When did all of the unwritten rules about women’s behavior begin? Honestly, I don’t know but I wonder if that’s the correct question to ask. Should we instead be asking when will these rules of conduct die?
**This piece will be slightly different. Normally I use source material to support my argument but this time I’m just gonna wing it and go off of my opinion. Because let’s be real, I’m talking about women; who’s more of an expert than a Woman. **
I don’t remember being raised with a particular set of rules that pertained to my upcoming womanhood but somewhere along the lines, I like most other women worked hard to conform to society’s expectations of my femininity.
Being raised by a single father who made sure to expose me to all walks of life and did his best to impose no gender boundaries left me free to be myself in a way that many of my friends and co-workers did not have. I got to be loud and opinionated, I was able to play with boys and girls never knowing that there was supposed to be a boundary between the sexes.
But as society does so well, the older I got the more the weight of womanly expectations weighed upon me. Some of these rules were for my “safety” others were to help others see me as a “proper young lady” but most were merely to protect weak-minded men from their uncontrollable lust.
Without realizing it I became ruled by a daily allotment of dos and don’ts that were constructed to keep me safe and sane and subversively pleasing to male ideal of what a woman should be.
There are so many but I would love to talk about a few that are so stupid, so asinine and some that are so ridiculous we as Women don’t even like to discuss.
Or do we? Because even though this is a basic bodily function that we really don’t have control over, we still like to act like women don’t. And even if we admit that we do we brush past it and make jokes because we’re uncomfortable.
Why are we so uncomfortable? Part of me believes it's because women are supposed to be like the old nursery rhyme – “sugar and spice and everything nice”. We must be pleasing to the senses and there is nothing the assaults the senses quite like the smell of a bathroom that just got torn up by someone’s protein-heavy lunch.
It’s not just men that recoil a the thought of a woman leaving a bathroom smelling less like roses, we woman act as though we are the only person who doesn’t leave a bathroom stinky. Let’s be real ladies, some of the nastiest bathrooms I’ve ever smelled are the ladies.
But we can’t admit it when even our cultural “go-to” won’t acknowledge the fact that women poop. TV loves to show scenes where a man is exiting the stall, we all know what he did and we don’t think twice about it. It’s natural for goodness sake so why should it be such a big deal.
Now of course when they show a woman in the bathroom she too can be seen exiting the stall, which for women can be both peeing and or pooping but it is strongly implied that all we did was “tinkle”.
You can hear guys discuss “taking a dump” “blowing the bathroom up” “taking the kids to the pool” and other colorful euphemisms. Now ladies before you start peppering me with how you don’t talk like that because it’s gross and it’s crass, think about how it actually affects your bathroom experience.
Men can walk into a bathroom open a stall, defecate, HOPEFULLY, wash his hands and go on about his day without thinking about how others will be disgusted. The other men that are in the bathroom aren’t thinking any deeper about Troy’s trip to the Bano either. Dale isn’t walking into the bathroom needing to unload and then realizing that there are other people in there so he starts thinking about how long can he hold it until the bathroom is empty or if the other bathroom on the 3rd floor is available.
We as women when we have to poop will turn around and exit if we see other women in it. If we get lucky the bathroom is empty and we can settle in for a proper shit. All the while we are worrying that if someone comes in we’re gonna have to somehow hold it. Never mind the fact that we truly hope no one recognizes our shoes! THEN THEY’LL KNOW THAT WE POOP!!!!
Women Have Vaginal Discharge………
If I hear one person say ewwwwww I’m gonna ask them to go see a gynecologist, STAT!
If a woman’s body is healthy and functioning properly she will experience vaginal discharge throughout the day. Some women wear panty liners to keep their underwear free from it but most women are disgusted by it.
So disgusted in fact that we douche to get rid of it, we listen to men when they tell us it’s gross. For Pete’s sake, some of us are buying these crap kits to stick up our vagina’s to “clean them out”!!!!!
Ladies! There’s nothing wrong, that unless you have an STD or a yeast infection you need to FIX.
All of this crap stems from the fact that men say we smell fishy, that we stink, that they have specific ideas of what we are supposed to smell like down there. And that’s pure BS. Unless you have a vagina or you are vagina doctor, you don’t get to have an opinion of what my perfectly PH balanced Hoo Haw is supposed to smell like.
But we listen anyway, and we listen because we have been taught that the ultimate authority of our body is a Man. Not the woman who lives in it, but rather the potential man that might want to be in its proximity. Who is this man? When did he get the right to tell me to use soap on my delicate areas simply because he thinks he knows what a vagina is supposed to smell like? The last time he has any say over a vagina was ummmmm NEVER!
That leads me to the next point –
STOP TELLING ME TO SHAVE MY EVERYTHING!.........
If we women are willing to put up with your hairy selves what makes you think that you don’t have to accept as nature made me?
I shave my legs when and if I want to. I shave my armpits when and if I want to AND I shave my vagina when and if I want to.
None of these things are for you to decide (Men). Shaving your legs is not always practical and honestly, I don’t always have time, but I like most women forget and then when an occasion arises where the world says I must be hair free – i.e... Grocery shopping, running errands, unexpected visitors who were NOT invited; I feel the need to apologize for not meeting someone else expectations of my body hair.
That’s pure Boohockey!
People – I’m not sure you know this but not all women can shave their underarms every day. Some women are so sensitive that they get ingrown hairs, rashes and break out. Which of course would then send the world into a tizzy if they saw a woman with any of these things in her “smooth hair-free place”. But here’s the thing even if there are no medical reasons for it, a woman doesn’t need to! If you men can walk around with a forest under your arms why can’t she? You don’t seem to care when you stand next to another dude with dreads hanging out of his armpits and an interesting smell wafting off his pits. So why do you give a crap if we’re the same? Why cuz we’re Women and it’s just not done? It’s unseemly?
You Never Cared About These Things – You Just Need A Way To Control Us……..
Men never cared about those things really, what they really cared about was creating an ideal that we must fit into, one that is so restrictive that it’s nearly impossible for us to maintain. Therefore while we’re bending over backward to walk the straight and narrow, we never notice that we are putting our bodies in servitude to someone else’s ideal of what a “proper lady” should be.
Don’t get me wrong, if you want to shave, not burp in public, not fart in front of your prospective significant other that’s okay too. But that’s the whole thing, there are so many things in this world that we should be worried about; making sure we as women don’t step our toe over the imaginary “womanhood” line isn’t one of them.
I will never dye my underarm hair, I will also work really hard to remind myself that if that’s what another woman wants to do and she’s not hurting me or someone else I need to support not tear down.
If you take nothing else from this, please walk away with this.
As women, we have spent hundreds of years asking someone else what it means to be a woman and then turning ourselves inside out trying to keep up with every changing ideal. What we should have been doing is asking ourselves what it means to be you……….