Luck to be a Lady

I open my eyes and I’m greeted with a stabbing pain. My head is throbbing, and I feel like someone is sitting on my belly button. I think my pelvis was shattered. They said I lost a lot of blood, but they’re doing what they can to make me comfortable: heating pads, chocolate, soft pillows. I’m an emotional wreck. Everything seems to be triggering some form of anger, sadness, and confused complication in my body. They tell me that this too shall pass…

Unfortunately, being a woman is not a phase, and I’ve struggled with it my entire life; the monthly gift (as described in the example above), weight gain, societal pressure, family pressure, unworthy pressure that I’ve put on myself, all of it. Today is International Women’s Day, and I can’t think of a better day to talk about what it’s like being one.

When you’re a girl, you see images of Cinderella, Belle, Jasmine, and Ariel, and you think to yourself, I want to be them, I want their life. I want to look like them, have their problems, and their happy endings. I remember being really little and standing on my bed, looking at the moon and dreaming of a life like Cinderella’s (the ending of course). I even dug around in my mother’s beauty drawer for a thick, black hair tie, just like the one Cinderella had, so that I could pull my hair back, just like she did in the movie.

As I grew, I wore dresses, painted my nails, applied makeup; I had a field day trying to look like a lady. But, still, when I looked in the mirror, all I saw was a girl with pale skin, nasty zits, glasses, and frizzy hair who was gaining weight by the minute. Boys NEVER looked at me…especially when I was going through my ugly phase…which was from 2nd grade to about my sophomore year of high school. I noticed all the girls in classes around me finding guys in middle school, and I was looked at as an ugly freak. I thought, how can I change?

As time went on, like any other woman, I saw images of Hollywood celebrities, their hair, makeup, weight, and tried to imitate them. I bought their clothes, went and got my hair done, researched how to tone my muscles while sitting at my desk, and the best brands of makeup for my skin. Still, I never looked like those women in Hollywood. Hell, there are celebrity women in their 50s that look better and are healthier than I will ever be!

And, not only did I feel pressure in regards to my looks, but sex. As a woman, you’re expected to be this sweet and innocent girl in public, but once you lock your bedroom door, men want you to turn into this wild animal! I remember the first few times I had sex, I didn’t know what to do with my hands, what to say, anything. I thought that I was supposed to sit back and let him take control of my body. It’s his for the taking; right?

Looks, the bedroom, and even the work force seem to control society’s perception of women. I remember when I entered my first job and realized that I wasn’t making as much as the man (who was doing the same work and at the same level of experience) sitting next to me because I had a vagina. Really? But, I suppose women are an awful investment. If they’re not engaged to be married when they start working for your company, they probably will be in no time. So, if they get married and their husband wants to move away because of a promotion, poof, they’re gone. Then, if he wants to have children, of course, someone might have to stay home. But, how can he stay home? He just got that promotion? He’s top dog! And, companies hate maternity leave. You might as well ask to go part-time, or just save the company some time and never come back. Why invest in a woman, they’ll just leave! Ugh…

But, when you think about it, I don’t know if I’d want to be a man either. Society tells them that they can’t cry or show emotion when they feel it. They can’t be the runt of any sports team, otherwise they’ll get picked on. They have to be tall, have six pack abs, and watch ESPN. They have to make others feel like they’ve earned the penis God’s given them. And, if they want a female partner, they better make sure they’re able to provide. They’re the one who’s going to have to work long hours, make connections, and do everything in their power to make sure that at the end of the day he still has gas left in the tank to have sex with his wife. And, what about that wife? Is she pretty? Does she do meaningful work? How many women did he have sex with before he married her? How much action does he receive on a regular basis now that he’s married? It’s all important. It all counts toward their “manhood points.”

I don’t know if I’d want that specific pressure that comes with being a man. I couldn’t tell you what’s worse. But, what I can tell you, is that pressure to be anything other than who you truly are is awful. If you’re a woman, but like being a “tom boy,” who gives a shit? If you’re a man, but enjoy The Notebook, I’m not going to judge you. Shouldn’t the message we spread to one another be, “Be Happy, Be Healthy, Be You,” Instead of, “be a man,” or “act like a lady”…?

Granny Smith – over and out

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22 thoughts on “Luck to be a Lady

  1. Oh, so sorry you feel like that! My sister has similar agonies.
    I used to try so hard, myself, to be pretty… Then one day it just happened and I hated how I was treated like an idiot. So I tried to look dangerous instead, and that’s kind of held me up ever since. I never wanted a job where I couldn’t walk away, either 🙂
    I kind of hope men don’t feel that way anymore – mine does make more than I but that’s because I’m very uneducated on paper.

  2. Hope your dysmenorrhea is not as bad as that every time! It could be worse, you know. My girlfriend sometimes has multiple periods per month – that is no fun at all! It seems to happen more if she is anaemic,which aggravates the problem. Fortunately, she does not suffer with endometriosis, and hopefully neither do you!

  3. Pretty awesome analogy…you’d have loved being in the feminist philosophy class I took back in college. I myself am quite androgynous. I’ve been mistaken for a man every so often for about 22 years now. It doesn’t bother me though-at least I don’t have to put up with large breasts and the issues I hear some women complain about when it comes to that. Personally, I don’t believe I should look between someones legs to see if I can love them or not. I came to that conclusion around age 17 (much to the disappointment of my father, a Methodist minister). Thanks for following my blog. I’ll be checking yours every so often…hugs, LaVancia

  4. Cool. A really honest post. Gender roles as prescribed by Western societies are painfully reductive. I am somewhat obsessed with gender dynamics and learned behaviour between the sexes. Men have their stuff to contend with but I think you win! Honesty and tolerance are certainly part of the way forward. Challenging the sexual stereotyping and incessant sexualisation of women has to be another.

    Keep asking questions. Keep sharing stories. Keep starting conversations. Nothing will change without making some noise.

    And thanks for following my blog!

  5. Coming from a patriarchal society myself I can understand how you feel. I loved thr ending, not just women but men are equally suffering at the hands of ‘social norms’. Great read 🙂

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