Sunday, 21 October 2018

Drawing the short straw; born a woman

From the very moment I entered this world I had drawn the short straw. Despite growing up in a rapidly changing society where ideologies have flipped, the short straw is still in my hand and the hands of every other women on this planet because no matter how much men scream that we are now equal and “enough is enough”, we have vaginas and that alone will always mean that we will be a mile behind men.

My education as a child differed greatly from that of my brother, and that education has shaped a woman today, who frankly, is fearful.  I was told it wasn’t lady like to sit certain ways, to behave certain ways and god forbid a burp or a fart escape me. (Even writing those words doesn’t feel natural) I was taught that it is important to be a good girl, and trust me you learn quickly with a father who will slap you so hard if you don’t follow those rules. I was taught that you have to be careful not to walk alone at night, don’t wear your headphones at night, be careful of your drink when you are out; I was taught to be scared of men and the power they hold. Throughout my life I have been a witness and a victim of domestic violence, an attempt to put a woman back in her place, to show her who is boss and to reduce a woman to such a small size where she would rather not exist.

We can scream until we are blue in the face that there are still changes that need making but men compare a woman today to a woman 60 years ago and that progression in their eyes equates to equality. But a woman today is still payed less than a man, a man today is still more likely to get a job because employers know he won’t need a year off for maternity leave, a man won’t walk the streets tonight after dark looking over his shoulder from time to time just to be sure someone isn’t behind him and a man today can get away with sexually abusing another woman because he will install such a fear in her that she will stay mute for the rest of her days and even a court would give him a slap on the wrist if he is well known enough in society.

We, women, are the ones taught to avoid these situations, and society is still quick to ask what someone was wearing if they were raped. Why isn’t society teaching men the very core values of respecting a woman? A woman who would have carried them for nine months, who nursed and raised them to hopefully be a change in this world but then masculinity caught up and they fell into the place of thinking the world owes them because of their genitals, like 90% of the male population.

Men seem to think that being a male is a right of passage, last year in Italy I was sat on a train whilst a guy thought it would be ok to rub my leg, and then stroke my arm and no matter how far I tried to move away he carried on. Even getting up to leave the train wasn’t enough as he followed me, and waited for me on the platform and then followed me through the station. This wasn’t the first time I have been made to feel uncomfortable by a male and nor will it be the last, this is the everyday stuff for most women. My body is not a free for all but the short straw that has been placed on women since time began means that men believe that they have a right to a woman’s body. A bribe men use as a means to allow a woman to climb a career ladder, a bribe some teachers use to give students higher grades but the majority of the time men just think they have a right to a woman’s body because they have a need to satisfy and think they are owed that satisfaction by a woman.

From birth we drew the short straw, beginning a life where we would have to work harder to prove ourselves, where we would be taught to avoid dangerous situations, where in a work setting we would always be slightly behind a man, where despite now being a woman in a society where we can freely use our voice we will have to fight to be heard.

We drew the short straw all because we were born women.


  1. I am sorry that so many women are subjected to this treatment by others of my gender.