Being a girl is harder than it looks. My whole life I wished I was a boy. Boys just move in the world differently. There is no pervasive threat ruling over their lives. They don’t feel scared walking down the street, they don’t get cat called and stared at by dirty old men. They don’t have to deal with bitchy competition and deep emotional resentment, unless they are dating one of those girls. Of course, I am aware that I am generalizing. But IN GENERAL, boys and men will never understand the everyday sexual assault girls and women go through.
Girls are taught from day one that “there isn’t enough to go round”, so you better fight for that “piece of the pie.” There aren’t enough men in the world, so you better compete with any beautiful, talented woman, to ensure your place. A deep sense of insecurity is ingrained in us and governs the rest of our lives.
Women pull each other down instead of rising up to meet the power and success of another woman. Patriarchy rules the world and his law enforces a “divide and conquer” mentality. Whether they realize it or not, men encourage women to look and act a certain way in order to appear attractive. The media force-feeds us images of “beauty” that are ultimately man-made, exclusive and restrictive.
Women, in their desperation to be desired, a concept passed down from mother to daughter for generations, do whatever it takes to keep up with this image in order to please men, in order to please their mothers, their sisters, their friends, their children…and so it goes.
Feminism is a word and movement that is hard to swallow for most people, women included. Before doing Emotional Creature with Eve Ensler, I would vehemently deny being a feminist. It was as if I thought it would scare people away. I thought Feminism was for man hating, hairy arm-pitted, bra burning lesbians. I think that’s what a lot of people imagine when they hear the “F” word.
However, I was completely misinformed. I would go so far as to say, I was mislead by Patriarchy itself, as men are the ones that want to keep women down. Keep them separate. Keep them thinking that being educated and smart is unattractive. That dressing and grooming your body in one particular way is the only way to be desirable. So women turn their backs on the movement. I know I did.
Firstly, let me be clear and state that I don’t know everything about being a feminist, or the many different kinds of Feminism there are. All I know is that I’m figuring out what Feminism means to me, today. Right now in my life, as a 26 year old, educated, inspired women, girl, actress, girlfriend, sister, Feminism means; equal rights for men and women. The fight for the right to education shouldn’t still be a thing in 2014. Feminism is about women having control over their own bodies. It demands an end to sex slavery, rape, genital mutilation and all violence against women. It HAS to stop! It has to change and I believe the only way it can start to change is for women to come together, support each other, educate each other, rise up and take back our power. While at the same time UNITING with MEN, sharing our stories and our feelings with them. Having these conversations with them. It’s NOT about being anti-men, It’s a movement for men AND women to come together and respect each other. Its NOT about being masculine in order to have power, its about owning your femininity, being confident to live in a female body and feeling free to move around in the world in that female body. Its NOT about not wanting to have sex, or being a prude, in fact its probably the exact opposite. It’s about owning our bodies and doing what WE truly want to do with them. Feeling sexy, confident, powerful, happy, smart and feminine without fear of being excluded from one’s community or being labeled a slut or a bitch. I’m so tired of those words!
That’s what Feminism means to me right now. Maybe it will change in years to come. I HOPE it does. I hope the right to education and the lack of violence against women is a reality I will get to experience in my lifetime.
I would like to thank Eve Ensler for enlightening me and showing me what Feminism is about. I didn’t realize I had an opinion on the subject until I started rehearsing for Emotional Creature. Thank you.