These past few months have brought about various events and developments—some intertwined, some entirely independent—that have caused me to question my self worth in the aspects of appearance, intelligence, maturity, and how others perceive me. While I do enjoy my little, secretive and selective world, this can serve as a small glimpse into it for those who care enough. But like all the writing that I have been doing as of late, this is primarily for me, myself, and I. Times like these can be made at least a little less painful by organizing one’s thoughts and finding ways to cope.

While I have always been a feminist, I have been spending more time than ever thinking about how cruel it is that we live in a world that is so dominated by men. We [women] often find ourselves objectified and sexualized and used, all at men’s will and convenience. (It is considered acceptable for men to be impulsive and lack control, and women are expected to comfort and calm them). When we show traces of gentleness and empathy (and anything deemed nurturing and ‘feminine’), these signs are labeled as weaknesses, and interpreted as invitations to be taken advantage of. And then when everything has been taken (against our will), and when everything has been ‘used up’ and is no longer ‘interesting’, and when we are not yet strong enough to speak up, and when it is time to take responsibility, they flee. They retreat back into their blissful oblivion, without a care in the world. Guilt does not follow in their shadows the way pain follows us.

(Of course, not all men are like this, and disrespect women. Not at all. There are plenty who are respectful gentlemen who treat women even better than some women treat each other. But sometimes, unfortunately, all it takes is for a few—or even just one—to make some of us lose hope and trust in men collectively).

Like ‘hit and runs’, we are left on the side of the road like wounded animals—barely breathing and barely human because we have been reduced to nothing when our free will was taken from us. (I often can’t tell what is more painful—the acts themselves, or the abandonment and expectation to put myself together on my own, without the other party taking responsibility, because a simple apology does not suffice). Our voices unheard, our sufferings unacknowledged, we are expected to “get over it” and “forgive and forget” and even accept ‘peace offerings’ in the form of proposals to “be friends” (as though no damage has been done), as I’ve been told even by women. Why should we “get over it” and pay the consequences for acts perpetrated against us, for which we are not in the least bit to blame? (It is time to shed this old-fashioned belief that we bring this upon ourselves with our short skirts, makeup, and soft-spoken nature). We never truly forget or move on—we can only find ways to cope and try to keep going with whatever life we have left in us.

I often feel my identity slipping away, and sometimes I am terrified that I have already lost myself completely.

But perhaps it is now time to break the silence, and let justice be served.

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