Room for thought #1

Hi! This segment of the blog will be about things that trouble me or the things that keep me busy. Ever since I was a little girl I’ve been very aware of the world around me. I remember being seven years old, standing in the shower when tears started streaming down my face. Why? Because I was afraid that the holes in the ozone layer were getting too big and that we would die. Flashback to September 11, 2001, I was five years old and I can still picture me and my mother watching the news. The people jumping out of the windows is a picture that will haunt me for the rest of my life. One of the reasons why I started this blog is because I need an outlet for my thoughts, a way of sharing them without forcing them onto people. This week it will be about a topic which means a lot to me.

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This post will be about why I need feminism. Now I can write a book about feminism and everything that comes with it but let me start off with what feminism means to me. *Takes a deep breath* I find it sort of difficult to write about this because as soon as the word feminism enters the room a lot of people become agitated. I personally believe that this stems from the misconception of what feminism means. To me feminism means that I have the same rights as a (white) man. That I get paid as much as a (white) man for doing the same job. That my troubles are taken seriously so not everything gets blamed on my hormones. Summarized, feminism to me is about equality, about women having the same freedom and opportunities as men. Now let me get into why I need feminism.

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First of all, I need feminism because I want to have the same freedom as my (white) male counterpart. In these times with media being at an all time large nobody and nothing are able to avoid judgement. Are you wearing an outfit that does not fit the norm? Watch out! You just might become a meme. Did you find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time and was someone able to capture that moment? You just might find yourself unemployable. Now this of course goes for all humans but I feel as though often these judgements are directed at women. When I tell my Dutch friends that in an ideal scenario I would like to meet my significant other before I turn 24 and have kids when I’m around 28 I often catch blank stares. But what about my career? Do I really want children? Find my “soulmate” at 24? I face judgement. When I tell my American friends about this I get these same blank stares. But isn’t 28 like pretty old to start a family? You don’t want to be a housewife? (Now I hope you guys do understand that not all my friends react this way but these are general statements) I, as a woman, face judgements when it comes to what I want for myself in the future. When I tell people that I want to be a mother even if I don’t get married or find my significant other they often have their judgements in place. How am I going to raise a child by myself? How will I manage without a husband? It’s these judgements that I find tiring. Even when it comes to smaller things. The comments I hear about women not wearing bras or wearing make-up or dyeing their hair. No matter what the choices are that we make, society is always there to tell us that above all we need to be classy. I’m not denying that men don’t face the same questions or the same judgements but it feels as if there is so much more pressure on women to have their futures figured out. The idea of women not wanting children is still such a shock to certain people. Just as society tells us that boys will be boys but heaven forbid that girls act ‘crazy’.

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Which brings me to my next point I need feminism because I should not be made to feel guilty about the number of people I’ve been with. I’m still in college so there are often nights I spend drinking with my friends when at some point the topic of sex comes up. Now I can remember this one time at the end of the year when me and some of my friends were hanging out before we went to a party. Somehow we landed on the topic of sex and number of partners. Soon something became very apparent, my guy friends thought it was in no way okay for a woman to have sex with more than say five different men. When I told them that I had several female friends who by their standards would be labeled sluts they started laughing. My mind was shattered especially because I knew that some of them had no problem whatsoever with one-nightstands but yet were judging women for doing the very same thing… What do you mean double standards. So for men to be sexual beings is perfectly fine but women oh no! It’s not like women can have sex for fun… Just as when men are labeled “the Man” when they hit a girl up in the club and leave with them while women are labeled easy. Excuse you… did it ever maybe come to mind that this girl just felt like having sex. How is it that men who have one-nightstands are pretty cool but women are easy? This baffles me.

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In the same train of thought, I need feminism because I need society to stop sexualizing my body. At the time when the whole #FreeTheNipple movement started I did not understand what Miley Cyrus and such were whining about. Why would you bare yourself like that for all the world to see? But then I started thinking, just because I don’t feel the need to share my nipples with the world does not mean that other women should get shamed when they do. The fact that society gets so freaked by the female nipple is beyond me. We are reaching the point where pornography becomes more acceptable than breastfeeding in public. Let me tell you, I, nor any other woman for that matter, have any controle whatsoever over how the basic outline of my body looks. So when it was decided that women should have nipples we got kind of stuck with them. We did not choose to have nipples we literally got them because we need to feed the little creatures that can grow inside of us. I mean if we are going to start sexualizing nipples, why not the male ones? They don’t even have a proper function, just saying. But I’m against any type of sexualizing so let’s leave them nipples alone okay? When I was in America there was a (to me personally) strict dress-code in school. Of course, this dress code also applied to guys but still it was stricter on the girls. This rubs me in the wrong way because it tells girls that their education is less important than that of the boys. Because if boys become aroused by a girls’ shoulders I don’t think it should be the girls who should be held accountable. I’ve went to public schools without dress-codes my entire life and it was all fine and dandy (except for that period when everyone started wearing American flag leggings, that did scar me a little), there were no massive orgies, no boys masturbating because they saw girls in crop tops or short dresses (at least not in public). Clothes should be about being comfortable, about feeling good in your own skin, whether that is in a pair of kakis or in a crop top.

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Finally, I need feminism because I, as a woman, feel that if I were raped today society would trick me into believing it was my fault. A while back one of my friends got raped after she went on a date with a guy. When she told me about this I was so confused. Of course I wanted to hug her and be there for her but at that moment I didn’t know how to be there for her. In a brief dark moment I caught myself thinking ‘But wasn’t it naive of her to go back to his place?’ Up until this day I’m ashamed when I think back to that moment. Of course it wasn’t naive, he should have respected her boundaries. If her going back to his place was naive then we reduce men to just sexually aggressive beings. It isn’t as if when you reach the inside of those walls a man loses all sense of humanity. That he is strictly driven by a prehistoric hunter’s instinct. He is still very much accountable for his actions. It wasn’t her fault, rape is never the victim’s fault. Brave as she is she shared her story to empower others and there came the (excuse my language) shit storm of comments. People called her naive, dumb and stupid. ‘Who in their right mind would ever go on a Tinder date?’ Comments ranging from discussing her ‘stupidity’ to questions of what she was wearing. I remember reading them with tears in my eyes, angry. How could these people be so quick to judge? They weren’t there! How should what she was wearing be of an effect on the outcome of the evening? If she had been walking around butt-naked he still did not have the right to do what he did. People are so quick to turn the conversation from ‘How can we punish the rapist?’ to ‘How can the victim be held accountable?’ it is absolutely absurd. I haven’t been raped but I have been in a situation where I would say that I’ve been sexually assaulted. Just thinking about this the tears start to fill-up my eyes. I remember that after that moment I was trying to think of ways how I could justify what he did. How did I cause this situation to happen? How was this my fault? Now at this point in time I know that it wasn’t my fault, that I did not do anything wrong. But I felt awful for such a long time and nobody deserves to feel that way.

I need feminism because I should not be made to feel guilty about being a woman.

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