To be a woman

What is it like to be a woman?

It’s forgetting your pepper spray, so you walk down that dark road to your apartment armed only with a hydroflask and over the shoulder glances.

It’s putting your hair in a ponytail and walking at a brisk pace, praying you go unnoticed.

It’s making no eye contact, but still keeping your head on a swivel.

It’s making sure your door locked behind you, because who knows who’s been following you the past two blocks…

It’s committing a crime… by wearing yoga pants. 

And being sentenced to a day of whistles and catcalls.

It’s worrying if your outfit makes you look hot or whorish every time you go out. It’s being called too quiet all your life, but when you speak up you’re too loud and annoying.

And of course nobody likes a girl who isn’t meek, who speaks her mind, let alone one who calls society out on its bullshit.

Be quiet, but not silent.

Love yourself… but not too much.

Confidence is attractive! 

Until you say something you shouldn’t.

It’s drinking enough, but not too much.

But if you drink too much, it’s OK!

Just believe the guy’s side of the story because he’s always right.

It’s being asked in court to recount the story, and realizing that saying you don’t remember means you were in the wrong because you drank too much and you wore that black dress.

It’s “stick your ass out to get their attention!”

Or “wear that push-up bra so they notice you!”

But not too much because then you’re “asking for it,”

and if you’re “asking for it,” then you shouldn’t be surprised at what they do.

It’s being labeled a slut or a whore for anything and everything.

It’s being asked your opinion but then immediately talked over.

It’s men being intimidated by a smart woman, and degrading her so much she begins to doubt herself.

It’s telling little girls they can be anything they want, and then only giving them dolls and princesses to play with.

It’s growing up yearning after a prince to rescue us, and not realizing that misogyny has been woven into every fairytale we were ever told.

Being a woman is hoping your future daughter and granddaughter feel safer at night than you, but knowing they won’t.

And hoping when they walk down the street they’ll be able to wear whatever they want, without worrying about strangers yelling and whistling at them, but knowing it won’t change.

No matter how many marches are held, how many petitions are signed or how many groups are created. 

Perhaps that’s cynical but ... hell, that’s society.

That is what it’s like to be a woman.

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