It’s tough being a woman, your automatically entered into what feels like some kind of shit lottery when you have a vagina – not the fun kind that you would win if you played the Lottoland EuroMillions either!. Every day there is some way you are judged, some way that you are told you fall short of the requirements, some way in which your male counterparts haven’t even contemplated. It covers so many branches too – religion, attire, work, sexuality… The list goes on.
It’s become so bad, so pathetic that a few weeks ago the newspapers were devoted to several incidents where Muslim women wearing burkinis, a full coverage swimwear item that does NOT cover your face, but covers your hair, on a beach had effectively been made to strip in front of everyone by police. Western world, if ever you wanted to give Muslim people a reason to see you as “the bad guy” to rise up and fight against you, make their daughters, their wives, their mothers suffer this indignity. By becoming so fearful, so hateful and so ignorant that you could force a woman to strip because she was “too covered” we play into the hands of extremists by becoming extremists.
Prior to that, the presidential candidate Donald Trump attacked a Muslim couple whose son had died as a solider, because the mother “didn’t speak” and as he put it “probably wasn’t allowed to”, yet the same man who seeks to tarnish the reputation of Muslims as women haters is openly sexist and believes that women are sexual objects for his gratification. It isn’t just trump either, but rather society. Women in burkinis are too covered, too religious, yet women in thongs are sluts, asking for it. Even down to using our breasts for their intended purpose is scrutinised, shamed and attacked as “attention seeking”, “exposing yourself” – as is choosing to NOT use them.
So tell me, where do we stand? If I cover my body I am prudish at best, indoctrinated and brain washed into being subservient to my male counter parts at worst. If I don’t, and I wear skimpy clothes I am a slut, asking to be raped, goading men who simply can’t help themselves.
On top of this, the punishments for such acts as rape, one of the most heinous crimes I think we all agree, are totally dependant upon the speculative worth of the women raped. Is she wealthy? What colour is her skin? Who committed the crime and did his wealth out weight hers? A perfect example of this is the early release, after three months no less, of Brock Turner who was convicted of three counts of rape and indecent assault. No only was he rich and white, but so much was his worth that his parents wrote letters to excuse their son’s behaviour and plead for the remainder of this life. The victim? Reduced to nothing more than a “bit of skirt” according to the boy’s father.
Where does this end?
As a mother, especially to a daughter, I fear this societal impulse to attack females. I fear the attitudes towards my daughter as she grows and I fear the implications that this will have on my sons and their beliefs. Their reactions to the women around them and in their lives, the way they will feel they have an upper hand and how they view themselves.
Already I’m seeing the creeping of sexism colouring my daughter’s life; she will like princesses, she will like high heels, she will adore pink and while there is nothing wrong with those things, it is not the sum total of what she will enjoy. Reuben, at the sweet age of 5, has started telling me he has to protect his sister – she is a girl, she will need his protection. I don’t think so buddy, she’ll more than likely beat you and Toby up, but then that makes her bossy right?
Being a woman is tough in this world, whether you are a Muslim or a Christian, black or white, disabled or not. Being female automatically puts you in the firing line and we have to change this, not just for ourselves, but for our daughters AND our sons.