Triggered (?) by this book: A woman is no man, that connected so damn deeply with my own experiences growing up (though not as harsh by any stretch of the imagination), it made me realize that all cultures have this in some way.
A girl is a burden, but a boy is freedom.
“GIRLS ARE JUST BURDENSOME MOUTHS TO FEED”
From the start, most girls in patriarchal societies are seen as burdens because they are mouths to feed, and children a parent would have to save for from the start for a dowry to be able to entice another family to take her on to feed her instead.
All of this, was at one point in time, extremely relevant and true in the sense that boys worked outside the family home and in the PUBLIC sphere, brought home money to the family and provided for all.
Girls, worked as well, but as it was in the PRIVATE sphere and therefore not valued in the slightest, they were also devalued and relegated to no more than being baby-makers, child-rearers, nannies, home cooks and maids. I’m being blunt here.
These days? None of this is relevant. Whether you are a boy or a girl, you can bring home lots of money to your family and work outside of the home. I am literal proof of this. I am able to (even without siblings), pay for myself, my family AND my extended family without asking for any money or help. My gender has nothing to do with how much money I can make. Sure, it impeded me many times in my life from earning what I thought I deserved because of recruiters who saw my gender first and not my abilities, but it certainly didn’t dampen my spirits or my money making in the end.
So to keep harping that “girls are burdensome mouths to feed”, is just downright insulting and eliminating a WHOLE HALF of the workforce that could do things like work in your family business, and to help in a real and meaningful way. Instead, we are still focusing on girls being the ones in the domestic, private sphere of work (undervalued, under appreciated…) and boys are the ones with all of the pressure to make money outside of the home and pay for everyone.
Why not share the load? A little equality helps both genders. Men don’t have to feel as much of a burden of providing if women are able to also provide, and women don’t have to do it all at home if men also step up.
GIRLS ARE SEXUALIZED EARLY ON
I am reading articles (constant articles) on men in an uproar over young girls wearing short skirts because it could “cause us to be uncomfortable”. Why are you sexualizing girls in school? Why do you even have these thoughts, and no boundaries of: “Wow, she’s 10, or 16, she’s a CHILD.”, and leave it at that?
Even as young as FIVE, girls are being sexualized. for wearing shorts, or a bathing suit, or going without a top and playing in park, being told that their bodies are shameful, to be covered up, and that they could incite men and boys to attack them ….. and it would be their fault, really, as they were the ones deciding to show skin. /heavy sarcasm.
I could go on, I really could, but you just need to type in: Hyper Sexualization of Girls, to read thousands of articles on how sick this culture has become to allow this to happen.
GIRLS ARE PENALIZED HARSHLY
For anything a boy does, a girl is punished and much harder for it. Rape? The victim is blamed – ‘why did she wear such revealing clothing?’ ..’why was she walking ALONE’ (oh heaven forbid we walk ALONE BY OURSELVES without a chaperone)… or ‘why did she drink if she didn’t want to get raped?’ or… ‘why didn’t you put up a fight?’– these are some of the REAL THINGS judges have said amongst other things when presiding over rape cases. I don’t want to get into it, but suffice it to say, the victim (usually the girl) is blamed for doing SOMETHING, ANYTHING wrong.
Where is the onus on the boy for having even done this heinous act in the first place? Where is the backlash against HIM for doing what he did? Is this part of the “boys will be boys” toxic masculinity that excuses men from … basically any violent act or responsibility because they’re “base creatures who can’t control their urges”? Somehow other men are able to do it, why can’t all men be held to the same standards to treat everyone as an equal, respectable human?
Girls who go out on their own or at any time they want are penalized. We are not safe at all times of the day. Women have NO RIGHTS to personal safety, is what I learned in society, growing up. I remember being told I couldn’t go out when it was dark. I remember being told to walk in pairs with other girls, preferably a guy through the parks.
Girls who dare say anything, are harshly judged and retaliated against. Just think of the ALL THE TIMES WE HEAR OF when a woman isn’t interested in a man’s advances, he then he goes and rapes/kills/assaults her anyway because she deigned to tell him no? This is not a new phenomenon. It has been happening ALL OVER THE WORLD at EVERY POINT IN TIME, and girls are the ones punished with curfews, with admonishments to stop being a “slut” (goodness how that word irks me), when boys are the ones committing these crimes and SHOULD be the ones with a curfew, and are allowed to have a healthy sexual appetite whereas girls are not.
It’s just ludicrous how much we punish girls and women in society for being as they are. I bring up one last point of women who kill men (even ones who attempted to rape them), being sent to jail for long periods of time because NO ONE can imagine how a WOMAN could kill someone, even if they were hurting her. Nope. It just goes against our outdated stereotype of what a woman is (soft, passive, a second class citizen, slave to others’ needs), and for her to be aggressive and take action, means she’s a monster.
Essentially, where we are at in society is the mindset that we have to “protect” girls by curbing their autonomy, sense of self and authority/power, because we can’t seem to rein in the boys who are allowed to continually do anything they want with little to no impunity.
Instead of seeing it the other way, that our boys have to be reined in, taught, admonished and put into a stricter structure, it’s our girls who have live as though they are caged, instead.
I could go on. I really could. But even this post has made me tired of all the reasons I could cite as to how much we clip the wings of our girls and women.
I leave you with these two books that don’t try to fix the tip of the iceberg of the societal problems mentioned above, but give you a chance to see it from a woman’s perspective AND allows you to learn what you can do in terms of changes to make things equitable: