I foreshadowed this post yesterday and am actually very curious to hear your perspective at the end of it. I want to clarify some things right off the bat, however. One; I like being a woman. I like wearing pretty earrings, I like being relationship-focussed, I even like that I cry during sentimental commercials. Two; I like men. I don’t think they’re bad or ignorant or trying to repress me. I even want to spend the rest of my life living with, and loving, a man.
Three, I wear a bra*.
This being said…I effing hate being a woman sometimes!!!!!! Let me explain.
The other day I was eating with a coworker, the expeditor, and he let me know that one of the cooks (who’s since been fired for reasons unknown) used to tell everyone at work that he and I were hooking up. He had pictures to “prove” it. Those pictures were actually from the night we of the restaurant were all really defiant and went out for sushi together. My big brother was with us, in fact. The cook in question took heaps of pictures. Of me.
I blew it off, like “good riddance to that creep”, and went on with my day. The day following, at the coffee shop next to work, a gentleman approached me to ask if he’d done anything to upset me. This gentleman is in his late fifties or early sixties and is on the same bus route as I, and he wants to be a writer. (He’s also kinda a conspiracy theorist and won’t let a paper publish his articles for free.) Anyway, we used to talk about writing, politics, riding the bus, etc. and I accidentally gave him my email. It was an accident! I’d meant to give him this blog domain but my hand wrote out the email on default. (Yes, he has this blog domain too, so he’s probs reading this. I don’t care.)
He had promptly sent an email, in which he described what kindred spirits we were and referred to me as a “babe”.
I didn’t respond. Didn’t know how to. I’m not good at conflict I don’t initiate, so I went all Scarlet O’hara and resolved to think about it tomorrow.
I’d pulled back from our quirky friendship and this is what he was referring to at the coffee shop the other day. I explained that I was uncomfortable with his use of the word “babe” and that I don’t engage in close friendships with men. He swore that while he thought about sex “probably every hour”, he only wanted my friendship.
This sent me on a two-day lament on the frustration of being female. I resent being a woman because
- Don’t let them fool you, its all about your body. Your weight-loss or gain is noticed. Your breast size and ass oomph is noted. If you have a pimple, you’re expected to cover it up. As a young American woman, the worst thing you can possibly do is not be hot. People despise ugly women.
- If you’re nice, as my coworker Rafa explained, men think, “Oh, she wants to have sex with me.” You, men, make us be mean. We’re not mean because we’re bitches, we’re mean because we’re protecting ourselves. And in Jesus-loving cultures, we’re standoffish or even rude because the burden of protecting our hearts and yours falls on us.
- I’m not tipped as well when I don’t wear makeup.
Appearance. Sex appeal. Being nice. I’m sick of catcalls.
The worst thing is, being catcalled beats the alternative of not being desired. Women are faced with this crippling paradox every time we get dressed, every time we eat, every time we decide whether or not to smile back at someone. We want to be desired and we want our personal space respected. We want to be treated as human beings. We want to be pretty. We want to be the girl in the song, but we also want to just be another person.
This is coming dangerously close to a vent, so I’ll hush up. I have no resolution.
Girls, here’s some tips, though, on how to avoid being objectified;
- 1. Don’t dress like a porn star. You don’t want to be jeered at, catcalled, “misunderstood”? Don’t dress like a man’s wet dream and he has no right to treat you like it.
- Don’t purposefully arouse desires in a man you have no intention of fulfilling. There’s a fine line between innocent flirting and being a little tease. And I think the line is just before the eyelash batting.
- Don’t put up with “hey sexy’s” from men you work with. Tell them to knock it off.
- Have a personality. If you’re a real person and not a pretty little space-filler, men are less likely to be assholes.
- Have girl friends. Hang out with your ladies and encourage each other to be human beings. I have a hard time making and retaining solid girl friends, I think because I used to be that girl who was all competitive and distrustful. However, I’ve learned other women are the most valuable asset in dealing with a world that isn’t always very kind to women. To do this, girls, you need to stop being competitive and jealous and just enjoy your friends. Build each other up, encourage good behavior, kindly tell each other when you’re dressed like a ho.
- Finally, don’t discourage casual friendships with guys. You have a lot to learn from them, and they have a lot to learn from you, and both parties are blessed by friendships with one another. These guys probably aren’t to be your BFFs (there are exceptions), but FFs are totally fine.
That’s what I’ve got so far. Anything to contribute to the list would be greatly appreciated.
On a final note, do you want to know my favorite thing about the email situation? Upon confrontation my old buddy explained that he hadn’t meant “babe” in the way that “other men do”. He wasn’t objectifying me. He’d meant I was an “interesting, intelligent and studious young woman.”
*Not to sleep, because ewe, who does that?