This is a health blog, so most of you expect recipes, workout tips and lifestyle posts. But to ignore societal problems is a gross inattentiveness to the health of our society. This series of essays entitled Feminist Letters is a collection of my thoughts on why feminism is still needed in our society, all based in current events and personal experiences.
cw: language offensive towards women and/or femininity
As a young teenager, I dressed however I wanted. I rarely gave into to any kind of pressure–peer or otherwise–to look a certain way. Though it would be a lie to say popular fashion or media figures didn’t influence how I dressed or presented myself, I was always, and still am, unapologetically myself.
I’m so comfortable with it that I sometimes forget that I have experienced a degree of judgement, both from friends and family, about my wardrobe. I was told I didn’t dress as feminine as a should, that I should wear tighter clothes rather than loose sweatshirts. Not even two years later, the same people were suggesting I try to sexualize myself less and “not dress so slutty.”
For us there is no in between. Cover up and you’re a prude. Show skin and you’re a slut. Date a bunch of people and sleep around and you’re a whore. Stay single or celibate and you’re a bitch for not saying yes. Somehow, no matter what decision women make, we’re not making the right one.
Do we jump out of the frying pan and into the fire? Or are we in between a rock and a hard place? Or between The Rock and Tom Hardy, or any two men with different opinions who for some reason feel the need to make us conform to their ideal of a perfect woman?
The patriarchal idea of what a woman should be is not only inconsistent and outdated but has wormed its way into everyone’s mind, including that of other women. I can’t count how many times I’ve made a snap judgement about a woman who lets men into her dorm room at night. I don’t want to think about my raised eyebrows when an 18 year old hasn’t had her first kiss. I shut it down as soon as I think it, but the fact that I think it in the first place is something to worry about.
Being Pro-Choice extends beyond reproductive rights: it means women have the right to choose the person they want to be without the influence of what the men or other women in their life want from them. The right to identify beyond the norms our inherently misogynistic society has set up for classifying women. The right to wear a crop top and heels one day and an old sweatshirt and mismatched socks the next.
And maybe with this essay I’m throwing myself into the fire, but that’s a choice we all have to make.