Saturday, February 11, 2012

Reflections On The Modern Woman

I’m a feminist at heart. I love reading feminist novels, I am very passionate about the rights of women, if asked who my favorite feminist is, I would not be able to give a single answer. Instead, I would say that my favorite European feminist is Mary Wollstonecraft, why Cady Stanton and Victoria Woodhull are tied for 19th century U.S, say that for 20th century it would of course be Betty Friedan, and modern day would be Eva Ensler, but I also love Lissa Rankin and her raunchy, assertive style.
It’s hard to imagine that women haven’t even had the right to vote in thic country for one hundred years yet. We’ve come a long way from the turn of the 20th century, but the battle is far from won.
I remember not too long ago, sitting in school, over hearing a group of girls talk about how they wish they could be skinny, despite all being healthy weights and attractive. It’s no news to hear that there’s such a problem with girls, but it’s so sad to hear it in real life.
I’m always so disturbed at those women who walk around with their faces buried under chemical-based pastes and powders. With high heels that stiffen calves and Achilles tendons, cause bunions and nerve damage, and put pressure on the knees and back. Or those women who go get waxed because body hair is a no-no. Plucking eye brows, fad dieting… Why do we do this?
Do we, as women in the Westernized world, feel we are inadequate if we do not live up the standardized women the media idealizes? Is going out in shorts with legs that haven’t been shaved in a couple days that awful? Or hitting the town sans make-up?
There are so many women who rise above this idea. Women who care more about personal pleasure than personal appearance. Women who value intelligence and life more than attention and conformity. These are real women. But it scares me to see the mainstream at my school, the girls who will be the future's women. Will they mature and realize life isn't all about looks and drama?
With attacks on our rights left and right by the G.O.P., are we falling back into the Gilded Age where a woman’s worth is her husband and children, not herself as a person?
I have worn make-up once in my entire life, and it was for only a short amount of time 4 years ago. I have shaved maybe twice in the past year. I suppose I’m to secure in my femininity to succumb to all of those ridiculous societal expectations. Do I, as a young woman, deserve to be treated less because of my choices to embrace my natural body?
Breast implants and genital alterations ("elected mutilation") have become all too common. Just as every woman is unique, every pair of breasts will be made so, and every vulva will be one of a kind. Why do we feel the need to change what is made for us to be more sexually appealing? Is that all we stand for?
Women are still struggling for full equality, but it seems like too many feel it is already won.
Still, working women do three fold the amount of housework men do, we statistically earn less, and we experience far too much sexual abuse. We are all sisters, we cannot lose our personalities and ambitions in our desire to be more physically appealing.
I am Woman, and I am proud. I love my breasts, I love my vulva, I love my leg hair. I will live my life the way I feel I should, not the way society has laid out for me. If I will be criticized for my choices, then it is a sad reflection on this society.

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