“If you’ve got it flaunt it”. What a concise little indictment of all that is wrong with how we communicate to and with women. I’m still waiting for someone to explain to me how I flaunt my brain. But of course the flaunting only goes so far-women’s bodies are beautiful in all their glory, with the folds and landscape of the rounded woman through to the angular frame of the slender. Flaunt away-but be prepared for the slut-shaming when you do, for remember; to be a woman is to forever be in a constantly revolving doorway of contradictory judgment.
Have children too young you’re an irresponsible, feckless drain on the state. Too old you’re…wait for it…an irresponsible, feckless drain on the state
Eat what you want and gain weight you’re “out of control”, too little and you’re too controlling and obsessive, weak and easily manipulated by that omnipotent homogeneous “media”.
Go out to work? Sure, but don’t forget to throw some kids into the mix, if you have them then you must stay at home to raise them, but, oh dear, when you stop working you become a “burden on the state”
And what of work? Don’t dress to impress the boss, don’t be THAT woman who “sleeps her way to the top”. But DO please ensure you look the part, makeup, hair, heels-but ensure those aren’t “fuck me” shoes, except of course unless you want them to be? That’s OK, you’re a “strong independent woman” and because women – in The West at least – have body autonomy, don’t we?
To a degree, unless we want an abortion. A pregnant schoolgirl should have an abortion, a rape victim-that’s relatively acceptable, how about A woman in her 20s, who does not want to be a mother? Well she’s completely unacceptable. Shame her whenever you can.
And what of those women who are raped? There are lots of them. They’re entirely sympathetic provided they follow these simple rules; they must ensure their rapist is not known to them – preferably he broke into their car when they were at bible study, wearing a long skirt, no make up and a polo-neck jumper. Any other scenario raises far too many questions and without a shadow of a doubt those women WILL face judgement from one direction or more.
I love being a woman, I love my life, I love my body, I love the different roles I play but that does not mean it is easy. And I am a white, heterosexual, working, married mother. I lived my life according to the order touted as the path to pick. I waited to become a parent (but not too long), I got married, I work and pay my taxes. Now hear this-I FIND IT HARD. So what does that mean when I compare how I live to women who do not have my advantages? Who were not afforded choice-who take what they can because there is no other way? How can society pigeon-hole a person, limit their choices and then judge them for those choices? It’s cruel and unusual.
To come full circle, to be a woman is to forever be judged for the choices you make-there does not appear to be any “right” one to make. My hope is that where possible the decisions we make are right for us as individuals, I know for many, many women, tragically that is not the case. One day it must be, for now we’re all in and out of that revolving door hoping we get out on the right side.