Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Consequences of Being a Woman

Yes, I am a woman, unfortunately. This means I have double the struggle in this male-dominated world. Though I have come to terms with my gender, there are many moments when I still prefer to be born a man. Don't get me wrong. It is not that I look down on women, it is just that I know how women fare in this world.
Physiologically, women are at a disadvantage and not just because we are physically weaker(due to less muscle mass). We seem to be naturally exposed to physical pain as we go through the life cycle of a woman. Budding breasts are not as painless as they look. Menstruation, which comes on a monthly basis by the way, has made a lot of us women miserable and made us feel uncomfortable and messy. Then comes the overrated first sexual experience which is more painful than pleasurable, especially if the man is a brute. And how about the nine months of pregnancy that makes us look fat and feel heavy? The pain of looking ugly can be as severe as the pain from the kicks of the baby. However, pregnancy is almost nothing compared to the agony of childbirth. The onset of menopause finally puts a cap on the entire female experience. For most Asian women, menopause is a much-awaited event since it means no more monthly period, no more sanitary napkins or tampons, no more dysmennorhea, and no more unwanted pregnancies. So, as anyone can see, just being a woman is enough to give you a headache.
Of course, it is not only from the physiological point of view that we women are at a disadvantage. Society has put a lot on pressure on us to be beautiful. Imagine this. Before we can leave our homes, we need to put on make-up, brassieres, stockings, well-coordinated clothes and accessories to be considered acceptable. Our hair should be in place, with the use of either a spraynet or hair accessories. We have to smell nice and look good all the time. Isn't the physiological aspect of being a woman burdensome enough?
As women, we are also victims of sex maniacs. The possibility of rape is a reality we need to accept as something that comes with the territory. Even if we don't get raped like some women, we get violated in other ways. We are usually the butt of sex jokes. Riding public transportation will occasionally give us the experience of a deliberate boob or butt graze in one of these rides. It is not unusual to receive sexual stares on our bosoms and rears. By the way, dressing conservatively doesn't necessarily mean we can escape inappropriate sexual behavior from men. Though men relish being the object of sexual desire and some women may actually like this form of attention from strangers, most of us women find it disgusting.
Aside from trying to stay beautiful and becoming sex objects in this world, we are burdened by yet another expectation. Even in this enlightened era, society expects us to have the lion's share of household chores, whether we are married or single. Whether we have a job or just stay at home, we need to do well as an all-around maid or else we are viewed as good-for-nothing individuals.
We are not only expected to perform well as a maid at home. We are also expected to perform well at work in this m0dern age. So one can just imagine how stressful life is for a working woman, especially the working mom. Ironically, performing well at work doesn't usually translate to earning more or getting promoted. Women, more often than not, do not have high-income occupations so performing well as a teacher, for example, will just make a woman a better teacher but not a better earner. On the other hand, most women who do have high-paying jobs are not paid as highly as their male counterparts.
I guess, people should not think ill of me if I prefer to be born a man instead of a woman. In my opinion, men are a lot better off in this world. They don't have big breasts that are hampered by bras. They don't have monthly bleeding that makes tampons and sanitary napkins a fixture in a woman's life. They don't need to put on make-up to look great. They don't have to worry about getting pregnant and seldom feel pain during sex. The only pain I know they experience is during circumcision, which may or may not happen depending on the culture. They don't do most of the household chores when women are around. If they become sex objects, they revel in it. And, they generally do the raping (gay or straight).
Oftentimes, I envy men for being so lucky. I wish they could share the normal female experience to make things even. But hey, why would they want to share a hellish experience anyway? The biological clock is not ticking for them and they have so much fun acting like rogues.
Well, I'm off to the store to buy a new set of sanitary napkins to complement my bloody week!

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