So I thought I’d post something about International Women’s Day since I’ve been passionate about women’s issue since last year.
At first I was looking for a topic which I wanted to have ‘woman’ in it but I settled for gender since it is a more inclusive term. Then as I look for pictures of women I get lots of sexual images and decide to put a logo and I rule out the pink one since it seems like it overlooks, and there was only one pink picture which goes to show that times are changing.
I grew up attending Christian schools which pretty much gave me a background of who a woman should be. One of my teachers told me that a real woman does what she wants to do. Nonetheless, what particularly stood out was that a woman should be a virgin till marriage and should be submissive. Submission was mostly explained to me as doing what the man wanted you to do, doing everything for him and of course cooking for him. If I was submissive, he would love me, and I would have the perfect marriage. This is what I was taught for most of my life and I never really though about it, until I joined high school.
In high school I also studied in a Christian School but I was taught more about spirituality. No one ever preached about being a good woman. As I would later come to realize my foundation of what was expected from a woman wasn’t really applied. Especially on what had been emphasized on a lot, which was virginity.
When I joined the university, gender issues weren’t exactly my area of interest until something happened to me. I sought help but did not really get it until I took a course on gender then my healing began and I began to be more aware on gender issues.
As I opened my eyes, I realized that society really expected me to behave in a certain way as a woman. The emphasis here was on dressing, submissiveness and being more in the domestic sphere. Talking about sex gives one the impression that you are a whore.
On social media, the sexual life of the woman is a big deal, the issue of nudes and exposing how many guys a girl has slept with.
One thing that has however stood out for me is that society expects me as a woman to be at home and the man can be anywhere. It expects me to look like a certain singer or actress yet it will hate when I have layers of make up on. It will want me to have long hair but hates it when I put artificial hair to meet the requirement. It will hate on me if I choose to keep my virginity but also hate on me if I loose it. As a woman, I can probably never fully satisfy society requirements and it is the same case for a man. Doing everything society tells you to do is living a life that focuses on pleasing others but not yourself.
Another issue I’m concerned with is the fact that gender isn’t really appreciated. A boy wears, skinny jeans, he’s gay, he has a piercing it’s gay, he likes Justin Bieber or Glee and he’s not a real man. Statements that imply being gay is wrong in society and try to tell you how to behave and what to do. A patriarchal society which imposes behavioral norms on you. A religious society which will preach love and lack of judgment that will beat up, hate and even kill those who choose a certain sexual orientation.
I’ve taken more gender courses since last year and I’ve realized that I identify more with being an introvert than I do with being a woman or feminine. I remember in a particular class on communication the lecturer saying that women talk more and looked around to see if they were any awkward stares because I’m very quiet and I do very little talking… despite this long post. With being introverted no one has to impose behavioral norms on me.
Then at the end of the day I am a woman. I also identify strongly with being a woman and femininity and if I have to go on a definition that touches on ‘femininity’ or being a woman, it’s probably the one that has stuck in my head, which is “A real woman does what she wants to do”. I don’t have to ask men or older women how I am expected to behave as a woman. Everyone is different and should behave in a way that suits them if it is going to have a positive impact on you as an individual and those around you. Differences should be acknowledged and respected and not assumed and dismissed.