A millennial website recently published an essay arguing the absence of “good girls.” The author defines said girls as those who do not indulge in frivolous, promiscuous escapades, the same escapades exceedingly embraced by our male counterparts. The article divides women into two groups: the kind who entertain random sex, and the kind worth dating. Of course these double standards are aged and tired, so I roll my eyes at the author and continue about my day. I imagine him contributing this article to his deteriorating sex life once women recognize his machismo, sexist outlook as something unattractive.
But here I am, scrolling my Facebook timeline, finding that this article is being shared by masses of, to my surprise, to my horror, women. Women persecuting women, captioning the link, “Where my real ladies at?” and “Sad truth about women today.” The comments thereafter support this ideal that a woman worth something would never open her legs at whim of a handsome suitor.
We know the misogyny of select men, but what now, with women acting as misogynists, too? No matter the intent of the feminist agenda, the idea will never succeed so long as women hate women.
Those who have chosen to maintain the home and raise a family feel cheapened by women in careers receiving acclaim; women in careers, with either no ambition or a postponed ambition to raise a family, are cast off as selfish. We invent the term “skinny fat,” call bullshit on the idea that Real Women Have Curves, while those women in a size 10 want something other than a size 2 on the cover of their magazines. And then, because scrutinizing a woman’s adult decisions and pant size could never be enough, we rally against women with spirited sex lives. We are inventing barriers. All of us face temptation from a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, or from those cute shoes in the window, or from that nice man in the suit buying you martinis. It is our prerogative to satiate those desires however we choose.
Society at large has taken to defining a fellow human by a number, and not just any number – not age, something that could qualify maturity to an extent – but instead something more trivial: their number of sexual partners. Historically men have negated a woman’s worth based on said number, but to see women do the same frightens me. According to someone somewhere, on some moral ground, the number of partners one has defines you as a person more than other facets of a personality – I cannot, will not justify that. If we accept this idea then I can only deduce that I am being defined by a man. No longer am I Lyndsay, an impassioned human with enough ego to voice opinions on very public outlets, but rather, I am that chick who dry-humped a stranger after six vodka sodas last week. I argue I am worth more than that definition, but would society defend that? Does society know my triumphs, my intellect, my humor? Nope, I’m just the girl with the side-boob photo on Instagram.
We gain self-respect by being unabashed in our choices. I am never the chick dry-humping strangers because I don’t want to be – but if I did, then my worth would never waver, because I behave unapologetically myself. It is only in shame that we question the validity of our worth. As humans of a liberated society, we can openly articulate our desires and exercise our sexuality. We have accepted sex happens often before marriage; we watch free pornography on the Internet. Still, we glorify Hugh Hefner then crucify his centerfold. While there are absolutely extenuating circumstances (in the instance of rape, for example), as a society, we need to reject this stigma of sex. We must stop equating sex with shame.
Women, I love you, all of you. I am a very specific type of woman: the woman who puts career before sanity, who is devoted singularly to providing for herself. Never will I ever desire a man to provide for me. But the women who are raising kids, birthing a new generation, teaching them morality and honesty: keep going. For those who balance both children and career: like, my goodness, how?! You all have a strength and bravery I may never know. Women, I love your curves, wherever they lay on your body, and however round or however straight they may be. Women dancing on bars, I admire your confidence in your heels and mini-skirt, and virgins, your allegiance to your beliefs. I love how I can identify with each of you, in spite of differences and our million contradictions, because as a woman we are strong, emotionally abundant, thoughtful, intelligent. We are always equal to men – never better, never worse – but we are also never defined by a man, whether he be our husband or that one-night-stand who is grossly more attractive thanks to dimmed lighting and tequila shots.