There was a post that was shared by several contacts on Facebook about how women should be modest in the way they dress because, and I quote, “Real men love their gift wrapped.” This made me so angry, I’m still seething three days after reading it.
While this started as a rant to counter what was in that post (which you can read here if you are so inclined), I thought I’d expand it a little to general things I wish I knew when I was younger.
1. Your body is your body.
Treat it well not because it is an object to be preserved for your future partner but because it is yours. The only person who can tell you what to do with it is your doctor regarding your health.
2. Makeup is fun.
Don’t ever let anyone shame you into not wearing makeup if it’s something you love. Contrary to popular belief, girls don’t wear makeup for boys, they wear it for themselves.
3. Dress for yourself.
While I do believe in dressing appropriately for certain occasions, — say, formal for a gala show at the theatre, business casual for a job interview, etc. — don’t be afraid to wear what you want. Women have been hyper-sexualised by society and the media while simultaneously being shamed for their sexuality for ages. You’re going to drive yourself crazy trying to please everyone. And on that note…
4. …Don’t be afraid of your sexuality.
We’ve all been kind of brainwashed from childhood that female sexuality in particular is a dirty, dirty thing. It’s not, embrace it. Own it.
Masturbate, have sex, don’t masturbate, don’t have sex. It’s your choice. There’s nothing wrong with exploring your sexuality as long as you’re smart about it. There’s a saying in the BDSM community that applies to any relationship, sexual or otherwise: Safe, sane, consensual. Be safe, use protection. Be sure you’re in the right state of mind and emotionally ready once you do start having sex. And always, always, make sure you and your partner consent.
5. Rape comes in many forms.
This tumblr post may save lives:
If you are uncomfortable with anything your partner wants to do with you, please know that you always have the right to say no. Again, the keyword is consent.
6. No to victim/slut-shaming.
If someone is catcalled, harassed, molested, raped, the blame is entirely on the attacker. What a person was were wearing or how drunk they were, does not give anyone else consent to have their way with them.
7. “Real women are…” NO. JUST NO.
If you identify as a woman, you are a woman. Whether you’re cis, trans, demi, genderfluid, etc. Don’t let anyone define what being a “real” woman is for you.
8. Never dumb yourself down.
Or lower your standards for anybody.
9. Feminist is not a dirty word.
In a nutshell, feminism is equal rights regardless particularly of your sex and/or gender. It’s celebrating everything that makes you a woman, it’s getting rid of toxic masculinity, it’s tearing down stereotypical gender roles so you’re free to do pursue whatever you want. Most people confuse misandry with feminism, educate yourself so you can educate others.
10. Other women are not your competition.
Competing with other women specifically, whether it’s in the workplace or within a friend group really needs to stop. We have enough trouble fighting the system, working extra hard to prove ourselves equally if not more competent.
I could go on, really, because I have a lot of feelings. But the gist of what I want to say is, you do you and don’t let outdated gender norms dictate how you want to live your life.