I’m thinking the Internet needs some pro-girl writing right about now. Because the comments on every article even remotely related to gender is scaring the shit out of me. As women, I think it’s our responsibility to stick together and prove that we’re not the entitled brats incapable of critical thought that certain people accuse us of being, but the capable, curious, and independent-minded citizens whom generations of women fought for our right to be. There’s some great women who are doing each of these things already. Let’s use them as role models, to show all the things we’ve accomplished and are standing up for.
1. Don’t Let Guys Treat You Like A Piece of Ass
In this case I mean literally. I was at a bar and this guy grabbed my ass. Because I’ve been of childbearing age for quite some time, I’ve gotten used to the assumption that it’s not a big deal for men to show how me how much my youth, fertility, etc. turns them on. They just can’t help it. Like a lion can’t help eating a zebra.
But wait, we aren’t just animals. We’re human beings, and we have the ability to reason. So why is it just generally accepted that some guys can’t control themselves?
He grabbed another girl’s ass and she started screaming at him. The guy gave her a condescending grin because she was a woman and her scene wasn’t threatening. That made her angrier. The owner came over and told her to leave. She told him what happened. He told them both to leave just to make her shut up.
Her reaction wasn’t effective because nobody was willing to stand up for her. And that’s sad. She’s the nut for not wanting to get molested as more or less a punishment for leaving her house? If every woman reacts to being grabbed against our will like it’s the big fucking deal that it is, maybe society will start to follow our lead.
2. Stand Up For Something
Anything. Men have been dying for what they believe in for millennia, why can’t you? At least one woman died for your right to full citizenship. Emily Davison, a British suffragette, threw herself in front of a horse and carriage during a derby to call attention to her cause. She was willing to die so that other women could fully live.
Jeanne d’Arc believed with all her heart that God had chosen her to free France from England, and she joined the army. Depending on which account you read, she led the army. Some say she was a tactician, some say she was a standard bearer. But we all know that she died for her convictions, at the incredibly tender age of 19.
ISIS kidnapped a young woman who dared to do humanitarian work in Syria. A Pakistani teen girl was shot by the Taliban for endorsing education for girls. These are extreme examples, but they get the point across. Be one-track-minded. Push yourself as far as you can go. That’s the way to accomplish things, and that’s the way to get respect.
3. Don’t Assume Other People Know What’s Best For Your Body
Women do some weird shit to ourselves. We always have. Chinese foot binding, for example. Women would bind their feet as little girls to keep them from growing, so that when they grew up the bones were misshapen and the sufferers could barely walk. This was considered a sign of high status, because a woman of means didn’t have to walk. Her husband would have his servants do whatever required walking for her.
Thank God we don’t have to worry about that now. But we still do things to ourselves that are in many cases proven to not be a good idea. Like birth control. Back in the 1960s, it was liberating. We’d just started entering the workforce en masse. But now it’s been linked to strokes, blood clots, depression, and other problems. IUDs are also gaining popularity. Do you think it’s a good idea to have somebody shove a stick into your uterus? What if it perforates and you get gangrene? I’m not saying this will happen, just that it could, and that your doctor isn’t necessarily warning you about it. Have you seen all those ads asking if you used Yaz or Mirena and have serious problems now?
Diaphragms work. The pullout method works better than you think it does. Use whatever birth control method you’re comfortable with, but educate yourself. I think a lot of us are too used to being told what to do, and it’s really time to think about what’s being asked of us.
4. Embrace Science
Did you know a woman discovered the HIV virus? Françoise Barré-Sinoussi from France’s Pasteur Institute led the team that isolated the specific virus in a lymph node sample sent by an AIDS sufferer. Researchers knew the culprit was a retrovirus: a virus that attaches to your cells, produces DNA, and becomes part of your cell’s DNA. They thought it was an HTLV virus, like the kind that causes leukemia and other diseases. But it was a different type of retrovirus altogether.
Germaine Cellier was a famous perfumer in the 40s and 50s. She made Fracas, Bandit, Jolie Madame, and other fragrances that are among the most innovative olfactory art of all time. Lots of men didn’t think she could do it, because perfumery is chemistry. But Robert Piguet and Pierre Balmain, high-profile (male!) fashion designers, still hired her to make their fragrances. Political correctness didn’t exist at the time. They hired her because she was great.
Frankenstein was arguably the first science fiction novel, and it was written by Mary Shelley. She basically predicted organ transplants. I can’t think of a novel before it that took a feasible technological advance and speculated the most extreme outcome. She and her friends, including Lord Byron and her future husband Percy Shelley, had a contest to see who could write the best horror story. She beat them out. Frankenstein was published when Mary Shelley was 20. Beat that!
Scientific American is a pretty kick-ass magazine for kick-ass feminists to read. The editor-in-chief is a woman. She writes about how the world works, the world that you live in. Your body is one of the most intricate machines that ever existed. Your small intestine is filled with millions of microscopic projections called villi that absorb nutrients into your bloodstream. Your heart can be counted upon to beat the same way every single time, pumping out blood more reliably than any conveyor belt pumps out Cheez-Its. And those are just a few of the thousands of interconnected cogs in your body that enable you to live, to breathe, to read this article. Don’t you owe it to yourself to read about them?