On one afternoon talking with friends about nonsensical things and what not, we stumbled upon a topic of discussion which was very close to my heart, started by a question given by a guy friend of mine. I’ve gotten this question for the umpteenth time. A question that makes my teeth cringe and awakens a little monster inside my head that screams “SEXIST PRICK”. Which prompted me to write this post. That question is:
“If women are fighting for equality, why does the National Commission on Women exist especially to serve your interest? Why men don’t get such a treatment?”, a guy friend directed a question at me one day.
“Perhaps this time, I’d rather tell my story, as a woman, in the hope that a lot of men would understand why they don’t have a National Commission on Men.”
Honestly, I almost run out of idea on how to answer that question. Perhaps this time, I’d rather tell my story, as a woman, in the hope that a lot of men would understand why they don’t have a National Commission on Men.
I remember when I was in junior high, I was walking with a friend, after school, and there was a man walking behind us. It was in broad daylight and there’s a lot of people around so we didn’t worry about a thing. I didn’t know how, but suddenly this man was already walking on my left side and he grabbed my ass, laughed, and ran away. I was wearing that white-and-blue uniform. I was 13.
“In an interview, I told my interviewer that I wanted to be a diplomat. Instead of focusing on asking about my qualifications, she told me “Your dream is very big, but you’re a woman, just don’t forget to get married.” As if my professionalism was only determined by my ability to have a spouse and that my dream is too big because I have a vagina.”
A teacher in school once said in my classroom that girls especially should keep their virginity until they get married. Boys didn’t have to because if they didn’t tell, nobody would know.
After I graduated college, my relatives would often come to me and ask “When are you going to get married? Don’t wait too long, as a woman you’re biological clock is ticking”. As if my purpose as a woman in this world was only to be a wife and a mother.
In an interview, I told my interviewer that I wanted to be a diplomat. Instead of focusing on asking about my qualifications, she told me “Your dream is very big, but you’re a woman, just don’t forget to get married.” As if my professionalism was only determined by my ability to have a spouse and that my dream is too big because I have a vagina.
Then one day I was helping somebody moving in to a new place. Knowing that my purpose was to help, I took the initiative to lift a big box, only to get stopped by a person saying “You shouldn’t do that, you’re a girl. Let the boys do the heavy lifting.” I threw a mean shade to that person and lifted that box anyway.
The list goes on, because this kind of things happen to me on a daily basis. It happens to 90 percent of the women every fucking day. And sadly, it does not only come from men, many women takes part in supporting gender stereotypes too.
And sadly, it does not only come from men, many women takes part in supporting gender stereotypes too.
Now, you guys can ask me that question again and then think.
While most men are able to walk day and night without worrying about getting harassed, women walk in public spaces with constant fear of the next catcalls, rape threats, or physical intimidations.
While most men have the freedom to date whoever they like without being called a whore, women can be accused of being one just because she has the power to choose whatever man she likes to date.
While most men are congratulated upon their graduations and asked what are the next big thing they’re going to do, women has to be content with getting ask when they’re going to get married even though they are probably the best graduate of their class.
In your job interview or whatever interview you’re having, nobody would remind you to get married or say that you have a biological deadline. Most men would purely be asked about their academic qualifications or employment history. Men would be judged 99% on their competence. On the other hand, women must answer to ridiculous questions that have nothing to do with their capability as an individual.
While most men can do whatever they want without being called “weak”, women just have to work much harder to show people that their gentleness does not equal to weakness.
Now, asked me that question again.
You may not realize it, but men are born with privileges that women don’t have. When you asked why we have a National Commission on Women and not on Men, it’s because equality has not been achieved yet. For now, it is a myth. There’s a long way to go for us women. It is the ugly truth.
I am dreaming of the day where we wouldn’t need such commission anymore. It will be the day where women and men can aspire to be whatever they want to be, without having to worry about their gender. Women and men are different in many ways. But our differences don’t make us value less or more than the other.
Now, while you–men–get on with your lives and enjoy your privileges, we–women–will continue our fight, not against men, but against gender stereotypes and inequality. You’re welcome to join.