Friday, October 12, 2018

Wo(men)'s Sufferage: Being a woman in 2018

I have always made it a point in my life to refrain, whenever possible, from discussing politics or anything even on the brink of being political.  I learned at a very early age that 80% of this country is not capable of discussing differing views, especially those that are deemed political.  However, due to recent events in this country, I have decided to break that personal rule and discuss something very important, real, and relevant. Also, I won't lie, I was inspired by my idol, miss Taylor Swift and her recent political statements encouraging her fans to vote.  I realize that not everyone will agree with all that I'm about to say, but that's the beauty of the internet... you are (or should be) able to say what you think without being scrutinized for it.  Now, don't go running just yet... this won't be extremely political but it will teeter on the edge.  I also want to mention that I embrace all intelligent and civilized conversations regarding this topic.  So... here we go.

I'm just going to come out with it.  The world scares me.  This country scares me.  I'm not sure if everyone is getting increasingly more crazy, or if the crazy has always been there and it's just being brought to light due to platforms such as social media.  But man, guys.  What in the actual hell is going on right now?!  Our country is so divided, more than ever.  I've never been so on edge on social media or in public conversations as I am currently.  I can't even like or share a post without the fear of someone sounding off in the comments.  I could honestly go on and on about the current state of the government and country as a whole, but I won't.  I will, however, discuss a topic that I am very well versed in.  And that is, what it's like to be a woman in 2018.  

Ya know, sometimes I really feel like I'm living in the twilight zone.  I see so many people, both men and women, posting things on social media alluding to the fact that we should be concerned about the men in this country.  We should worry about our sons.  We should fear for their futures.   THIS. IS. TOTAL. HORSE. SHIT.  Listen.  I am all for equality.  I certainly believe that men have been and will continue to be wrongly accused of crimes, specifically sexual assault and abuse.  However, if you are a man and you did not commit the crime that you're being accused of, then what the actual fuck are you worried about?  Excuse my language, but this drives me absolutely bat shit insane.  ANYONE can falsely accuse ANYONE of ANY crime.  Man or woman.  But that's not the point.  The point is, if a woman is coming forward, I don't care if its 32 seconds later or 32 years later, if she is putting her life and future at risk to come forward and share her version of the truth, what on earth does she gain from making this shit up?  Nothing.  When did we get to a point in our country where someone comes forward and says that something awful happened to them, and we eagerly dismiss it and assume that it is being made up to tarnish someones reputation?  When did we get to the point of questioning why someone waited so long to speak about something obviously painful?  Since when do any of us have the right to judge another person and how they deal with something that happened to them?  At this point, I'm sure you all know what I am referring to.  And I want to make it clear - sure, she totally could have been lying.  But my point is, when did we reach such a level of insensitivity where we automatically assume that someone is being dishonest when they are clearly emotionally affected by something?

Sure, being a man is super scary right now.  I feel so bad for all of you men who every day have to wake up and worry about whether or not someone may come forward and accuse you of sexual assault.  How do you guys even deal?  It's like, you're not safe anywhere, ya know?  It's almost like... Ok, it's almost like if you're walking home late at night in the dark and you keep having to turn around in fear that someone may be following you.  Or like, when you live alone in an apartment and you triple check all of the locks on your windows before you go to bed at night.  Or also when you don't feel comfortable going for a run on a road that isn't heavily trafficked in fear that no one will be there to help you.  OOH!  Or like when before leaving the house for a walk, you send your location to your friend "just in case". Or maybe when you don't feel comfortable wearing shorts to the gym that might be "too short" because you "don't want to give anyone the wrong idea".    Yeah, I bet it feels something like that.  Just a hunch.

It's gotten to a point where this type of behavior has become so normalized.  Like, if I'm at a bar and some guy grabs my ass, it's almost like "Welp.  That's to be expected." But no, FUCK THAT.  That is unacceptable.  Also, when someone says someone is "asking for it" by how they are acting or dressing?  I don't care if I am walking down the center of Times Square totally naked, it does not give anyone the right to touch me without my consent.  I was listening to a podcast where someone was referencing the Kavanaugh case and said something along the lines of "Well, what was she doing in a house with boys drinking alcohol, anyway?!"  Listen... I can't tell you how many times I have been in a house with men and alcohol at the same time and I have not had anyone attempt to assault me nor would it excuse such behavior.  It comes down to conscious decision making.  Knowing right from wrong.  And I think this is something that we are seriously lacking.  All of us.  Men and Women alike.  Your actions follow around the victim of your crimes for the rest of their lives so why shouldn't the consequences follow you around for yours?

I could rant on and on. Honestly, being a woman right now is scary and I mean that.  Maybe even more scary than being a man?! ::gasp::  I know, it's a super hard concept to even wrap your mind around.  Coming from someone who lives on their own and often ventures out alone, I honestly always have my guard up. The amount of weirdos that have approached me and made me feel uncomfortable is endless. I have legit been called a "bitch" before for ignoring someone trying to chat me up.  I am in no way obligated to talk to you..  Understand that.

I was starting to feel like I may be alone in how I feel, so I asked a few women their feelings on what it is like to be a woman right now.  Here's what they had to say.

"It's a strange time to be a woman.  I feel more empowered than ever, yet still feel the need to carry my keys between my fingers while walking through a parking lot." - M, age 32

"It’s been hard for me because growing up I was surrounded by good, decent men. It kept me naive to the type of men that really do exist out there. I’ve been keeping a close eye on the #MeToo movement and Kavanaugh, etc. because I’m not only raising a girl who I want to grow strong and safe, but a boy who I need to raise right, to be one of those decent, good men. I hope and plan to raise them to know the ins and outs of consent, personal boundaries, self defense, stranger danger, keeping yourself in safe situations .... it seems the list is endless. It’s both exhausting and terrifying thinking of letting them go out in this world." - C, 31

"In 2018, as a woman, I am afraid my voice won't be taken seriously. I fear that we have become so accustomed to ass grabbing that we think it isn't a big deal. Us women need to band together and stand up for ourselves and know we can be heard and there is no such thing as "well, it was just an ass grab." It's battery and we need to call it as such. We need to stop normalizing this behavior." - M, 31

The thing that really gets me is that women are scrutinized for not coming forward sooner about an assault... But the very reason that we delay doing this is the fear that we won't be believed.  And look what happens when we finally muster up the courage to say something... we aren't believed.  I really hate to use this as a comparison, but I don't recall hearing anyone question any of the brave men that came forward to discuss the abuse they faced as altar boys from their priests. That was years after the fact, no?  I also want to make it very clear that I am not, by any means, diminishing the struggle of men or what they may go through.  My point here is that no matter your sex, orientation, race or WHATEVER, if you come forward with a traumatic experience, I would like to live in a country where it is not only taken seriously but also not accepted as normal.  For any of us.

OK. I really feel like I could go on and on but I'll stop here... for now.  I just had to get that out.  I guarantee many people will have a lot to say and maybe even drag me for this post but hey, that's showbiz baby.

- M

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