Women deserve to liberate their full selves from society’s expectations. They don’t need someone who reminds them what proper clothing should be, or the proper way to look great for anybody.
For over the past centuries, there are few names who stand before us like Mary Wollstonecraft, Susan B. Anthony, and Alice Stone Blackwell. They are the most outspoken individuals of feminism who stand firm to what they believed is right for every woman.
It was in the late 1920s when women gained their own power to vote. Those were the heydays when, finally, a woman’s voice can already be heard in the field of politics. But throughout the century, when some societal lies and normative sets of beliefs still exist, it still makes women and men apart from each other. What else can a woman do towards taking her own space up?
The hot-button question is: How far a single woman can go beyond these societal norms, and an invisible barrier called the glass ceiling?
From a point of view of a male writer, the following are things I’d like everyone to know and understand.
Women’s value shouldn’t be compared
Gender sensitization taught us that if a man has the confidence to speak up his mind, people call him the alpha male or a strong-headed leader. Yet, if a woman speaks up her own mind, people call her bossy.
See the difference?
We don’t want to compare women’s values against men but, subconsciously, we do. It’s important for each of us to have our space, not just when it comes to leadership, but in life in general. We should not forget that women have the power too.
Whatever women say and the actions they undertake, we should not forget the way how we compare their values, based on the things our naked eyes could only see, aren’t enough to sum up the totality of a woman.
Women has the right to own their sexual pleasure
If a man had sex, it’s never been an issue. Moreover, it’s an approval of his manhood. Yet if a woman loses her virginity before marriage, it’s suddenly an issue creating a bunch of other more issues that can put their worth at stake.
There are many arguments and societal beliefs when it comes to women’s sex life and virginity. I remember one instructor back in high school who said how each woman should protect their virginity for the only man they will love for the rest of their lives, how their virginity is the best thing they can give to a man.
I grew up trying to base a woman’s value based on that saying as society once made me believe that if a woman loses her virginity before marriage, it makes her damaged, occurring a certain judgment.
Now, I’d like to go back to that high school scenario, when we’re being taught about women’s virginity.
Touché! It’s a really strong argument, but a woman’s virginity is not a giveaway for her husband after marriage.
They own it.
Speaking of marriage, I have an analogy: When a woman walks down the aisle, stepping forward, going to the man she chose to love for the rest of her life, there’s another man walking beside him: her father. Now, stop here for a second, and try to reflect on that. A man trying to give a woman’s hand to another man. What a metaphor of reality!
Now, think again. Women, even on their wedding days, are being objectified. If we try to apply this analogy in real-life situations; if our sets of beliefs make us think that in every decision or action, a woman should take for her life, there should always be a man guiding him, there should always be man’s approval.
In layman’s terms: the analogy portrays a hypothetical situation wherein a woman’s independence should always be dependent on a man.
That’s why I said to myself if I was born as a woman, and will be married someday, I will never follow that tradition. I want to walk down the aisle alone, without another man guiding me forward. That is how I’ll celebrate my independence as a woman, if ever.
I will be this type of woman who dares to break traditional barriers just because other people thought it’s right.
“Being right is not always enough.”
Let every single woman own their sexual pleasure, without telling them how to do it. It’s their own decision to make.
Free from societal lies
Women or not, there are two types of lies you need to be aware of.
- The Intimate lies
This is a type of societal lie wherein one lie is covering another lie. What’s inside that lie is the intimate lie.
“If you do it, just imagine what other people will say to you.”
If you’re a woman and you heard this one before, you feel like it’s just a piece of friendly advice. Think again. That’s an example of an intimate lie. That statement is a cover-up of ones’ intimate lies like personal insecurity, jealousy, or fear.
- The Familial Lie
This type of societal lie comes from a person or individuals who are very close to you.
To understand further, I have a scenario: You already want to resign from your day job to pursue a career that you’ve been dreaming of, ever since. Then, you asked for advice from your parents or friends. Let’s just imagine that you opened this problem to your Mom. Now, the familial lie she might probably say is “How can you pay your mortgage and bills if you resign? What if the career you want to pursue will never really makes you successful?”
This is the type of lie that makes you question your own capability, your worth, and your own choices as a woman.
The most terrifying part of these lies is that the fear of other people also becomes your fear.
The weakness of a woman doesn’t come from her own gender, it comes from all the lies and comparisons that this society has. A lie that makes every woman feel it’s the reality they should live by.
If she is being put inside the glass box of these lies and comparisons, what happens is we judge them more. But, if she dares to find her own truth, you already need to think twice before judging her. Because she already had the ammunition to win her own battle and free herself from all the standards and barriers caging her life as a woman.
And the best part of a woman seeking her own truth is: She can use it as a power to break free and be an alpha too.
People tend to be uncomfortable when they cannot put a woman inside that glass box. And to all the women who are still looking through that glass, think that what you see is not a reflection of societal reality, but power.
Aphro Apollo (Roel Pulido Pagal) is a contemporary author and a senior student of BA Communication at the University of Northern Philippines. This young literary figure is pursuing his career in writing while attending his regular class. One of his goals in life is to become a Fashion journalist in Condé Nast, New York someday. His mantra, “Never underestimate the power of silence” really make things fall into place for him.