December 7, 2016

Women versus women will get us nowhere

Ladies, we’re at war. Even in a country as developed as the United States, women are still fighting for the rights to their bodies, fighting for respect, fighting for equal treatment. We don’t need to fight each other.

Immediately upon meeting or seeing someone new, it’s all too common for women to judge and compare themselves to other women — often dubbing strangers as “ugly,” “fat,” “slut,” “annoying,” “stupid” or “bitch.” It’s a defense mechanism, but it’s unnecessary. Instead of crucifying one another for acting or looking a certain way, women should support each other’s right to do whatever they want.

Society already judges women enough: Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian are notorious for their sex tapes, but does anyone remember the men involved in the videos? Everyone remembers Miley Cyrus scantily-clad and twerking on stage at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards, but is anyone concerned that Robin Thicke, a 36-year-old man, thought it was acceptable to put his hands all over a then-20-year-old woman during a song that arguably condones rape? With all the other social pressure put on women, we don’t need to add to it by judging each other. We don’t need to let society think it’s okay to treat women this way.

Remember the reality TV show, “Newlyweds,” that featured Y2K pop star darlings Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey? I recall one episode in which Simpson talked about why she would never vote for a female president. Women are moody, she said, and she didn’t think she could handle the pressure of making decisions while PMS-ing, so she reasoned that other women probably can’t either.

Though it’s a silly example, I shudder to imagine the prevalence of this idea. How many young girls watched this episode, where someone who may have been their role model insulted their entire gender? How many people agree with it today?

If women doubt the ability of other women to perform jobs traditionally held by men, then what reason do men have to respect women in a professional environment — or outside of a professional environment?

A rising issue today is the concept of “slut shaming.” Slut shaming, as defined in a Huffington Post article by Kaitlin Menza, is “the act of making a girl feel embarrassed for her sexuality, whether she’s sexually active or not.” The word “slut” itself is used to shame a woman for her sexual behavior, even though words to identify a sexually active male are almost always assigned positive connotations: stud, player, etc.

Women and girls are pressured to maintain a strange balance of public sexuality. Especially in high school and adolescent years, there is a fine line between being a “prude” and a “slut,” neither of which are desirable titles. But as Kam Williams wrote in New York Amsterdam News, “the label ‘slut’ has no correlation to a woman’s sexual activity, for many were inactive, even virgins when ostracized. Slut bashing, then, is a misogynistic sport which hurls insults at a broad spectrum of females.” Regardless of actual sexual experience, men and women alike view “sluts” as less valuable, less respectable, less dateable, etc.

Men treating women this way is one thing, but when women abide by the social views of how a woman should look or act, it’s hard to see an end to American patriarchy. If women want equality — which, for the love of all things holy, I hope all women do — we need to support other women’s freedom to make their own choices. If you want to have sex, have sex. If you want to save yourself for marriage, do so. If you want to chop off all your hair, stop shaving your armpits and legs, wear makeup and heels, be a housewife, be a stripper, be an astronaut, be the president, whatever — do it. But don’t judge others for their personal choices, because if you do, others — men, women, children, society, media — will follow your behavior.

 

Share this post

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail