Tonight I decided to catch up on the new season of Outlander and in one episode, Claire Randall decides that her personal identity is rooted in medicine so she applies to Harvard medical school and is accepted. The scene cuts to her first day at school where her professor asks if she needs help to which Claire expresses that she is in the class.
Her professor’s response? Something along the lines of, “Oh right. They told me that there would be a woman and a negro in my class. How….modern.”
It was a moment in the show where I could visibly see the frustration on Claire’s face at her reception of her being an educated woman in 1960’s America. A woman who had spent x many years in the 1700’s of Scotland where she received more respect being a woman of knowledge.
It made me think about the reception of women throughout history. Granted, my experience is that of a white woman so my experience is quite a bit different from other women.
I remember watching a show, I can’t remember which, but in the show, a mother told her daughter that the man might be the head, but the woman was the neck and she could steer the head any direction she chose.
I don’t want to devalue men, but in my experience, I do see men as the weaker sex between the two (if you want to level down sexes to a binary number). I could pull the argument of “Well women give birth. Could men handle the pain of pushing a watermelon out of their genitals?!” But I would rather tap into the fault of ego and sex to devalue the intellect of the male species.
Let me preface this by saying that I do not hate men. In fact, I quite enjoy them….physically. But if I had to choose between a man and a woman when it came to knowledge, power, and drive; I would choose a woman. A woman has the power to drop me to my knees while a man has the power to make me laugh and roll my eyes at their request for me to drop to my knees.
As a woman, I throw at them the question of why. Why should I drop to my knees for you? What have you given me to earn this?
I can completely understand why men might feel victimized nowadays. The modern man has been raised by a generation of men who were on the edges of gender equality. The men in my age range have been raised by men whose mothers were just a tad more equal to their dads. The idea of being a man’s man was still drilled into their heads and God forbid you challenge that. Men have always been raised to be men. That quintessential definition of manhood….no tears, no emotion, always calm and collected, always the center of the household…because if they don’t have all of that are they really men according to history? You want to know the quickest way to test a man’s character? Intentionally challenge their ego and their definition of manhood.
And what about women? Where do we fit into this narrative?
I like my food to come with inspirational messages, whether that comes in the form of a fortune cookie, a tea bag, or a Dove chocolate. Once, my coworker left some chocolates on my desk and one had a message that read, “Don’t apologize.” I think the manufacturer left that up to interpretation, but my interpretation of that message meant “Don’t apologize for unnecessary situations. Take responsibility and stand strong.” The chocolate couldn’t fit all of that but that’s what I got out of it.
As a woman, I refuse to apologize to men. Maybe my ancestors dropped down to their knees to appease to the ego of men, but I refuse. I will not apologize for having opinions or a personality; for having questions and goals and dreams that rival the egos of my love interests. It’s not my problem if you cannot handle my willful nature.
If you are a man reading this, did you just put yourself in my statements and refuse to apologize to a woman? I doubt it because that’s not how you were raised.
In history, women and other oppressed people, have developed the ability to leverage their situation to their advantage. Throughout history, women have learned how to leverage their sexuality to their advantage. It’s not OUR fault that men are weak creatures easily seduced by the sight of a pair of boobs. We just learned that that allowed us to get what we wanted whether that’s freedom, money, power, or basic needs for survival. Throughout history, women have been slut-shamed for leveraging their sexuality to survive. To harken the message of my Dove chocolate, “Don’t apologize.”
Women should not apologize for using something that allows them the chance to survive. Only the weak insult the weak. We will not apologize to weak men for our sexuality. No sir.
It’s not our fault that you are too weak and therefore succumbed to the “natural urges” of your nature.
When you factor history into it, men have always been given the upper hand. Particularly white, upper-class, men. As a 21st century woman, I have been so lucky to have been raised by a single mother who explained to me that I do not need a man to live. Any man, or woman, who comes into my life is blessed to have me as their life partner. They are not necessary to my survival, they are a supportive role in my life.
But to go back, white men have spent thousands of years with the upper hand in society. Why should those who have felt oppressed apologize for their oppression? When you walk downtown how many times do you hear a man saying sorry as he moves out of the way of another man? How many times do you hear another man apologizing for their shopping cart being in the way of another person’s shopping cart in the store or apologizing for being five feet away from someone while still thinking that they are blocking that other person’s path? In my experience never.
I am a woman. I will not apologize to anyone for being me because I did not choose this body. This body chose me. I did not choose my mom, I did not choose the color of my skin or my socioeconomic status. I did not choose my sexuality and I will not be devalued for using it to my advantage if I see fit.
Don’t fucking apologize.
I have been told that my boobs were too small and that they did not bounce. I have been told that I was not driven enough; that I was not physically attractive enough to be sexy; that I was too sexual and that it was intimidating. I have been told that I lacked social tactfulness and that I was not able to function on a level that was acceptable socially. I have been told that I was a bitch, a cunt, mean, and a whore.
I have been told all of these things by men who were love interests and I refuse to apologize for being me. I refuse to apologize for the things about myself that I had no say in and I refuse to apologize for the things about myself that I love which include my sexuality, my blunt honesty, and my small boobs.
It’s not my fault if another person lacks so much confidence in themselves that they feel like I am too much for their ego. That is not my problem and I refuse to apologize and I hope that you refuse too.
Don’t apologize for being you.