I decided to write this post, one that I have had floating in my head for a while, but haven't been able to articulate in words....and I possibly still can't, so bear with me.
I read an article tonight about "sluts" and why that term isn't relevant. And then I read the comments. Now, everyone knows that the number one rule of the Internet is "Never read the comments!" But I did, and now I'm raging, and a little sad.
I have an 8 year old daughter. She is spirited, and wilful, and independent, and everything that I want her to be in this life. In short, she takes no shit from anyone. She knows what she likes, she doesn't stand for unkindness, and she is the first person to call someone out for being an asshole, albeit, not in those exact words. I am so proud of her, and can't wait to see where she takes herself in this life. But, I'm also terrified. Because, as much as we don't want it to be, and as much as we fight against it. It is still very much, a man's world. And, I'm not saying that in a derogatory sense, especially because I am very hopeful that by the time my daughter is a grown woman, things are different. I'm going to list some things that bother me about the world we live in today, when it comes to living in said world, as a woman.
The word slut. Well, this is taken from the dictionary.
Definition of SLUT
chiefly British : a slovenly woman
So, as you can see, the definitions are kind of all over the place. But, if you hear the word slut in conversation, it's usually used to put women down. "She is dressed like a slut." "You are acting like a slut" You get the point. So, I'm going to ask...how does a slut dress? How does a slut act? Basically what a great number of the population is saying is that if you dress a certain way, or act on desires that you have (as a grown woman) this is the label that you get pinned with. I mean, seriously. I bet you can go through your high school yearbook, and every single one of you can point out a girl that had a "slutty" reputation around school. Right? Maybe she dressed a certain way, to entice the guys around school....or maybe, just maybe she was comfortable in those clothes. Maybe she liked expressing herself through fashion, and didn't give a shit about what the guys would think. She possibly dated a lot of guys, maybe she even slept with all of them? She probably craved that male attention, right? She probably had issues with her dad, and she was looking for love in all the wrong ways? Or, maybe, just maybe, she just liked to get out of the house on the weekends. Maybe she didn't sleep with any of the guys. Or, maybe she did. But not because she had some deep rooted daddy issues, but simply because women like sex too. Oh, what's that? You weren't aware of that?
It's just not fair to be a grown woman, who is confident with her body, and sexuality, to act on her desires, and then be labelled for her actions. Especially by other women! Seriously girls, stop cutting other women down, we get enough of that from men. Don't do it to each other. The slut shaming has to stop.
The fear. Okay. This isn't something that I have really thought about, or experienced until very recently. In April of this year, I started running. I wanted to up my workouts, and I also needed an outlet for all of my stress, so running made sense. Well, one thing that I didn't expect? The fear. I live on a country road, pretty much in the middle of nowhere. I have neighbours, but they certainly aren't as close as you would have in a city, or a small town. The area I live in has crime, obviously much like most areas, but I have never ever felt unsafe. Well, one thing I noticed every time I ran alone, I was scared. Not even sure of what. One time a man on a bicycle rode past me, and I literally had to stop running because I was having a panic attack, thinking about him hurting me. Irrational I know. But this stuff happens. I finally stopped running alone after several runners were either followed by men, or approached by men. This isn't right. Everyone should be able to run down their road/street/trail/track, without being terrified that someone is wanting to do them harm. This isn't how I want my daughter to feel any time she goes out anywhere by herself. And that's not to say that men aren't the victims of crimes like these, too. They absolutely are. But not in the same magnitude as women. And chances are, the men that I see running alone down the road, probably aren't thinking that they could be assaulted, or worse, while on their morning run. That fear is like nothing I've ever felt before.
My last subject is a big one. A controversial one, but one that I need to talk about. Abortion. I am a 31 year old, married woman with 3 children. My husband and I have taken permanent steps to ensure we will not have any additional children. But, this Spring, I had a scare. I won't go into details, but I thought I might be pregnant. I was terrified. I felt sick at the prospect of more children. I love my kids to death. I would die for them. But, I do not want any more kids. I know in my heart and soul that 3 is my limit. A point of contention between my husband and I. He would have gladly added more chaos to this household. I was the one who had to firmly say. I can't. I can't do it again, I won't do it again. So, we did what we had to do, and had a permanent procedure. But, then I was late. Discussing this with my husband, we had very different ideas. He obviously thought, well, what's one more? It'll be fun to have another little baby again. I felt the exact opposite. We were on completely different sides. But, the difference between us was, I was the only one who could truly decide. After all, it's my body. And yes, he's my husband, and I take his feelings very seriously, and I love him more than anything. But, ultimately I knew I was not having any more children. I told him this, and he really didn't understand what I was saying. He thought I was talking about adoption, but I'll never forget the look on his face when he realized that I was talking about abortion. He and I have very different opinions on the subject, and I knew that a decision like that could have a detrimental effect on my marriage. But, I also knew that bringing another child into this situation would have been extremely irresponsible. Now, luckily we didn't have to get that far, because I was NOT pregnant. But, the point I'm trying to make is. I, a 31 year old, married woman, would have chosen abortion. It would have been my right to make that choice. After all, nobody else is going to help me buy diapers, nobody else is going to get up in the night with it, nobody else is going to go through the PPD for me. But, just as a 31 year old woman should be free to make that choice so should a 16 year old, and so should a 45 year old. It is nobody Else's choice. And when I see people trying to take that choice away from women, I just get sad. Everyone is free to believe what they want to about abortion, but the simple thing is, if you don't agree with abortions....don't have one.
This world is changing everyday. Some things for the better, and some worse. I have so many wishes for my little girl. I want her to get a good education, I want her to always be kind, and make friends wherever she goes. I wish for her to find true love from someone that is good to her, a person who respects her, and loves her for who she is. But, I also want her to be able to wear anything she wants to wear, without being judged for it. I want her to never be ashamed of her sexuality. I want her to be able to go out alone, and not be plagued by fear, and uncertainty. I don't want her to be immediately distrustful of any man who she encounters. I want her to walk with purpose. And, I want her to be free to be the judge over her own body. Her body is her own, and I want her to feel that always. And most of all, I want her to know just how much hope I have for her future, and how much love that I have for her.