It has come to my attention lately that people, whether through jokes, or in all seriousness, throw around words like “lady-like,” “man chauvinism,” and “sexism,” way too easily. And yes, although to a certain extent I often find myself following such labels, the fact that we may or may not be joking around just makes me wonder, regardless of context, what exactly decides my overall worth and value as a woman?

If the purpose of using such common slang throughout small conversation is for people to dominate me as a person, then why in the world would I let them categorize and control me? Is it right for them to tell me what I should and should not like in life, or expect from it, because I am a women? Who is deciding for me what I can and cannot do or say? Are we still making decisions as a society based on old themes that place greater value on the needs of men, yet expect more “lady-like” qualities from women? Should I be going through life thinking certain things are to be expected of me whether I like it or not because of male dominated theories on behavior, such as properness? Where is the overall equality in America when one of these two sexes has to have some kind of priority and a higher amount of power? If the simple fact that sharing these different ideas about sex throughout our everyday conversation today led you somehow into thinking we have finally broken down the boundaries between the sexes, think for yourself and think again. What central ideas do men and women share these days as an American society?

Because I, as a woman, do not think that respecting myself means meeting some messed up criteria made by a bunch of insensitive men. That is not what decides my emotional drive in life or my overall priorities. It is not what decides my motivation, either. Neither does it decide my overall value. Nor does it decide my conduct, because I have more important things to think about when it comes to changing the world, than to focus on old “man-made” ideas and rules about what makes a woman an obscene or indecent person. If following the ideas others have made to control you in fact make you think that somehow as a women, not a being, you are supposed to go through life senseless, allowing yourself to become comfortable within this whole sex situation, then go ahead, follow your “duty” and play the role, maybe someday you will earn enough points to be called a lady, and finally be treated as a person.

First of all the value of women goes beyond this “lady-like” connotation men in America have created. Labels like these devalue their worth. They are formed based on the will to power, and men have used them for years to manipulate and control their rights, not only as people, but also as citizens and take away their freedom, and choice, and power. With labels like these being a “lady” has decided for women for years what their emotional wants and needs should be. It has even decided for them their own physical value.

Things such as taking your clothes off or speaking about topics such as orgasms, fetishes, and the act of sex within itself, have been considered inappropriate for years, yet should not make you a bad representative of “women,” whenever they are done without men’s consent. Why should we feed off ideas that are selfish and only of benefit to others? And give into opinions that are filled with ill-will and add on to such vicious negativity and overall ambition? Why should we throw away our freedom and give up basic rights like what to eat, and what not to eat, or what and what not to wear? What gives these men the choice to decide what makes us decent and indecent, or a “lady-like,” or shameful person? You were born naked, with free-will, and a brain- not being able to enjoy yourself, your life, and life as a whole with all of its wonders and beauty should do it, rather.

Add money to these ideas and they all just become more retarded. Think wages and salary. Through questioning our values men try to take away even the love that we hold for ourselves, and empower themselves. If strippers and prostitutes get paid to do their job, why should only the person paying be able to enjoy it? What makes the person purchasing such services less immoral than the person offering them? Listening to these absurd, unrealistic ideas and everyday expectations of the world is what takes away our value, not being part of the act, or disagreeing with it? Those of you who truly enjoy going through life being referred to as nothing buy eye candy, will continue to follow the norm; and continue buying products that tell you some day you will be “lady-like,” or “manly,” and perhaps even pretty.

Because in a world where drives such as pleasing the needs and emotions of others, not just of men, before you can please your own, contour us a people, all I have to say as a women who does not like to be labeled is no. I do not agree with nor comform to this kind of society, and object to these gender roles, labels and absurd expectations. Why should my rights as a woman be limited? Or my perception of what does and does not give me pleasure be tampered? Or why should the things on my mind become censored? I mean, look at men, they say whatever they want? Sometimes they don’t even want to, they are just as confused about what goes on and have no choice but to act “manly” lol. Have sex, enjoy it, and if no one else but you can respect that then have sex with yourself. Or if you enjoy being disrespected in the act, then sure why not, feel disrespected. How you like to do it and with who is your business, do as you wish and do it responsibly. As long as you know that it’s your body, your choice, that you are in control, can decide what you want, and are not just placing yourself in unwanted, unnecessary, unsafe and unhealthy situations that you do not even enjoy, then why not, do it... Be in charge of your life, because you, like men, have also the choice to control every aspect of it, not just this one. A feminist is a person who believes that equal rights should be given to both men and women, that is it- you do not have to be more or less than this. You do not have to label yourself, or wear certain things, or have anything else in common. Wear whatever you want lol, a paper bag if you chose to, it does not make you more or less of a pervert or a degenerate. Discuss other aspects of your morality instead, and in the act question it, but don’t let it be run by whether you are a male or female, be you, you are worth more than all that. Think for yourself. Give yourself value. Don’t let the rest of the world decide for you.

If anything, questioning things like these should help us as individuals understand our differences better, and form a better society. Why should we sell sex, and not talk about it? Expressing your sexuality, as well as the many other things that come with being a physical, mental, and spiritual being worthy of love, should not make a person feel vulnerable, or less sensitive. Sex, is a normal. It is when we make it abnormal that it becomes a bad thing.

First of all, unless you are pleasuring yourself and yourself exclusively, having sex involves more than one person. Secondly, feeling beautiful should not depend merely on the value men place on you based on how well you satisfy their own selfish needs, and give into their selfish ambition, that is retarded. And third of all, your duty in life should not be to multiply, and your morality should not be based on whether you like or dislike this. The bible was written by men years ago, because only men were allowed to think back then, not women. Had God really said your job as a female was to give birth, and please men and men only, you would only enjoy doing those two things. Thoughts like these lead to rape, and violence, they are meant to make women feel defensiveless, and inferior. Then people form ties where ties should not be formed, and relationships that are abusive.

Morality should not be based on dumb ass expectations. Or give one sex more value than the other. It should be based on autonomy, and love. Equality. (Appreciation for your physical, emotional, and spiritual needs, not a rejection for them.) Treat yourself as a person first, don’t just jump in and try to form part of society based on this need to become a productive citizen. Because as a person, individual, not just part of the whole, you are not supposed to go through life unsatisfied, ignorant, oppressed, and better yet miserable. It should not be a bad thing to pleasure your selves, or be knowledgeable, free, and, as a result, happy.

Wake up people, please and thank you. If we continue to follow these absurd expectations of conduct based merely on our sexual differences, not human beings all worth one same equal value, as a country, we will continue to hate one another, disrespect one another, and become distracted, less able to focus on issues that go beyond these absurd sexual differences and expectations. The fact that gender roles still exist today distracts us from becoming independent- from finding our own, personal identity. How can we then give a fair value to both men and women in terms of rights in America today, when we have not yet reached one civilized central theme as people? Or call ourselves a civilized country, or society?

Copyrighted by Ana Villanueva

Comments

Ruth Newell July 1, 2012 @ 6:02 p.m.

You ask lots of valid questions, Ana, many that others before you have also asked. As a reader of your essay, however, I could have done without the scolding and would have liked to hear more about what you deem to be the "value of women".

For what it's worth, in my almost 50 years, my worse enemy hasn't been society or men or even other women, but rather my own negative thought patterns. And, are not our thoughts the only thing we--male or female--truly has control over?

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