I’ve always identified myself as a feminist. I cannot remember when exactly I started calling myself one, but I do remember the first time I thought “hang on a second, this isn’t right.” I was about 11 years old, living in Cyprus, and being dragged to church on a typical Sunday morning. Only on this particular Sunday, because I had seen my period for the first time, I was warned that I was not to kiss the icons as usual.
“Why?” I innocently asked my grandma.
“Because you’re on your period and you’re dirty,” came the scary reply.
Dirty? Even as a 11-year-old, something felt very wrong with using this word to describe a woman who’s menstruating. I mean, SURELY if God created us this way, then SURELY God shouldn’t think that we’re dirty? I know it’s icky and bloody, but DIRTY?! I was, quite frankly, offended. Not nice, God. Not nice at all.
In church that day, I remember more questions followed in my mind, like, why the hell are the women made to stand at the back, separate from the men who are at the front? Why aren’t women allowed to go into the ‘holy area’ of the church like the men are? And why aren’t men being called dirty? I mean, they sweat more than we do. Surely THEY’RE the smelly, dirty ones?
It was also thanks to this particularly enlightening Sunday that I began to question my religion and concluded a few years later that, in fact, I am an atheist. Any God who punishes me with a damn period, watches me suffer in pain once a month, and then has the audacity to call me dirty is no friend of mine.
So whenever I hear women, particularly those from the ‘free world’ tell me that they’re not feminists, I cringe. “We’re equal, though.” Comes the usual reply. I’m not sure what planet these women live on, but I’m living on earth and one thing is for sure – we’re not fucking equal.
Perhaps the only way to highlight how unequal we actually are is to show how things would work in a matriarchal society – the opposite to what we’re living in right now. Imagine, if you will, that this is society today – would you say that men were equal in these scenarios?
A Matriarchal Society:
- There are ample job opportunities for men in places such as Todgers* – a restaurant/bar where the waiters are made to wear skin tight cycling shorts. Bigger ‘todgers’ are highly revered. As women, we come to these bars to leer, make lewd comments and stare while downing pints of beer.
- Page 3 in The Sun newspaper treats its female readership to a stripped down attractive young man in his late teens to early twenties. Here, we’re invited to gander at his balls.
- To be called ‘a boy’ is offensive. “Don’t be such a boy,” for example, and “only boys cry, are you a boy?”
- Men routinely change their surnames when they get married. Their title when they’re single is Master, which changes to Mr once they’re wed. Women are always known as Ms, no matter their marital status.
- We’re taught ‘Herstory‘ in school. No mention of ‘History’ what so ever.
- All magazine covers feature women dressed in power suits and highlight their achievements in their careers. In contrast, all magazine covers feature men dressed in nothing more than Calvin Klein briefs in ridiculously sexualised positions – we have tushie in the air pose, oh look my hand is on my crotch pose, I’m going to pout and look mysterious and sexual pose etc, etc, etc. The sexualised positions are endless! As is the baby oil.
- Men are routinely paid 20 per cent less than their female counterparts for doing the exact same job. The only thing they lack is a vagina – hence, the lower wage.
- Men are subjected to constant sexual harassment on the streets. Comments like “cheer up love, it could be worse,” “show us your todger,” “check the arse on that one,” and “nice nipples, chick,” are all the norm.
- Many young men believe that stripping in dodgy bars is a good way of getting an income to sustain themselves through university. Here they’re made to gyrate around in nothing more than a thong and to go up and down a pole in various positions, while women who’ve just clocked out of the office hang out with their buddies, scratch themselves and get aroused at the strippers’ expense.
- Famous male singers are valued more for their physiques than their music. They rarely wear anything more than a sparkly thong when singing on stage, much to their female fans’ delight. They also like to gyrate around. Really gets the women going.
- Male actors are rarely ever the star of a movie. They are also only easily cast when they’re a) hot and b) between the ages of 18 – 28.
- On the red carpet, male actors are more likely to be asked “who are you wearing?” and “how do you manage to stay so slim?!” than anything of value or interest, while the women are asked to give insightful, meaningful comments about their latest movie roles.
- Male beauty is highly revered. Men are valued more when they’re youthful and wrinkle free. They are bombarded with advertisements on how they can retain their youthful looks with various creams that they like to dress themselves in (much like a salad) every night before going to bed.
- Young boys are brought up to believe that they’re little princes whose princesses will come on a white horse and rescue them one day. If they’re sexy enough, that is.
- Men are dissuaded from pursuing any kind of career that is seen as too feminine for them.
- Male virginity is the be all and end all of life. Their value as a person is based on this. In fact, in some countries, their whole family honour depends on it. Those who lose it before marriage face being shunned, or worse, by their families and new wives.
- Matriarchal society also means that male rape is a huge problem. The issue is, though, men provoke women by wearing shorts that are too tight, or sleeveless shirts which reveal their bulging biceps. That just turns us on. Those little teases! What else are we supposed to do? He says no, but I know he wants it.
- Men are constantly pressured to be the ‘perfect size.’ You must get it right, you see. Not too skinny, not too fat. Just right. Don’t worry, though; they get advice on how to get the perfect beach body in every single magazine. Starve yourselves. You may get hungry but at least you’ll fit into that bathing suit!
- We ensure that men are so busy beautifying themselves for us that they don’t have enough time to really focus on things that matter like equality. This is also why men only currently hold 4.6 per cent of Fortune 500 CEO positions. But at least they look pretty.
The sad part of this exercise is, I could literally carry on and on for hours with this. I didn’t even touch on domestic abuse, for example. There’s just SO much material that I can use. Do you still think we’re equal now that you’ve read this? Or should I continue?
*Todger is British slang for penis.