Sometimes, I wish that I could escape the status of “woman.”
I don’t necessarily wish that I could be a man, or any other gender. That isn’t what I’m trying to say. I’m satisfied with the gender that I was born into, at least enough that I have no problem being referred to as a woman.
What I mean is, I wish that I could do anything publicly without having multiple men try and hit on me while I do it, or reduce me to my physical appearance. I wish that, every once in a while, I could just be intelligent, rather than “hot” or “ugly.”
I wish that when these men hit on me, they would take me seriously when I say “no.”
I wish that I could make a statement about something without being told that I was a b*tch or deserving of some sort of violence. I wish that I could believe in my own rights without being accused of hating men.
I wish that when I explained things that I’ve studied and researched, people would just take it for granted that I was right. I wish that when I explained things, men wouldn’t explain them back to me as though I didn’t know what I was talking about.
I wish that I was the one with a “bright future” ahead of me, rather than men like Brock Turner. Instead, when people look into my future, all they seem to see is babies. They tell men that they have a glorious career ahead of them, and they tell me that I’ll someday have to put aside my passions in order to raise a family that I’ve said, time and time again, I don’t want.
I wish that, if I were raped by a man, they would listen to my voice, rather than take his side without question. I wish that they wouldn’t automatically assume the worst of me, and the best of him.
I wish that I took myself seriously. I wish that I could say things with confidence, with the knowledge that I am allowed to have an opinion, and that there are, in fact, many things that I know how to do better than the average person. I wish that I knew how to express the entitlement that I’ve seen in many heterosexual, cis-gendered men. I wish that society hadn’t beaten that out of me.
I wish that there weren’t people out there who would reduce me to my genitals or my body.
These are the things that simply make being a woman exhausting.
And I think I speak for all women when I say that being a woman should not diminish who we are. Being a woman should not mean that we are taken any less seriously, or that our future is paved in stone by the biological urges we are expected to have.
Because, before we are women, we are people. We are as diverse as any group—intelligent and ignorant, courageous and cowardly, emotional and stoic, and nurturing only when we need or want to be. Our gender does not dictate who we are as people. Just as a man’s gender does not dictate who he is as a person.
And we, as a society, need to stop seeing gender, first and foremost, when we interact with others. There are too many other things that we can be.
Author: Ciara Hall
Image: Tanja Heffner/Unsplash
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Copy Editor: Travis May
Social Editor: Waylon Lewis