I’m one of those girls who’s always got on better with guys as a general rule, and I’ve had serious relationships with guys since I was 15. So there are a lot of men in this world that I care deeply about. But every now and then I feel so bloody alienated from them that I want to scream. Why? Because they will never, ever understand what it is to be a woman in a society dominated by and created for the benefit of men. They will never understand how it feels to grow up in a world where you are a commodity, where the opposite sex has access to – and feels entitled to access – your body and your sexuality for their own gratification.
I wish that just for one day we could turn the tables and straight men could feel what it’s like to know that their female friends and lovers could go out into any number of bars or clubs in their town and perve on beautiful men, pay them to bend over for them and rub them off; that at a click of a button they could access millions of images and videos of men which exist solely for their gratification; that they could turn on MTV and see almost-naked men gyrating around a fully-clothed woman who sees them as just another piece of meat to get her off; that they could pay to gain a man’s consent to sex and not give a shit about whether he really wants to have sex with them. How would they feel if they knew that every year hoards of women go on holiday to places like Vegas and Amsterdam where they will be offered men to use as they please at every bloody turn, and that that’s the very reason they go there?
I wish men could know what it feels like to grow up desperately trying to prove that you are just as sexy and desirable and fuckable as all those millions of women and girls that they can perve on all over the goddamn place. I wish they could know how much that fucks with your self esteem. And I wish they could feel what it’s like to know that the people you care about – however nice or sweet or caring or socially aware they may be – often help perpetuate this situation that makes you feel like shit. They don’t mean to make you feel like shit, but when the status quo is designed with them in mind, when it benefits them and they’ve never been encouraged to question it, when their privilege and sense of entitlement have been propagated since birth, it’s hugely unlikely that they’re going to do anything but take at least some kind of advantage of what’s handed to them on a plate. I don’t blame my straight male friends when they do, but I wish to hell they could understand that every time they benefit from this woman-as-sex-object culture it reminds me where my place should be in this society, and it certainly isn’t on an equal footing with them.
Disclaimer: I know there are a hell of a lot of other ways in which it would be nice to turn the tables for a day so men could see what life is like for us, but this is what’s particularly irritating me at the moment, so please forgive the rather specific focus of this post. Also, this is a very personal post, I’m not saying all women feel like I do – I recognise that this is very much based on my own hang-ups and insecurities – but I feel that these hang-ups and insecurities are to a large extent a product of growing up in this society, so I felt it was appropriate to let off a little steam here