Remember when I was talking about that hashtag… Well, it’s rearing it’s ugly head in my life profoundly and I feel like I’m embarking on this very sudden abrupt journey.
When I first ran across the #WhyWeNeedFeminism hashtag, it was really difficult for me to debate anything with anyone about it, because I just didn’t feel very connected to it. For me, in my life, I’ve never really seen that we need feminism, because everything I needed as a woman was already fought for. Or at least it seemed that way because I was raised by a strong, independent, no-man-needing woman who raised us to believe that I was just as good as all the boys, even my brother. So, I couldn’t relate.
However, in the past few days and an instance a few months back, have completely changed my thinking. The instance a few months back didn’t really click it in for me, it was just kind of floating in my brain waiting for this exact moment to resurface.
Kaeidyn, my 9-year-old, is quite the little diva. She’s always been that way. And I hate to say it, but she is quite vain. She’s always asking for compliments, she’ll walk up to total strangers and say “Don’t I look cute in this outfit?”, and the clothes she wears… First, she has a lot of family members who don’t know how to say no to her. Hell, I’m not even that good at it. So she’s been able to figure out ways to get very short skirts and very short shorts.
This one day, she comes down from her room wearing the shortest skirt ever. Now another thing about Kaeidyn, is that she is incredibly gorgeous. And I’m not just saying this as her Mom. Somehow, she has got a really great body – legs that go on for miles, a butt that looks like it belongs to a much older girl and her skin carries an amazing tone to it that just makes her glow. She knows this entirely. So, she comes down in this short skirt and I immediately tell her she cannot wear it out of the house.
I’m a pretty nice Mom that way, much the same way my Mom was. If it’s too short to wear out of the house, I’m not saying you have to get rid of it, but you have to stay inside when you wear it.
Of course, as usual, we get into a huge arguement about why I’m so mean to her, blah blah blah. At some point, The Boyfriend joins in, as he usually does and he says to her, “You don’t want some boy to rape you because you wore that out”. Worst parenting moment ever on my part, because right in front of her, I was like, “Eh, eh, eh, eh. Now now! We don’t say things like that” and launch into a mini-lecture about victim blaming.
This was just the first hint.
Then, we go down to my Mom’s and that day, Kaeidyn got to walk with Kenzie to the store by herself for the first time. She was very excited and couldn’t wait to tell. As a 9 almost 10-year-old, and the fact that she’s been working hard to gain some trust so that she can go further away from the house, I decided in a rushed moment that it was okay by me. And she did great, they both did.
My Mom has a tendency to forget what it was like when we were kids and the stuff that we got away with when we did. I was in Grade 2 when I was walking to the store by myself and by the time I was Kaeidyn’s age, I would walk to go get her smokes from the local convenience store. She was quick to point out that I was always with my sister, who is 17 months older than me. Kaeidyn went with her brother, so in my books, a-okay!
Almost immediately, my Mom starts going off about how “she’s a girl” and that “it’s much more dangerous for girls” and that she hopes I’ll wait until Kaeidyn is in her teens before I start letting her go anywhere without her brothers… And then begins in on the rape that is just out there around every corner waiting for every single girl that’s ever going to walk out the front door!
Is anyone else feeling queasy yet, or is just me?…
I’m not saying that girls shouldn’t be, to some degree, concerned about getting raped and that it should kind of be a guiding voice in our heads. Don’t go walk through that forest in the middle of the night, don’t go out drinking without a buddy, don’t go jogging down your favorite trail on a Friday night when all the lamps just happen to blow out. You know, make some smart choices and such…
However, I do not want a single day of my daughter’s life to somehow be less-than because she was afraid of getting raped. I don’t want her to not be able to accomplish her dreams because there was an iota of a chance that she could get raped. I don’t want to spend my own life, as a girl, in fear of every man that walks by me, because he might rape me…
Rape, and the possibility of it happening in my life, should not change how I live my life. And it should not change the way I raise my daughter as opposed to my sons, it should not change the way we, as girls are treated. It should not change the lessons we are all taught about life. We raise little boys to be brave, because no one is going to rape them. We raise little girls to be weak, because everyone is going to rape them.
And I am here, as a concerned mother, to say I HAVE HAD ENOUGH!!
Then, the absolute kicker in the whole pants of the #WhyWeNeedFeminism debate. If you’ve read the entries from the last two days, you probably know exactly where I’m going.
For me to be considered sexually attractive by my partner of six years, I have to dress up as something that I am simply not, I have to “be more sexual” when I’m already more sexual than any other person I know who doesn’t only live on the internet, I have a huge laundry list of ways that I have to be, endlessly, to be sexually attractive. Then, that becomes repititous and whose fault is that? You guessed it, mine!
For him to be considered sexually attractive, he has to wear whatever the hell he found on the floor, shower once a week, shave once a month and never even have to worry about how he looks or acts or thinks…
He can walk around with his shirt off and no one says a thing. I can’t even breastfeed in public without dirty looks and people telling me I should go to the bathroom to do that. Do you eat where you shit?!? Then, why should my baby! He can walk through the mall with his hands down his pants, scratching his balls for the whole world to see, and I can’t even pick a wedgie.
Like seriously, what are we teaching our kids? What are we letting ourselves get away with? How blind can we be…?
Don’t even get me started on how I’m viewing things now that I’ve been slapped in the face in terms of society and it’s relation to my womanhood – because that’s a whole can of worms that I’m not even prepared to open. But in just my world, my little miniscule world of about 10 people, this is #WhyWeNeedFeminism and why we will always need it…