The images of women that surround me in movies, TV shows, literature, and even those that I know, that breathe and sneeze beside me, predominate and astound me, reminding me that we still have a long way to go. The lengths they go to secure financial footing, fame, or false pride for themselves leaves me quaking with sadness for my sex, and yes, it even makes me angry. For every one woman who cracks the patriarchal ground that secures her limitations or expands the splintering pane of the infamous and veiled glass ceiling, ten vacuous females do something common and outlandish, reverting us back to the age old comforts of inferiority. The list of common acts of female inferiority are inexhaustible, but here are the top ones that I am sick and tired of seeing because they highlight how women will never gain equality or be seen with mutual respect by men; why women will continue to remain sexual objects since they have no trouble objectifying themselves for money, for fame, for security; and finally, why men still rule every public venue of society.
1. Marriage for Money: There was a time when women had to marry outside the confines of love. A time when their fathers and grandfathers chose husbands for them. A time in which marriage was a contractual agreement in which the men involved gained profit or status. This was a time long ago, when women could not vote, were forced to assume their husbands’ name because they were possessions, objects without voice or volition. A time when the laws of God and country did not consider them human beings — women were the means to an end, and the only things they contributed to their marriage included children and compliance. This time no longer exists save for some small countries outside the United States in which women are still considered voiceless second-class citizens. Women no longer need to marry for money, and yet they continue to troll the walks of life in search for a man with deep pockets.
Why not be more like men — ambitious, self-reliant, and independent? There is more pride in that. There is more respect. And this is why men continue to rule the world. They achieve while we rely on their achievements to provide us with security and an endless array of Gucci shoes — unapologetically.
2. Sex and Glory: Women who use their sex/sexuality to get ahead astound me. Women who use their sex/sexuality for attention and self-pride annoy me to no end. Women are endowed with the same kind of natural potential as men, and yet it is their sex that they use to gain recognition, equality, and respect. And it may seem as if the men who undress them, leave their wives for them, and give them raises or promotions recognize and value them, but they don’t. They only want to covet that which women trade so freely. There is no respect, no valuable gain in profiting from the trade of female flesh. No matter the title that garnishes women’s names, no matter the suits they wear, no matter the amount of money they deposit in their checking accounts, underneath all of that these kind of women are nothing more than sexual objects with price tags.
Why not be more like men, who use their brains, their intellect, their education to get ahead?
3. Tits and Assets: Men compete in suits, in the kind of cars they drive, in the golf and country clubs they join. Their ambition earns them their job; their job earns them money; their money earns them a lifestyle full of toys and possessions that highlight their success as men, as entrepreneurs, as driven and infallible Gods. Women, on the other hand, compete with their sexuality — more specifically, with their breasts. Whereas the size of a man’s wallet determines his appeal, the size of a woman’s breasts accentuates her appeal — and still it is her sexuality that she uses to empower herself — God forbid she earns a degree or two with which to highlight her intellectual prowess. Yet again, women get implants or wear padded bras and low cut shirts so that the curve of their breasts show the world and masculine eyes that women have power — but they don’t. Sure, they have the power to draw the lustful glances of their sexual counterparts — but for what means? How does a man’s recognition and appreciation of a woman’s breasts make her feel superior, powerful, sure-footed in life? Why does she need to feel sexy in order to feel powerful — dominant? All he wants is sex. He wants nothing more because he sees nothing more.
Cover yourself and show him your real power — show him your potential, your intellect, your unnerving, un-cowering and unparalleled supremacy as it lies dormant beneath your sexuality, beyond the size of your breasts or the curves of your femininity, struggling with the want of male-centered recognition. Show him you are better than tits and ass, better than sex, and more than an object of his desire.
When you are confident as an individual, when you have achieved because of your drive and ambition, when you know who you are, then you don’t need to use your exterior to gain access to what men take for themselves without using these vices. I want to see more women saying no to botox and boob jobs. I want to smile sheepishly as I witness young women in their twenties quit their jobs because they are being sexually harassed at work. I want to see actresses be more resistant to wearing seductive clothing and doing naked scenes because they will gain more notoriety, more fame, more money. I want a unity of female empowerment, a movement of strong femininity — I want women to stand up as a whole class of people and say “Screw you” to anyone who attempts to define us and our potential as dependent upon our external appearance.
If we keep adhering to the silent laws of society that tell us from the age of three and four that we are only meant to nurture not govern, cook not fight, smile instead of argue, and dress ourselves up like dolls and pretty mistresses, then we will never get ahead — we will never change the way men and the rest of society look at us. We will only be fulfilling the prophesy of social norms that pidgeonhole every woman in the same pretty little box — garnished with a heart-shaped pink bow. I want more than this for me, for women, and for my daughter.
Copyright© 2010 by Marina DelVecchio. All Rights Reserved.