From the moment we’re born as women, we are automatically burdened with the responsibility of having to protect our bodies. This is simply because we exist in a female anatomy which is consistently sexualised, objectified and picked apart from ages as young as primary school. Yes, primary school. Rules such as the ‘dress code’ for girls in the education system further pushes the narrative that women are sexual beings and should cover up in order to make others feel more comfortable, usually men. I find the concept of male teachers in charge of vulnerable lives who feel ‘uncomfortable’ due to little girls showing their legs, arms or shoulders quite disturbing to say the least. To put it frankly, when did we normalise this shit? This entire notion depersonalises and completely detaches us from humanity as women. As if we are nothing but aesthetic objects that exist only to satisfy the ‘male gaze’.
I’ve never been a fan of the whole dress code thing, needless to say I’ve had countless debates with men and others who argue that this rule is fair. Intuition tells me this is because when dress code is aimed at men, it’s usually to keep a level of formality within the school or workplace. The contrast between men being treated as the face of representation and intelligence and women being treated as sexual beings who need to cover themselves up in a professional setting says everything about sexism in today's modern world.
These types of behaviours have somehow managed to become normal upon civilisation. We don’t even seem to question the ideas we’re pushing when we fail to speak up as our male friends are being derogatory toward another woman, or when we enforce rape culture through being friends with abusers, further enabling their actions. Both things that happen quite often, I’m talking to men AND women here.
Misogyny is everywhere and it’s time we open our eyes and work on our self-awareness. No matter what, it is OUR responsibility as humans to create a more unbiased, impartial and unprejudiced world for everyone. Meaning it is just as much the man's job as it is the woman's to smash the patriarchy and continue fighting these gender norms and stereotypes. For men, this could take the form of recognising their male privilege and using their voices to speak up against rape culture, objectification and bigotry. Although this is key to understanding the struggle women go through in today’s society, misogyny doesn’t just live upon men, but us girls too.
Ladies, ask yourself why you “don’t like” that girl, or what the problem with ‘’being like other girls” is. We must learn to stop these thoughts and become aware of the reality we are projecting onto ourselves as women. As well as enforcing the exact same behaviour we work so hard to oppose when it comes to men being sexist through our own internalised misogyny. Understanding how the media pit women against each other are vital in deconstructing these toxic ideologies. When you start to read more and educate yourself deeper on how to be a better feminist, not a toxic one, you'll begin to realise how common it is.
Music and movies are frequent examples of which it encourages us to believe we should constantly be in competition with each other as women, specifically for the attention of men. Songs such as "girlfriend" by Avril Lavigne or "You belong with me" by Taylor Swift implement a destructive credence that women are unable to promote each other's success whilst maintaining their own independence as empowered individuals. The result of this harmful narrative brings us up to believe we are "too much", "dramatic" or "bitchy" when really we should be working hard to lift each other up in triumph.
Take back the statement that we "need" a man to lead in order to be successful, because behind every successful woman, is a tribe of more undefeated women. When we are able to carry this out and enforce it into our everyday lives, incredible things happen and we are pushed to believe we can achieve anything. So never hesitate to uplift someone else, even if it may threaten you, because we are all on this journey together.
"Lead by example, support women on their way to the top and trust that they will extend a hand to those who follow" - Mariela Dabbah
Lots of love, Umi ♡