When I was born my grandfather congratulated my dad for having a son, and thanked my mother for giving my father a son. I got my grandfather’s name.
When I was a child, I could play with LEGO, because “Lego is a boy thing” and that helped my creativity. My ability to solve problems was stimulated.
I got HotWheels car-washes and gas stations. I also got a box of plastic tools, to assemble and disassemble toy cars and trucks. That also stimulated my creativity and developed my logic capability, which is good for every child.
In my school day, the girls wore skirts and my friends lifted their skirts. It was a mess, So they were forbidden to wear skirts. I never saw a boy actually get punished for it though, after all “Boys are just like that. Took after his father this menace” - is what I usually heard
At home, with my family, I liked to play house with a younger cousin. We were around eight. I was the dad, she was the mom and the dolls were our children. While playing, when i carried the dolls in my arms my mother would get mad: “Let go of that doll boy, that’s a girl thing”. And my little cousin’s father, when he saw us playing, wouldn’t let her do it either. He said boys play with boys and girls play with girls because “boys are very stupid, and worse, very forward”. I did not consider myself stupid, and did not understand what he meant by “forward”, but I still did as I was told
At Christmas, my sister got a Barbie and I got a beyblade. She cried a bit because my toy was much cooler than hers, but every year my mother made the same mistake, and got her a doll, a toy stove, a toy fridge, a blender, everything pink, once mom got her an iron
When I turned 15 and started dating, my father bought me some condoms
During my teenage years, no one criticized me for kissing lots of girls. Nowadays, that still stands.
My father does not get mad at me when I don’t come home for the night, He does not say I need to be a “family boy”. He never slapped me in the face for thinking I’d spent the night at a motel.
No one lectures me saying I need to be reserved and play hard to get.
No one judges me when I want to be with a girl and take initiative
No one cares about my clothes; no one says I have to preserve myself.
No one says I have to preserve myself because “women only think about sex”
No one think my girlfriends were only with me for sex.
No one thinks that, when I have sex, that I’m submitting to the wishes of my partner
No one demonizes my orgasms.
I was never judged for carrying condoms in my backpack or in my wallet
I never had to hide my condoms from my parents.
I was never told to marry a virgin because I was a man
I was never told that “men have to value themselves” or that I had to “give myself the respect”. Apparently, my gender already makes me worthy of respect.
When I go out into the streets no one tells me I’m “delicious”
No unknown woman shouts “smoking hot” my way
I can walk down the streets having an ice cream cone at ease, because I know I won’t hear things like “drop that and come suck me”. I can even walk down the streets eating a banana
I never had to cross a street, even though it was out of my way, to avoid a group of women in a bar, who will probably catcall me when I pass, embarrassing me
I never had to walk in sweatpants, because my shorts leave my legs exposed, and that could be dangerous
I never heard someone say I was “shameless” because I went out without a shirt
No one regulates my work out clothes
No one cares about my clothes period.
I was never followed by a woman in a car when I was walking back home
I can catch a crowded subway everyday and surely no woman will rub against me, to record it and throw it on some porn website
No one ever had to create a subway wagon that was “just for men”
I never heard of someone of my gender being raped by a crowd
I can get on a bus by myself in the middle of the night
When I’m not carrying anything valuable, I no longer feel threatened, because I don’t fear getting raped at any moment, at every corner. That risk does not exist in the minds of the people of my gender.
When I go out at night I can wear whatever clothes I want.
If I suffer any kind of violence, no one blames me for being drunk, or for wearing certain clothes
If, one day, I was raped, no one would say it was my fault; that I was somewhere inadequate, that I had on a revealing outfit
No one would try to justify the rape based on my behavior
I would be treated as a VICTIM and that would be it.
No one thinks I’m vulgar because when it’s cold, my nipples show through my shirt
When I have sex with a woman on the first date I practically get a standing ovation. No one calls me a “tramp”, or “easy” or a “whore” because I have casual sex sometimes
99% of porn websites are made to please me and men in general
No one is shocked when I say I watch porn
No one judges me if I say I love sex
No one cares if I read erotic literature
No one is surprised to hear I masturbate
No mother-in-law will tell her daughter not to marry me because I’m not a virgin
No one criticizes me for investing in my career
When I have the same job position as a woman, my salary is never inferior to hers
If I am promoted, no one says it’s because I slept with my boss. People believe in my merit
If I have to travel for work and leave my kids with their mother for a few days no one calls me irresponsible
No one finds it strange that, at thirty years old, I still don’t have kids
No one guesses my sexual orientation based on the length of my hair
When my hair starts to grey, people will find it sexy, not think I’m letting go of myself
Society does not see my virginity as a prize
90% of military services are destined to people of my gender, even the higher jobs, in which the official only deals with paperwork and management
If I go out with a certain outfit no one says I’m “asking for it”
If I’m at a club and a woman performs oral sex on me, I’m not the “whore” or the “tramp”, she is.
If a video of me having sex with a woman gets leaked, no one will call me names, criticize me, stone me. I won’t be the “disgusting little bitch” I won’t be “trash” or “used” or “cheap”. I’d just be the man, fulfilling my alpha guy position in society.
If I lead a promiscuous lifestyle and then fall in love with just one woman, people think its beautiful. No one judges me based on my past.
No one says it’s disgusting if I don’t shave myself
No one would judge me for being a single dad. On the contrary, I’d be seen as a hero.
I’ll never be stopped from occupying a higher position in the Catholic Church for being a man
I was never beaten up for being a man
I was never obligated to do housework for being a man
I never had the obligation to learn how to cook for being a man
No one tells me my place is in the kitchen for being a man
No one says I can’t curse for being a man
No one says I can’t drink for being a man
No one stares at my plate if I put a lot of food in it
No one justifies my foul mood by blaming it on hormones
No one has ever made jokes that undermined my intelligence for being a man
When I sometimes mess up in traffic no one says “It had to be a man”
When I’m polite to a woman she doesn’t automatically assume I’m hitting on her
The term “tramp stamp” did not come into existence because men were seen as cheap
No one treats my body as just a tool for giving pleasure to the opposite sex
No one thinks I’ll have to be submissive to a future wife
I was never judged for drinking beer at table in which I was the only man
I’m never the target audience for house cleaning products ads
I’m the target audience for beer ads
No one’s ever asked me if my girlfriend lets me cut my hair. I cut it when I want to and people understand that.
There isn’t haze at USP (a university) that promotes my humiliation and objectification
Society doesn’t split my gender in “to marry” and “to whore”
When I say “no” no one thinks I’m just playing hard to get. No is no.
I don’t have to dress a certain way to avoid having women falling into temptation
People of my gender were not raped each 40 minutes in São Paulo last year
People of my gender don’t get raped every 12 seconds in Brazil
People of my gender didn’t get raped by a crowd during protests in Egypt
I’m not a man. But if you are, it’s fundamental to admit that society AS A WHOLE needs feminism
Don’t underestimate suffering that you don’t understand.
Camila Oliveira Dias
(This was originally in portuguese and I translated it, there are very slight alterations, because some expressions don’t have exact correspondents in english, I did my best, if you find any typos please message me, and I will correct them.)
Aditi Gupta grew up believing that her monthly menstrual periods were shameful incidents that made her impure, unclean. The shame she felt surrounding menstruation led to dangerous personal hygiene habits (hiding rags in damp, dark places; using improper sanitary methods) and a lack of confidence in herself and her right to better healthcare.
Three out of 10 girls in India don’t learn about periods before they hit puberty. And the numbers are even more striking where Aditi lives: 9 out of 10 girls in Rajasthan do not know what a period is when they get their first menses.
This culture of shame, silence, and myth compelled her to create Menstrupedia, a 90-page comic book introducing the concept of menstruation and the basics of female health to young girls in India.
The first named author in history? Enheduanna, a Sumerian high priestess, poet and lyricist. She’s known as the Shakespeare of Sumerian literature.
Although I have to point out that there was a piece of speculative science fiction called The Blazing World published by one Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1666, slightly predating Mary Shelley.
The first American mystery novel was written by Metta Victoria Fuller Victor, as well as the first dime novel, and the first crime novel…
This is the thing. Women have been doing awesome shit since there was awesome shit to do, we’ve BEEN THERE, and then maliciously and willfully erased us from the books to keep anyone else from “getting ideas.”
Let me start by saying that addressing gossip is something I have never done. I don’t like to give energy to the business of lies, but I wanted to participate in a larger conversation that has already begun and needs to continue. Since I’m not on social media, I decided to put my thoughts here in writing.
For the record, I am not pregnant. What I am is fed up. I’m fed up with the sport-like scrutiny and body shaming that occurs daily under the guise of “journalism,” the “First Amendment” and “celebrity news.”
Every day my husband and I are harassed by dozens of aggressive photographers staked outside our home who will go to shocking lengths to obtain any kind of photo, even if it means endangering us or the unlucky pedestrians who happen to be nearby. But setting aside the public safety aspect, I want to focus on the bigger picture of what this insane tabloid ritual represents to all of us.
If I am some kind of symbol to some people out there, then clearly I am an example of the lens through which we, as a society, view our mothers, daughters, sisters, wives, female friends and colleagues. The objectification and scrutiny we put women through is absurd and disturbing. The way I am portrayed by the media is simply a reflection of how we see and portray women in general, measured against some warped standard of beauty. Sometimes cultural standards just need a different perspective so we can see them for what they really are — a collective acceptance… a subconscious agreement. We are in charge of our agreement. Little girls everywhere are absorbing our agreement, passive or otherwise. And it begins early. The message that girls are not pretty unless they’re incredibly thin, that they’re not worthy of our attention unless they look like a supermodel or an actress on the cover of a magazine is something we’re all willingly buying into. This conditioning is something girls then carry into womanhood. We use celebrity “news” to perpetuate this dehumanizing view of females, focused solely on one’s physical appearance, which tabloids turn into a sporting event of speculation. Is she pregnant? Is she eating too much? Has she let herself go? Is her marriage on the rocks because the camera detects some physical “imperfection”?
I used to tell myself that tabloids were like comic books, not to be taken seriously, just a soap opera for people to follow when they need a distraction. But I really can’t tell myself that anymore because the reality is the stalking and objectification I’ve experienced first-hand, going on decades now, reflects the warped way we calculate a woman’s worth.
This past month in particular has illuminated for me how much we define a woman’s value based on her marital and maternal status. The sheer amount of resources being spent right now by press trying to simply uncover whether or not I am pregnant (for the bajillionth time… but who’s counting) points to the perpetuation of this notion that women are somehow incomplete, unsuccessful, or unhappy if they’re not married with children. In this last boring news cycle about my personal life there have been mass shootings, wildfires, major decisions by the Supreme Court, an upcoming election, and any number of more newsworthy issues that “journalists” could dedicate their resources towards.
Here’s where I come out on this topic: we are complete with or without a mate, with or without a child. We get to decide for ourselves what is beautiful when it comes to our bodies. That decision is ours and ours alone. Let’s make that decision for ourselves and for the young women in this world who look to us as examples. Let’s make that decision consciously, outside of the tabloid noise. We don’t need to be married or mothers to be complete. We get to determine our own “happily ever after” for ourselves.
I have grown tired of being part of this narrative. Yes, I may become a mother some day, and since I’m laying it all out there, if I ever do, I will be the first to let you know. But I’m not in pursuit of motherhood because I feel incomplete in some way, as our celebrity news culture would lead us all to believe. I resent being made to feel “less than” because my body is changing and/or I had a burger for lunch and was photographed from a weird angle and therefore deemed one of two things: “pregnant” or “fat.” Not to mention the painful awkwardness that comes with being congratulated by friends, coworkers and strangers alike on one’s fictional pregnancy (often a dozen times in a single day).
From years of experience, I’ve learned tabloid practices, however dangerous, will not change, at least not any time soon. What can change is our awareness and reaction to the toxic messages buried within these seemingly harmless stories served up as truth and shaping our ideas of who we are. We get to decide how much we buy into what’s being served up, and maybe some day the tabloids will be forced to see the world through a different, more humanized lens because consumers have just stopped buying the bullshit.