For most of the female existence, the value of a woman has always been defined by her relationship to man. In Genesis, “Lord God made a woman from the rib”. For eating the apple after being tricked by the serpent, her curse is “[her] desire will be for [her] husband, and he will rule over [her].”
In the 15th-century, friar Cherubino da Siena preached the three stages of a life for women, ““virginale, viduale e matrimonalie”.
In the 21st century, my mother said, “You need a husband. Put some makeup on, shave your armpits, and stop sleeping around. If you let them have the milk for free, why would they buy the cow.”
I responded to my mom, “Well, Mom it’s different now. We’re both cows!” I’m starting to think that nothing has actually changed. Working in publishing, I wrote email campaigns and tweets for Academic journals where every member of the board and almost ever paper was written by a man. Every boyfriend I had decided when our relationship was over. Every man I slept with decided that he wanted to sleep with me first, and didn’t listen to me or my body when I didn’t want to. I really believed that I was free, that I was doing what I wanted, but now I’m not so sure.
I’m very grateful to be a woman in the 21st century. Thanks to feminism, I can study at university, I can get a job, I can have sex without fear of having to have a baby. Thanks to feminism, I’m able to have this beautiful moment between virgin and wife. Thanks to feminism, I can treat men like cows.
But I don’t want to treat men like cows. I want to treat them like lovers, like intellectual equals, like friends.
I tried to work, live, and fuck like a man, and look what happened. Instead of trying to act like a man, or even a woman, I’m going to try to act like me. Whatever that means.
I’m going to stop nodding and smiling. I’m going to speak. I’m going to be my own ruler. I’m going to value my own thoughts.
Read the next post in the series, Crazy for Loving You
Check out the rest of the blog posts from how to value your own thoughts.