“It’s a Man’s World”

Six months ago I would have denied that statement. I would have explained how the feminist movement of the past generated equality, and even if it wasn’t perfect I would not have admitted that it was a man’s world. Coming to terms with the inequality and sexism around me would have been acknowledging my own ignorance and silence. Two months ago I would have agreed that it’s a man’s world but been too afraid to say so.

Yesterday I told my grandfather that he was right: it is a man’s world. And that’s why the feminist movement is necessary.  So long as we live in a world controlled by one sex and a world that is gendered we will need feminism.

When I discuss feminism with my brother, as I have been doing long before I worked up the courage to call myself a feminist, his understanding of feminists is women who are too ugly to get a man and so whine and complain about the unfairness of the system. To him, and myself for a long while, women had already achieved enough equality that feminism had no purpose.  It couldn’t be a man’s world because that realization was too painful.

But by understanding the truth of the situation that the patriarchy exists is the first step toward building true equality. This post is a reminder as to why feminism is necessary and why being a feminist is such a powerful tool.

My mother has been told in debates that she’s too emotional. My friends have been told the same. I do not want to let this happen to anyone else.

For all the women who have been told feminism is no longer necessary, that your worth depends on your beauty and for all the men who have been told emotions are for women and that real men look like Superman and act like Batman, this is for you. Men and women should not live in a ‘man’s world’ but a world of the people.

Advertisements

Why are nipples sexy?

I play frisbee on a regular basis with my older brother and some of his friends. I’m usually one of two or three girls out of approximately 14 people who show up to play. It’s summer. It’s hot. I understand that a few of the guys want to take off their shirts. It’s a different story when they joke about one team being  ‘skins’ because then automatically myself and whoever else happens to have been born with female anatomy are excluded from said team. Our ability to play is no longer a factor.

Which leads me to question why do nipples exude sexuality? A woman could walk around in pasties and although she wouldn’t be considered ‘decent’, it’s a whole different story when her bare breast is entirely exposed. It’s one inch of a person’s body that is only sexy because it on the end of a woman’s breast.

If nipples are only around to serve as a feminine attribute that justifies the notion of the nurturing mother breast feeding her child, then the cartoons have it right. Cartoon men do not have nipples.

But I didn’t know that when I was a child. I would draw women with no eyebrows and men with no eyelashes.

As a child what did I know of nipples? But I knew (though I couldn’t tell you where I learned it) that certain features were masculine and certain features were feminine. If you messed that up your drawing was worthless because who would be able to tell if you had drawn a lovely woman or a handsome man?

Based on this cartooning logic there is only one solution to the nipple problem: nipples should be exclusive to the female just like eyelashes so no one can ever be confused again.

But in all seriousness, it’s one thing to pick me last when playing frisbee because, as a woman, I’m not as strong or fast a a man. It’s something else entirely when the sexism goes from being unintentional unconscious perceptions to blatant ostracism based on anatomy men and women both share. I’m not asking women to run around topless to prove a point, but I am asking men and women to question why it is acceptable for a man to bare his nipples to the world and for a woman to need to cover up.

This is My Body Movement

Ever since I learned what asexuality was and realized that I am asexual I foolishly believed that because sex did not directly affect my life and my body that the fight for reproductive rights was not my concern. Sexism did not seem to affect me. I know better now.

My body my choice shirt shirt

My friend who inspired this blog sent me a video today: THIS IS MY BODY where women of all races and nationalities went in front of a camera and told Congress their bodies are their own. It is not up to legislators to determine what a woman can and cannot do with her body just because there is fear surrounding the notion of a woman’s choice. Please watch the video because this was ultimately what made my decision to stop being afraid to speak out and start this blog. I was so deeply captivated by the courage of these women who own their power because they own their bodies and everything that comes with being a woman, sexual and otherwise.

It is incredibly powerful how honestly these women speak out about their right to the take responsibility for their actions and to be treated as competent adults who have a say in what directly affects them.

And all this time I believed feminists were outdated women marching without a cause. I have been wrong on every level imaginable. It’s the same way I was wrong about my asexuality excluding me from sexism. I have been doing more research on the war on women and I am coming to realize this is not an outlandish term reserved for those too bitter to speak on politics calmly.

I was doing research to find out more information on the This is my Body video and about current legislation I came across another project with the same name; This is my Body.  This other This is My Body Project was started when 17 year old Kailei Picciotti was being cyber bullied about her body image, being told she was too fat and too ugly to have self worth or be a model. In response to those anonymous comments she took a marker and wrote on her stomach This is my Body.  The movement encourages anyone to send in pictures of themselves showing off what they have the least self confidence in and being assured that they are beautiful. Worth is not dependent on conventional standards of beauty.

The two movements have more in common than just a name. Although the This is my Body video is far more geared toward politics, the movement started by Kailei is after the same thing: a world where everyone can accept who they are and be accepted as equal members of the world. No matter how much one knows about politics making a decision that is right for you, the individual, can only come from self love.

Whether you write it on your skin or say it out loud, tell it to yourself or shout it to the world, let someone, anyone, know that this is your body. You have the right to do with it what you choose. Man or Woman don’t be afraid to speak out.

The Power of a Feminist

I’ve been inspired to make this blog for a few months now and never knew when I would be able to work up the courage to do so. Creating a blog shouldn’t be an act of courage, but this is the first time I am openly calling myself a feminist.

My inspiration for this blog is my brilliant best friend who amazes me every day with her own courage, gift of words, and strength to stand up against sexism. I have never met another person more capable of bringing about equality. But as she told me, it is easy to call yourself an ‘equalist’. It is vague. It shrouds your cause in shadows and you do not need to know what you stand for.

I’m learning what I stand for and this is the first step: I am a feminist.

This is not shameful. It does not make me ugly, or stuck in the past. It does not mean I hate men.

I expect my definition to change as I grow into my new role as a feminist, but at this moment being a feminist means loving that I am a woman and not feeling that I am below a man based on my sex.

This is difficult to admit because my brother hates feminism and I love my brother. I just think it’s time for me to love myself more.

I’m beginning to wake up and realize that not only does the world need feminism but I can only help if I am no longer afraid to proclaim that I am feminist and that I am no longer afraid.

I am asexual and that is as much a part of my identity as my womanhood. it is impossible for me to deny either one. I am becoming more comfortable expressing my asexuality and I hope to do better by embracing every aspect of myself through this blog. This is what’s right for me: as a woman who cares about the future.

Please join me in exploring the issues of feminism. Please join me in no longer being afraid to speak out.