The Fatigue of Women
You’ve probably heard that men are more alert than women because when we were evolving, men did the hunting and therefore have better instincts for danger.
Well, it’s been a couple million years since then; and in all that time, the danger persisted…for women.
I present to you an exhaustive, exhausting list of situations women deal with regularly. Get ready, it’s a doozy.
Being told as children we should prefer dolls and play kitchens.
Growing up without many female role models in media.
Getting our periods then dealing with our periods then being told periods are disgusting then being told we’re women now then being told we have to protect our virginity then having raging hormones that don’t give a shit about virginity.
School dress codes to cover our shoulders so boys aren’t distracted.
Discovering our sexuality, double down on the stress if that sexuality is not heterosexual. Tripling down if we do not identify with a certain gender.
Bullying by other women, men or adults (otherwise known as harassment).
Sports teams that are only for boys.
The lack of proper sexual education in our schools.
The lack of emphasis on STEM fields as future professions.
Eating disorders and body dysmorphia.
Pressure to get married.
Pressure to have children.
Lack of easy access to birth control and other female health services in most states.
Pregnancy and the associated fears and pains.
The inability to get pregnant and the often painful or expensive choices that need to be made as a consequence.
The many states that do not allow abortions or require waiting times or require your doctor to tell you lies or the picket lines you have to walk through or the general horrendous situation we’re in where a group of old white men can decide whether or not you have a baby.
Difficulty being hired.
Difficulty being promoted.
Difficulty being paid equally.
Lack of opportunities or emphasis on female leadership in the workplace.
Lack of opportunities or emphasis on female leadership in politics.
Lack of opportunities or emphasis on female leadership in religion.
Lack of opportunities or emphasis on female leadership in the arts.
Terrible or non-existent maternity leave policies.
Pressure to stay at home with the kids.
Pressure to get a job instead of staying at home with the kids.
Pressure to “have it all”.
Pressure to “slow down”.
Sexual harassment in the goddamned workplace.
Sexual harassment in the goddamned street.
Being followed down the street.
Groping on trains, in bars, in line at the Post Office, watering the plants, being outside, being inside, being alive, being dead in some particularly upsetting cases.
Catcalling. Double down if you’re not white with ethnic slurs. Triple down if you’re then called a lesbian for not responding positively as if that’s a bad thing/the necessary conclusion of male rejection.
Most (though not all, I know, I know) men.
The lack of sex workers’ rights.
Trying to breastfeed in public.
The US president.
The phenomenon of female medical care or rather, the lack thereof.
Media bias in important criminal cases.
Media bias in breaking “scandal” stories.
Unsolicited dick pics.
Online dating, to be honest.
Actually, just dating in general.
Casting couch porn.
On second thought, I’m going to stop there before I go down the horrifying rabbit hole of porn because we all know it gets much worse before it gets better.
Actual trolls in fairy tales.
Wondering if you’re pretty enough for people to like you.
Wondering if you’re too pretty for people to take seriously.
Wondering if you’re smart enough to get things done.
Wondering if you’re too smart to be non-threatening.
Wondering if you’re nice enough.
Wondering if you’re too nice.
The complicated relationship between religion, women, purity and respect across a broad spectrum of practices and beliefs.
The beauty and fashion industry’s standards.
My mom’s standards, am I right?
The onus of responsibility on birth control.
Internationally, female infanticide.
Internationally, female genital mutilation.
Internationally, honor killings.
Internationally, sex trafficking.
Domestically, the mistaken belief that the international problems listed above never occur at home. It does. We are not special.
Men who don’t consider themselves feminists.
Women who doesn’t consider themselves feminists.
The idea that feminism is wrong, bad, overrated, ill-used or not for the universal benefit of all people.
Did you make it to the end of this list? Boy, it sure was long…and tiring.
It is honestly a wonder that every woman’s posture isn’t permanently hunched with the amount of weight they carry and the tense anticipation of unpleasantries dealt to them on a daily basis. This isn’t just a government problem or a social problem or a family problem, it’s all of them combined. It isn’t even just a female problem.
Of course, men have their own issues to deal with in life. Of course, not all men. Of course, of course, of course.
But for every man that’s tired of defending himself, there are 1000 women tired of spending almost every moment fighting for the kind of respect men feel entitled to. This list isn’t exhaustive of intersectional struggles as well: wherein race and gender and education and class come in to play.
Movements like #metoo and the Women’s March are a necessary step but not a complete solution to a historical problem: that women are and have been considered second-class citizens in almost every aspect of human life. But they haven’t been taking this lightly. Women fight. They can withstand pain. Women endure the worst of what humanity has to offer and celebrate the best as well.
But it is tiring, so goddamn tiring, to fight all your life. By sharing the load between women, men and everyone in between and outside those two groups…the fatigue might feel a little less all-consuming.
So instead of constantly patting ourselves on the back for the things we’ve done to help the situation, it’s the right time to ask what else is possible.