Overwhelmingly, my life as a girl growing towards womanhood had been one of anger and resentment. Anger, due to all of the things thrown at me just for being born a woman, and resentment to all the men and women who attempted to ‘correct’ my views, and who attempted to tell me what my ‘place’ in society was. More than deeply offended, I fought back, I was vocal, and I hated.
But today, I am no longer fighting with people and I no longer hate. A change happened deep inside of me, and it was strong, pervasive, and a little profound to try to explain, but If you asked, I would say: life happened, and it taught me that I wasn’t a victim.
I was no longer at the ‘losing’ end, because I chose to play an altogether different game. Today, while what’s important to the world revolves around getting a good job, status, recognition and money, I questioned, what if the world’s values shifted? What if what was important suddenly became about the family, the ability to raise children right, or keeping the family together? What if men and women both thought that should come first? Being at home, wouldn’t be demeaning, it would be the highest honor, and men would be clamoring at the chance to be the best in this. Perhaps the world would be drastically different, and women would come out on top.
It started to make sense. How much of our dominant ideologies have pervaded society, and how much we don’t have to give in to those faulted ideals. Why did I have to be defined by what the world’s version of success was? I don’t.
When I imagine a world like this, it seems almost too far fetched, because such a world involves rewriting history and altering human nature. I imagine it being the world God intended, where our relationships- with God and with each other was the only thing that mattered. I’m convinced that at the end of the day, when we’re at our deathbeds, we don’t hear people saying “I wish I spent more time at work…”, more often than not, its “I wish I had spent more time with my family.”
So many men forget, realize it too late, and do not get this privilege. There are so many boys that hate their fathers, and while these issues are more complicated than what I’m about to say next, but much of the world’s social problems comes from the fact that we’re too busy chasing down these ‘successes’.
When I finally realized this, I was finally free. I finally understood that I didn’t have to be a victim or be at the losing end, and if only women everywhere started valuing this instead of being defined by what men thought was important.
Shortly after this, a second change happened in my life- it was when I started to see my weaknesses as not a result of my gender, but because I, myself hadn’t put in the same amount of effort it takes for me to be better. In many instances, if a boy had won, it was most likely because he deserved it. He had put more work in it, and this does not mean I am less, It only means I needed to work harder.
So today, I am equal. I am no longer less, and because I am no longer less, I have the ability to give-To love my boys as I do my girls, and to want the same for my men as I do my women. I worry for my men today, because while changes are happening for women, a change is happening to our men too as a result of this newfound empowerment. Though I understand how the “women are better than men” dialogic came about, meant to offer some sort of balance to counter centuries worth of suppression and misogyny, its also come to a point that our men start to actually believe it, throw in the towel and go, ” okay you really are better… so you do it.” This isn’t a future I want to see for any of my men. The strength of a woman should not and does not mean a lessening of a man’s, just as how it should not and does not mean a lessening of a woman’s. When I think about this, I think about my 14 year old brother, I think about my guy friends, who I love like brothers…
In any change, both men and women need to act, work, and believe collectively for a powerful movement. Strength isn’t strength when its at the expense of one’s weakness.
I feel like I have to clarify many things (because this is the internet and people often take this as a challenge to find fault in everything):
1) Women still experience many inequalities in the workplace and I can’t discount how many women today still suffer as a result of them being born, a woman. Issues of women’s health, and sexuality rights are still being marginalized and falling to second-place in its list of importance in the international community, giving way to other ‘popular’ human rights causes. For example, the lack of proper maternity care is still an epidemic that rages throughout much of the lower-income nations. If a man experienced the same problems just for performing their reproductive function, I doubt the International community would ignore it. Women in much of the world do not have a choice to work or stay at home. They don’t have a choice to live right at all.
2) Also, I am by no means saying that women should all aspire to return to family life and raising children (though if you want to I rejoice with you). Despite saying all this, I still want to climb the career ladder, this is still the way our world works. I’m just saying how what I view as important has changed, and if the world puts this as important too, we wouldn’t be so angry when someone says ” Just go home and raise the kids.”, it would be the equivalent of ” Just go to your big office with the view and be a CEO”. Yes, I will raise the kids. I will indeed.
3) I understand in my last line, that the opposite had been true. How the strength of a man was used to dominate, but we as women have a choice to take the high road and to be better than that, to learn from history and to be … better.