it as it does contain sexual harassment and sexual violence. The point is to make you feel, to challenge mindsets and practices that still occur and to be, do and say more. Bullying, sexism, rape, discrimination all happen when we stay silent and stay ignorant.