This Feminine Life
I have a deeply rooted fear of men. Growing up, I thought it was irrational. Now, I know it's part of being a woman.
If I was leered at as a child, I was too busy being me to notice. I never felt sexually threatened, but at the same time was constantly terrified I would become the next JonBenet Ramsey. I'm talking about an irrational fear of kidnapping that kept me up at night watching my bedroom window. It's a double edged sword, growing up female.
It's a double edged sword, growing up female.
I was around JonBenet's age when my fear of axe murdering men set in. It's why I'll never date online, and rarely talk to strangers. I am terrified of abduction, rape, torture, but mostly the thought of being lost and never found. The funny thing is, I've never even been cat called. The homeless men of Berkeley genuinely compliment my shoes. I survived over two decades with no idea what sexual harassment felt like.
A few years ago, I got a little too drunk at a work party, and coworker was a little too forward. Sure, I could blame it on myself. That's what we women do. I wore a tight dress. My smokey eye was smoldering. There was an invisible sign above my head that read "open for business and not the least bit picky." Except, none of that was true.
For the first time in my life, I felt threatened by a man. My fairytale bubble of privileged girl-power life burst. I worried for my safety, in the safest place I'd ever know outside of my home: work. That was the day I finally understood what it means to be a woman.
My fairytale bubble of privileged girl-power life burst.
Life moved slowly after the safety goggles of my feminine life shattered as I remembered every situation in which I wasn't in control. Yeses that were really no's, panic written off as general anxiety. I was never safe to begin with. My next-door neighbor used to stalk me; he was only thirteen. There was another guy after that. The reality set in as mistrust of men built until one day my body decided there was just too much bullshit involved with being a woman. My menstrual cycled stopped because I literally wanted nothing to do with this feminine life.
The reality set in as mistrust of men built until one day my body decided there was just too much bullshit involved with being a woman.
Now, our world is in a consciousness shift, and it's been a long time coming. All of the powerful men banished from their political, social, and entertainment thrones by women who have waited far too long for respects, rights, and basic safety, still has me wondering if womanhood really is worth it.
We live in some state of terror. Pepper spray in our purses. Traveling to the bathroom in pairs. Maybe it's not a direct fear, but it's one we've been conditioned and raised with. We still seventy cents on the dollar. The WNBA makes a fraction of what a low payed NBA player makes, and their syndication sucks too. Can you even name a WNBA team or player? Probably not. With what little progress women have made, biologically we have a single purpose. But what about all those times we're not growing and raising the next generation? For each month one of our eggs escapes, unfertilized, what is our contribution? What else makes womanhood worth the fight?
I'd really love to know the answer. I'd also love to make it through a night without the thought of axe murderers. But, as we well know, progress takes a hell of a long time.
How do you feel about the rise in public accusation of sexual assault? What do you value about femininity? Do you think I'm crazy? Tell me about it in the comments!