Archive for May, 2012
I have been pondering the “purity” factor imposed on women for a couple of months now. I have talked about it with friends, read about it in books and watched a documentary about it. It seems there are just so many ways that a woman can be “icky.”
For example, social norms has long held that if a woman has sex before she is married, she is not pure. When she is on her menstrual cycle, she is not pure. In fact, just by virtue of being a woman, she is so unclean that she cannot enter certain religious areas or functions.
In other words, we are made to believe that by just being alive a woman is unclean. Nonsense! How on earth does it make sense that it is okay for a man to have sex before marriage, but it somehow makes a woman impure?
Sex is a natural biological function for both females and males. Sex does not (or should not) improve one gender’s honourable standing while degrading the other’s.
Yet there is a constant demand throughout recent history to make sure the girl stays a virgin and thereby “pure’ while the man can have sex as much as he wants without any declaration of icky-ness.
And then we have menstrual cycles. Oh my! It really gets me mad when I think that patriarchal societies have turned the very blood that makes life into an unclean and evil thing.
A woman’s period is yet just another biological function. There is nothing – I repeat, NOTHING – that is gross, unclean or impure about a menstrual cycle.
In fact, it is because of the woman’s menstrual cycle that any of us are even alive today. That menstrual blood should be revered, as it once was millennia ago, rather than held in contempt. Sadly, women believe it when they are told they are somehow “unclean” when on their periods.
I was elated to read that a VICE photo series by photographer Emma Arvida Bystrom, entitled, “There Will Be Blood,” is challenging that silly taboo.
According to an article entitled, “Menstruation Taboo Challenged by VICE ‘There Will Be Blood’ Series” in the Huffington Post, “The series depicts women going about various everyday activities, like jogging, reading, texting and waiting for the bus. The photographs aren’t sexual, they’re nearly mundane … except that each woman is bleeding through her clothing — something that has probably happened to most women — some more than once.”
I went straight to vice.com to see the photo series and was elated that there are women who really do get it – we are not icky like we have been made to believe. (To see the blood in all its glory for yourself; the photo series can be found at http://www.vice.com/en_au/read/there-will-be-blood)
Women have long been burdened with our presumed icky-ness. We’ve been bogged down with guilt for being unclean and impure for no other reason than biological functions. It is time to free ourselves of this archaic hogwash. We are not impure. We are the bearers of life! Without our beautiful blood, humanity would cease to exist.
Yes, there will be blood and that blood will continue to flow like it has for ages and generations.
This wondrous event is not something to scorn because the day that blood dries up is the day humanity dies. Therefore, a woman’s period should be a time of celebration of the miracle of life.
How did things get so turned around that women are made to feel embarrassed by their periods? Women sneak around to buy sanitary napkins hoping no one sees them or hide their tampons in their sleeves as they go to the bathroom.
This is all wrong. It might be a private thing, but it is not an icky thing. That blood represents the power of procreation.
The truth is that some men want women to think they are icky just by being born in the first place. There are countries where baby girls are killed just because they are female. In some countries women are bought and sold like cattle. It is no wonder that even in Western countries women still feel the stigma of the not too distant past history when our Sisters in other parts of the world still suffer so greatly.
This perceived icky-ness of women is so wrong and immoral. Women should be honoured and revered for their place in procreation. They should be free to be female and proud of it.
Women have been held back (put in their place) for so long that it has hurt the human race. Making women feel guilty for sex, or for their periods or even for just being born (all ways of holding women back) is counterproductive to the overall good of humanity.
It is time for women to take their rightful place in society. It seems I have made that last statement a million times over, but I will continue saying it until it becomes reality. The longer it takes for women to find a way to reject these ridiculous ideologies that promote female icky-ness, the longer the human race will continue to suffer from the gender imbalanced approach to global leadership.
To be more specific, until women are leading the world, side-by-side with the men, there will most certainly be blood, and it should not continue to be the blood of death and murder, but the life-giving blood of women. Until women step in and demand an end to the wars and the violence and find peaceful ways of resolving conflict, the human race will continue on the destructive path it has been on for so long.
I am not the least bit offended at the blood of a woman’s menstrual cycle. That blood of life is beautiful. What offends me is blood shed in violence.
That blood signifies wasted life and the brutality of a male-only led world. If anything is impure, unclean or icky, it is the unchecked savagery of the male ego and the lengths to which he will go to conquer and rule.
So guys, what do women think of your inappropriate workplace advances?
Listen to a friend’s story about an incident that happened to her a couple weeks ago.
“I have this client. He’s been a client of mine for a little over a year when I was just freelancing, and now he’s a client [for my new business]. He often says things that are quite inappropriate, but I just ignore them and stay professional and business-focused. That’s always worked.
Well he’s been trying to get me to go out to dinner with him for a long time to discuss a project he has for [my business]. I kept trying to change it to lunch, but eventually caved and agreed to dinner…this past Thursday.
Dinner went fine, conversation was mostly professional and he did have a real project for [my business] to work on. There was a little personal conversation sprinkled in about kids and his wife of 35 years, the house they just bought, etc. So when we left, he said he’d walk me to my car. When we got there, he gave me a hug (which I’m okay with), but then tried to lean in to kiss me on my lips!!!
I immediately turned my cheek so the kiss landed there instead. I firmly said, ‘Thank you for dinner. Good night.’
I did NOTHING to make him think kissing me was okay. What on earth was he thinking?
I’m sure it happens to a lot of women all the time. It’s not the first time it’s happened to me. I’m usually really careful about who I go to business meetings with because many times it’s just the guy wanting to spend time with me and get to know me – not my business offerings. So I only [have face-to-face meetings] when I know the person is a decent guy or serious about commissioning our services, [otherwise] I keep everything virtual.
And not to mention this guy’s daughter is the exact same age as me! Sickening!”
So guys, what do women think of your inappropriate workplace advances? They are disgusted by such nonsense. Women do not go to their workplace to be groped and to hear ridiculous quips about their body parts or what they are wearing.
I know full well that most of the men reading this column who are egotistical enough to be guilty of workplace sexual harassment will say to themselves that women do not react to their advances like my friend who was revolted by what happened to her. Again, these narcissists are so very wrong.
Most women typically react to workplace harassment the same way my friend said she did when the fool mentioned above would say inappropriate things: she just ignored the harassment and tried to stay focused on business. I hate that women feel they must play dumb about these things to maintain a professional relationship.
Guys, women don’t want your advances at the workplace; they think those advances a waste of their time and energy when they are trying to get things done on the job. Moreover, when on a job, a professional woman’s focus is not romantic; it is on the task at hand.
Now I know some egotistical guys think women do nothing else but sit and think about “mack daddy” all day long and wait with bated breath for them to walk by with a statement that will objectify women and reduce them to sex objects instead of capable humans with a keen brain. But, let me let you in on a little secret…once again you are wrong.
Instead, the ladies in the workplace gather and talk about how silly you look when you try to “mack” and laugh behind your back because you think you have “game.” There are other ladies who find it downright offensive when you treat them like a potential sexual conquest instead of a co-worker on equal intellectual footing.
More often than not, women go to their girlfriends and relay the whole disgusting incident (like my friend did) and the exchange of information is not flattering for the guy at all. So while you go around thinking your mack-daddy-ness is making the ladies swoon, you are actually the creepy clown that the women try to avoid.
You see, it is not “cool” to be disrespectful to women and until you can approach a woman with the respect due her and her position within the workplace, your childish antics will forever put you in a designated spot of avoidance and women will not take you seriously on any level.
In order to gain respect, a person must be willing to give respect. Women who respect themselves would never find sexual harassment to be endearing or respond to it in a positive manner.
Men who inflict sexual harassment on women are endured to keep the peace or to keep a job, but not because women are okay with the harassment.
Guys, keep this in mind the next time you want to harass a woman. Instead, grow up and talk to women with respect. If you treat women with respect and they will reciprocate.
I often wonder how many women settle for relationships that are not mutually satisfying. How many spend day after day wishing they had a better relationship while living with a spouse or partner who could not care two cents about having a thriving relationship?
I am talking about the kind of relationships where the woman does everything, like nurture the relationship, bears the brunt of the household chores and at times even looks the other way while he talks to another woman on his BlackBerry.
As women, we hear some of these Sisters talk about their situations and try to help them through the tough times. Others quietly bear their hurt and pain, hoping one day the man will wake up and be that loving and caring partner they are so sure he truly is, deep inside.
Sadly, there are women who live this way for years and years until the multiple sharp barbs to the heart have calloused them so much that it is difficult to tell their dead feelings from those of the man who made them this way. Society expects women to stay in such relationships no matter how punishing. A woman is supposed to stand by her man and hope her goodness will rub off on him.
We all know, of course, that the man does not change. He doesn’t even want to change; does not see a reason to do so. In fact, most men will see that goodness from the woman as a licence to do even more that will hurt her.
When confronted about the hurt they cause, men like this tend to want to be defensive or to push the blame back on the woman instead of taking responsibility for their own actions. After all, he had no choice but to work late (365 days a year) or to talk to that other woman several times a day (it’s just a “business” relationship) or to walk all over the woman’s feelings (he never understands the tears – and never tries to do so).
That very same man would never tolerate this type of behaviour from her. Yet the woman is expected to just accept his ill-treatment with a smile and dinner on the table. And sadly, many women do just that.
On top of holding down a job to make ends meet, so many women in this type of untenable situation go home to wash and press that man’s clothes, clean his house, raise his children, shop for his groceries, cook his meals (and even take the food out of the pot and hand him the plate!) all while his majesty grumbles and complains about this or that – or talks to his sweet woman on the phone.
She does not get flowers for her hard work. There are no kind words for her; they are saved for the sweet woman. There’s not even a measly “thank you” for everything she does and all the sacrifices she makes, so he can live like a prince.
This goes on day after day, week after week, year after year. And when the woman just can’t take it any more and breaks down into tears, he calls her “emotional” or crazy or pathetic (sometimes all of the above). Afterwards, she is the one left feeling like she has done something wrong by putting a dark cloud in his majesty’s blue sky. This is madness to the nth degree.
Yet she fights to hold this unhealthy relationship together. She does not understand why she works so hard to preserve a relationship that causes her so much hurt and heartache; she just knows that it would disappoint society if she cannot make him happy. Moreover, she has invested so much of herself into this relationship that she can’t seem to just walk away – even if it is for her own good.
This is not a question of love. It is a question of self-preservation. How long can the woman hold on until she either loses all of herself to this relationship and becomes nothing more than the walking dead or has a mental breakdown from dealing with the constant bombardment of hurtful barbs?
What is wrong with this picture?
Does he have any intention at all of changing? Of becoming more loving, caring and attentive? Does he plan to stop hurting her with his curious relationships? Will he ever decide that he, too, has responsibilities in the home and finally help her?
Women should not be forced to live like this. Yet think about how many Sisters you know who live like this every single day. There is so much feminine potential in those Sisters that goes to waste as they spend all their energy trying to get even one smile from that man who is too wrapped up in his own selfish world to even take note.
Even her beauty and intelligence are lost on him. When others tell him how pretty she is; he gives a blank stare. When others tell him what a great woman she is, he picks up his BlackBerry to see if his sweet woman has sent him another message.
He thinks that sweet woman understands him better, but most times she doesn’t even know him. It is the spouse who has seen him through thick and thin, through richer and poorer and who really knows him. It is the partner who knows all of his ugly ways and still accepts him that truly loves him.
Imagine the possibilities if instead he spent all that “sweet woman” time, energy and effort on his wife.
When she finally cannot take it anymore and finds the courage to take her life back, all too often he suddenly he realises he loves her. Most times the man will beg her to stay and make empty promises about being a better husband, but one cannot help but wonder at this point if he fears losing his wife and his love – or just his maid.