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Culture

Women Are Not Property

Do you ever wonder who the first man was who decided to oppress a woman? I do. I imagine he was a caveman type creature; an unintelligent brawler who was more animal than human. I can forgive him for doing it and her for accepting it. Those were dark and savage times. We didn’t know any better as a species, but a lot of time has passed since then. There are no more excuses. For those of you who don’t believe in evolution or cavemen, this still applies to you, because a lot of time has passed since the beginning of your religion as well. Times have changed, and we are meant to change with it.

We are living in the 21st century, in a time where slogans like “the future is female” is prominent. A time where women have more rights than we’ve ever had, but the foundation is shaking. Weak men are digging tunnels under us, hoping to crack open the ground beneath our feet, and send us crashing down to the sediment. Weak men don’t want women on equal ground and are afraid as hell of us climbing the ladder above them. Right now, they are still the primary power in our world, and they are pouncing on the opportunity to “put us in our place.”

Women have to deal with things the majority of men could never even fathom. To have equal pay for equal work we must fight for it. It’s not uncommon for someone with less experience to get a promotion we earned all because we don’t have the preferred genitalia. We must be fearful of walking alone at night; because rape happens every 92 seconds in America, 9 out of 10 are female victims and roughly three women are murdered every day. Even with this caution, we’re not 100% safe, because the majority of rapes and murders on women are committed by someone they know. 81% of women have experienced some level of sexual harassment.

Even with all this knowledge, women are routinely blamed for the rapes committed against them. For petty reasons, such as what they wore, how much they drank, or how they acted. While a man can run around naked, get blackout drunk, and say or do whatever he wants and little consequences for his actions. It’s just “boys being boys,” but that’s a bullshit lie. In reality, men are just allowed more freedom than women.

We face discrimination and inequality at every turn from our personal to professional lives. Even several social media companies have banned female breasts or “female appearing nipples” while men are allowed to be shirtless. Weak men enjoy calling women “the weaker sex,” or sensitive, or crazy because we dare to feel. Even the physical pains of womanhood seem hard for most men to comprehend. All of this is just the short list of what every woman must face. Strong men try to empathize but can also acknowledge that they could never understand all that women go through. While weak men are too focused on trying to send us back to the 1950s.

These weak men are ruled by an old-school societal concept of what a woman should be and the rules she should follow. These outdated rules are still told to young girls as a way to “please their future husbands.” Some of these rules are as follows:

  • men want a woman who cooks and cleans
  • men want a woman who’s not too fat or too skinny
  • men don’t want a woman that’s taller or stronger than they are
  • men don’t want a woman who talks back or argues too much
  • men don’t want a woman who’s had too many sexual partners

And the list goes on and on. The weak men who believe women must follow these rules in order to be good wives are often men who want women who will bend to their will. Luckily, a good portion of women no longer listen to this old school drivel, but there are so many that still believe these are the requirements to attain lasting love.

Another example of these old school expectations, women are still excepted to take their husbands name at marriage and give their children his last name. A practice that began in the 19th century; which made husband and wife seen as “one person” in the law, but that one person was the husband. His identity superseded his wife’s; he essentially owned her. Only he could vote, own property (personal or real estate), enter into contracts, participate in business, engage in litigation, etc. Women who didn’t get married had very little prospects and were ostracized by society. It wasn’t until 1972 that a woman could legally use her “maiden name” as she pleased in every state.

Despite all this, 90% of women still take their husband’s last name. While 50% of Americans think it should be legally required for a woman to take her husband’s last name. Women who don’t, are often looked down on or judged. It doesn’t matter if your “maiden name” is your father’s last name because times have changed. Why should a woman change her last name? Why shouldn’t a man change his last name? Why don’t both parties mutually agree to hyphenate or create a combined name? A woman should only change her last name in marriage if it’s what she genuinely desires. Not out of habit or expectation or pressures from loved ones. It’s all about choice, because women are not property.

Though it would seem some states disagree on that matter. Namely, Alabama and Georgia (the state in which I’ve lived my whole life), but other states could soon follow their example. States which have made it clear they value their Christian beliefs and a small sack of undeveloped cells more than a woman’s right to choose what to do with her body. These states are proclaiming that women are nothing more than an incubator. That women, no matter the circumstance, must have this unwelcomed life grown inside them against their will. They are naïve enough to think that every woman will automatically love this life forced upon them, but do they ever actually think what will happen to these unwanted children? No. Do they force the father to take any responsibility outside of child support checks? No.

If we are not careful, the whole country will start to revert on Roe vs Wade. After that other women’s rights will be attacked. Just thirty years ago when I was born, my father had to give my mother permission to get her tubes tied. Something that absolutely enraged him as a feminist man who believes in a woman’s right to do what she pleases with her body. It’s still difficult today for a woman to get the procedure done, but imagine how worse it could get. All the things these weak men could enforce upon our bodies because they have political power. Yet they never enforce any laws on their own body. They don’t make condoms a legal requirement for sex between couples who aren’t planning a family. They don’t make Viagra illegal for men past prime “breeding age.” Why? Because men believe they should be able to have carefree sex just for fun because they’ve never had to worry about something like pregnancy. This is one of many reasons why men should not make laws for women because they fail to realize that women deserve to be able to have carefree sex too.

This article, however, is not an attack on all men. Many men believe in a woman’s right to choose what to do with her body. Many men are okay with women being the breadwinner of the family. Many men march for women’s rights. These are strong men, men who realize they don’t need to be taller, stronger, smarter, richer, and/or in power of women to be a man. These are men who realize that being a man is about being confident with who they are, with their strengths and vulnerabilities, and being able to completely respect another person’s choices regardless of their gender. We need men like this in the world, and I hope these strong men will grow in numbers over time.

However, we must not wait for strong men to come and save us. We are not damsels in distress. We ourselves are strong, wild, and relentless women. We must stand tall and scream, “I am a woman! I am not your propriety, or your incubator, or your toy, and I will not surrender to the patriarchy.” Because you know what sisters? The future is female, and together we are an unstoppable force to be reckoned with.

 

 

Citations:

“Victims of Sexual Violence: Statistics” RAINN.org, www.rainn.org/statistics/victims-sexual-violence.

“Violence Against Women in the United States: Statistics” National Organization for Women, www.now.org/resource/violence-against-women-in-the-united-states-statistic/.

“2018 Study on Sexual Harassment and Assault” Stop Street Harassment, www.stopstreetharassment.org/our-work/nationalstudy/2018-national-sexual-abuse-report/.

Selcer, Leslie. “Selcer: Regarding the moral panic of women’s nipples on Instagram” Daily Emerald, www.dailyemerald.com/opinion/columns/selcer-regarding-the-moral-panic-of-women-s-nipples-on/article_14e7a5ae-f99d-51fe-ba33-456f4a14ab7b.html.

Erdmann, Joni. “Why are Women Still Changing Their Last Names?” HuffPost, 10th Nov. 2016, www.huffpost.com/entry/why-are-women-still-chang_b_8486370.

Grinberg, Emanuella. “The reality for women seeking abortions in Alabama and Georgia” CNN, 24th May 2019, www.cnn.com/2019/05/23/us/abortion-restrictions-georgia-alabama/index.html.

Lowder, J. Bryan. “Why Is It So Difficult for Young Women to Get Their Tubes Tied?” Slate Magazine, Slate, 9th July 2012, www.slate.com/human-interest/2012/07/getting-your-tubes-tied-why-do-young-women-have-a-hard-time-getting-sterilized.html.

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by darlingashes

Ashley Marie Egan is an American writer, poet, photographer, and artist based in Georgia. Her work touches on themes of relationships, feminism, & mental illness. When she is not working on her art, she is running a small business with her mother and spending time with her three dogs and three cats. You can find her debut poetry book, “The Elements Between Us” on Amazon.

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