In honor of International Women’s Day, I want to blog about all the fucked up things women have to deal with that men don’t. This extends beyond childbirth and periods. I know I don’t have a vagina, but I’m gay so that means I get 30% of what it feels like to be a girl and 100% get what it feels like to be a second-class citizen. So put on your feminists hats (mine is from Balenciaga) and let’s get outraged.
1. Getting catcalled
This one summer I lived off of Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood in the thick of Boys Town—the city’s gayest section—and whenever I would walk down the main drag to go to the grocery store or whatever, I would get stared down by all of these gay men in the rudest most obvious of ways. It got to the point where I was just so uncomfortable that I took side streets to get anywhere. I remember just thinking to myself, “This is what women deal with every single day. Except they actually get called more obscene and degrading things. Fuck me.” It’s like you need to wear a full body condom when you go outside because by the time you’ve reached your destination, you feel like you’ve been raped by all of these disgusting men. Walking down the street without fear of being violated is a luxury most men take for granted.
2. Being told you’re fat and ugly by the media
Certainly magazines like Details and GQ perpetuate this male body ideal by offering workout tips and putting half-naked muscle men on the cover. However, it’s nowhere near the body-shaming women have to deal with. Magazines like Cosmo and Vogue tear women down so they’ll need their advice to bring them back up. Tabloids run a story about a reality starlet confessing to an eating disorder while posing in a bikini. (No, seriously. This happened when Stephanie Pratt appeared on the cover of Us Weekly in the summer of 2009.) With women, there is a right way to look, a right way to love your boyfriend, a right way to do everything. Men, meanwhile, are much more flexible in their masculinity. They can gain a little weight and it makes them endearing. I can only imagine what it would feel like to see damaging headlines about your gender everyday.
3. Having to deal with the Judd Apatow rules for relationships
In films and TV, we are constantly inundated with these images of a chubby average-looking guy dating a supermodel. This is apparent especially in Judd Apatow films and the latest comedy, The Dilemma in which Kevin James and Vince Vaughn are married to knockouts Winona Ryder and Jennifer Connelly. The inequity in looks isn’t what bothers me. Attractive people shouldn’t date exclusively attractive people. What does annoy me though is that the roles have never been reversed. What if an actress like Camryn Manheim was paired up with Brad Pitt in a romantic comedy? People would flip their shit. It would be like Shallow Hal version 2.0. These TV shows and movies are just reflections of the male fantasy—the idea that the gross guy is able to bag the hottest girl in the room—and it’s unfortunately become a part of our cultural narrative.
4. Being pitted against your own gender
Men have a healthy sense of competition with one another, but they’re mostly seen as having camaraderie and brotherhood. Fraternities, for example, are viewed as one giant happy family while sororities are perceived as catty and full of backstabbing. It’s like women are taught at an early age to go against each other. If their boyfriend cheats on them, they’ll misdirect the anger towards the girl and slut-shame her. That’s why Mean Girls was so important. Besides being hilarious, it exposed the bleak reality of girl-on-girl hate that’s totally encouraged by misogynistic men. If women are constantly at each other’s throats, it obviously will prevent them from advancing as a gender. You know what’s the grossest though? When self-help garbage like He’s Just Not That Into You and Women Who Love Too Much claim to be progressive and helpful to women, but are actually just as harmful as a book written by Tucker Max.
5. Becoming invisible with age
It’s simple. When a woman gets older, she’s forced to inject poison in her skin, dye her hair, and do whatever she needs to do to fight the clock. Men, however, can glide gracefully into old age. They get better with each birthday like a bottle of fine wine. Each silver hair speck in their hair makes them seem sexier and mature. We have the term “silver fox” to reflect this attitude. Can you imagine if it also applied to women? As if. Grey hair is most women’s worst nightmare. Both my mother and grandmother have been dyeing their hair for years. But men like George Clooney and Anderson Cooper can embrace their hair color and have it actually enhance their sexiness. Clooney can be cast as a romantic lead when he’s 65 and have it be completely believable whereas a woman’s attractiveness has an expiration date. To put it bluntly, people still want to fuck a 60-year-old man, but not a 60-year-old woman.
So, yeah. Being a girl is hard. It’s so hard that they need their own day to acknowledge all the shit they’re put through daily. It would be nice if we didn’t even need a day to represent women as “the other suffering gender.” It would be nice to have them treated fairly and equally every day. Yup. Would be nice.