By Annie Dziadulewicz
To ease into this subject, and without wanting to generalise or start an all out gender war (thats the power of writing guys), I’m going to list what I perceive are things thats are harder for men, and things that are harder for women. Okay:
Things that are harder for women:
* Making a urine sample
* Being really really muscular (although it can be done!)
Things that are harder for males:
* Not getting an erection at inappropriate times
* Making nice picnics
* Gift wrapping
Good list right!? Although I admit, my list of pointing out our differences is not helpful in making us equal. The point of this fantastic Femmeuary project is to celebrate all things female, and in my eyes, to point out that we’re all the same. Not that women are better, or that men are better (DUH coz they ain’t!), just equal. The word feminism brings up immediate images of woman raging at men and joining all female communes, and sometimes, of women finding a love of the labia, but that’s changed. Feminism is about empowerment – sure one of the most cliched terms ever – but it’s true. Feminism is about saying HEY!! WOMEN CAN DO AWESOME STUFF TOO. AND THEY SHOULD GET PAID THE SAME FOR DOING IT!
I never understood the whole men are from Mars and women are from Venus thing. I’m no scientist, but I’m fairly certain we’re all from Earth. While I write this I’m sitting at a desk, I’m wearing a skirt, a bra and have long flowing hair, and, to be honest, I’m resisting the urge to make a Uranus joke. Now, one MAY thing that they are all quintessintially female things- along with a love of chocolate and nail polish. However, one only has to take a gander at our scottish fellows for male-skirt wearers, 60’s hippies and Jared Leto at the Grammy’s for the flowing hair, and to Frank Costanza for the Manzier (that’s a Seinfeld reference, I trust you have all watched every episode of Seinfeld as a pre-requisite for reading this article). Of course, the Uranus joke thing is universal, no questions ass-ked(!). And I know I’m really simplifying this down, but the point I’m trying to make is that we’re the same. Men and women are all just humans trying to get through life. We all need companionship, be it from another human, an animal, or a good old book. We all need the four essentials: food, shelter, warmth and, in my opinion, music. We all want to be respected and treated on the base of our merits, not by what we have in our pants. Or kilts.
Despite this, bad things happen to women in the world. Obviously bad things happen to men as well, but for the purpose of this article, I’m going to concentrate on the fairer sex. Sexism is a big one. From a simple cat call on the street (also known as a ‘honk if you’re horny’ or ‘look at me my penis isn’t very big’), to not being promoted because you’re a female. Rape is another one. Again, men can be tricked, drugged and taken advantage of, but about 99% of the time, rape is unfortunately a female issue. All around the world, women are not equal to men. As a woman living in Australia, and someone who is surrounded by men who love and appreciate women as equals, I am in the extremely fortunate position that I’ve only had to endure the cat calling. I have travelled though, and to some places where rape and violence towards women is more prevelant than in Australia, but through sheer dumb luck I have never been exposed to that (although a man did once blow on the back of my neck in a club in Florence to attract me- it didn’t work). This is the point though, it was through dumb luck that it didn’t happen. Not because it couldn’t of happened. There are countries that mutilate their women’s genitals, so they stay pure until their wedding night. Sometimes the women are 13 on said wedding night. There are countries that don’t allow women to drive. In 2014, some women cannot go to school. These are all very nuanced issues that have thousands of years of history behind them, and I cannot possibly claim to know how to solve them, but I’m using my voice to point them out.
I certainly call myself a feminist, but I do find it hard to stay focused on issues such as “why do men’s eyes always flick down to women’s breasts when they’re talking” when there is so much more going on in the world. Don’t get me wrong, my boobs aren’t where mens eyes should be, but I honestly think it’s funny, and find it easier to laugh it off than get riled up. I know I look at guys as pieces of meat occasionally, so it’s a two-way street. Some little things do annoy me though, such as “women can’t be funny” or “women aren’t as smart as men”, and that’s because they literally have no basis in fact. As I said before, I’m no scientist, but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate a good old fact. I point you to Tina Fey, one of millions of women who is both funny and smart.
It is here that I sing in my best falsetto that “it’s a man’s man’s man’s man’s world”, because I still believe that is true. For myself, I am in the lucky position to have never experienced real issues because of my gender. I’ve done well at school, at university, in my jobs, but none of those were because I’m a women. My gender had nothing to do with those. I would hope that someday all women could say that. If every woman in every country could said “oh I drove myself to school today, and tonight I’m going on a date with a guy who I chose whose my age who thinks I’m smart and funny, and definately won’t take advantage of me” that would be nice. Really nice. Until then, I think women, like myself, who live in a place where they are equal to men, have a responsibility to help women in other countries, on the other side of the world, so they too can one day feel equal.
Long time female, semi-long time writer, Annie is studying Journalism and Professional Writing at Curtin University in sunny Perth, Australia. With only a tiny one semester to go, she is filling in the rest of her time chatting about news and happenings on community radio and making and listening to podcasts.