I don’t know about others, but I do find it disturbing how almost everything about our cultures as humans have changed for the better over the years but the status of women has only worsened or at best you may argue, remained the same. Before you read this though, I know you may vehemently argue against this proposition, not understanding what I mean by the ‘status of women.’
It is true that women, especially in the West have been granted more ‘freedoms’ and are seen in competition with men in almost all imaginable fields of study and work. They are also allowed to wear whatever they want or none at all, in terms of clothes, make up, hair, etc. Physical abuse of women is punishable. These are the things we gauge our status with, right? But are we really in any way better than the women that lived ages before us? Have we found our purpose? Are we happier?
Look at us. Take a look at majority of women and tell me if you do not see slaves of men. I use the West for example because they are meant to be the ‘standard’ of achievement for women. Everything about a woman is centered on how much impressive and attractive she looks to men. Discrimination in getting jobs, admissions to schools, promotions and recognitions based on sex still remain prevalent even in the West. Many women having to pay for such using their bodies. We, on our own part, have become (mostly subconsciously), submissive to fulfilling that want of men by portraying ourselves as objects of satisfaction of their passions and nothing more thus enforcing our slavery. By the ways we dress, by the ways we alter our looks and bodies, by the ways we walk, by the ways we talk and by the ways we interact with men, we only portray ourselves as objects of sensual satisfaction and not the beautiful, complementary and equally (in most cases) capable creatures we are meant to be. We, mostly unknowingly, live our lives just to serve that purpose in the lives of the men who are becoming increasingly misogynist in our society. Yes men in this age, in most places, do not physically enslave us but we are anything but free from their shackles.
Many of us fail to appreciate not even our inner beauties, but our natural physical beauties, all in a bid to look as appealing as is possible to men. We worry about our height, waist size, hair color, lip size, breast size, butt size, eyebrow form, eye color and every possible feature in our body that you can think of, mostly not because we are personally not satisfied with them but because we want to look like all the models (paraded before us through all possible platforms by men) who are made to seem like the gold standard for women to emulate before they would be deemed beautiful. We blindly aspire and dream and wish and hope to be like those women and in the process have totally mixed up the two words ‘beautiful’ and ‘sexy.’ A beautiful woman is meant to be appreciated for what she is made of. A sexy woman is one which is appealing in a sensual way only, with priority given only to her physical attributes which may even vary between different men. A beautiful woman can make a life long companion, a sexy woman may not necessarily be so if she is devoid of the qualities that make a true beautiful woman.
In our bid to fit into the model, we tend to overlook the reality behind all such women that we see on screens and print. A reality which drives home my point about our enslavement. Majority of them are enslaved by men who go to extreme measures at times to keep them in such shapes. We hear stories of starvation, extreme exercises, forced surgeries and so many more horrendous attempts by those who market such women for them to keep them within a certain weight, with certain looks as are appealing to them not caring how such things make the women involved feel. Many of such women are in reality supposed to be pitied for what they go through to earn a living. For them to have and to keep their jobs they go through all sorts of trauma. Forget the smiles and the poses and the acts you see from afar. When you come close to most of those women you aspire to look like, you are most likely going to find out that they are anything but happy. A proof that being ‘gorgeous’ never equals being happy even if it guarantees all men turn their heads when you walk in. Yet when these women, mostly victims of psychological abuse, are paraded as ‘finished products,’ those of us who are free to choose (unlike them), choose to go to equally extreme measures to be like them. Our teens are obsessed with growing to be like them. Our adult women feel the need to change every part of their body to be like them. Our aging women dread getting old just because they wish to continue being physically attractive. As for those women living in the ‘not developed’ and ‘less developed’ parts of the world, especially in Africa, they practically don’t even count their selves among women per say if they do not look in anyway like one of such ‘perfect’ ones. Their skin color is now their biggest enemy. None of our beautiful features, inner or outer matter. We just dump them in the search to be sexually appealing and tell ourselves we just want to be beautiful.
We talk about women’s rights and how we want to be treated as equals but we keep enslaving ourselves by focusing all our energies on satisfying a single need of the men that we compete with. For you as a woman to be respected and assertive, you need to be confident, have a worthy character and appreciate yourself whether or not a man finds you attractive. You have to take charge of your identity. From the way you dress to the way you walk and talk, none should be dictated by things that tie you to the modern slavery of being a sex object. You have to direct more attention to your personality than just your looks. It is not the responsibility of men to give us what is rightfully ours, it is ours to stamp our identity and free ourselves from the slavery we have consistently found ourselves in. Then our rights will be given to us effortlessly. No matter your beliefs, religious or not, or your culture, you can choose to be a woman, a beautiful equal, not just a portrayal of or an object of sex.
I think now you will agree with me about the status of women not changing. We remain enslaved (albeit in a different and subliminal way in this age) and it will continue for as long as we do not find and nurture our strength, our identity, our purpose, our natural beauty!.
A sexy woman turns heads of men, a beautiful woman turns hearts of men.
Image Credits: FreeImages.com/TinoSmith.