I remember reading Khaled Hosseini’s wonderfully written novel ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’, the character Nana was preaching to her daughter Mariam that there is only one skill a women should learn and that is “tahamul” in English that means “Endure”. This sentence struck me like lighting. It was so shamefully true. That’s what women do best after all without even knowing it; we endure so much more than our male counterparts. Not just biologically or physically but mentally to.
Depending what background you come from there is no doubt some women endure more than others, but it can’t be denied then the whole female species are incredibly familiar with enduring. We have to endure our society for starters. The expectations that are pinned on us, how a woman should behave, what her mannerism should be, the way she should dress, how much of intellectuality she should expose and how ambitious should a women be. All of these expectations we are required to meet. Even growing up, I was a hard-core tom-boy and not just the “I like to hang out with the lads tom-boy” but the “I used to wear boys clothes, play with action man and have short hair tom-boy”. The son my mother never had at that time basically. The interesting thing is, before I was kind of embarrassed of being this tom-boy as I didn’t fit in with the other girls my age. But now looking back I am so glad I was a tom-boy as I was free of this gender stereotyping prison! Okay so I guess being a complete tom-boy is a tad bit extreme but I’m glad I was that rather than an annoying Barbie obsessed bimbo.
Growing up, I could no longer be that care-free tom-boy even though at first starting secondary school the desire to fit in wasn’t burning as much. However, the more puberty kicked in the more I became a victim of societies expectations and before you know it I was trapped and constantly found myself enduring to stupid teenage girl customs, like being really “girly”. I’m not a “girly-girl” that definition was so much easier to define when I was younger but it’s gotten harder now. I enjoy makeup, fashion, looking beautiful but I still don’t categorise myself as a “girly-girl” because I feel like my mannerism are not girly. Since I was pretty much a dude when I was a child, my mannerisms have been affected by that, I wasn’t socialised as a girl. That naturally came to once I got older, however since I wasn’t really socialised as girl I now lack the “girly” vibe if that makes sense. Now that I’ve become a girl and proud of it, I realised how much shit we have to endure! It’s unreal and we we’re dare to speak out against them then we’re labelled as the extreme feminists who are just bitter.
Society says its okay for men to cat-call women, to grope women, to look at naked pictures of women on the page 3 of The Sun but if a woman does it then she’s got no class, no elegance and she is boisterous. As women we have to just endure the cat-calling and the sexual harassment because it’s just “lads being lads”. Another thing women have to endure is family life. I’m sure being a mother is pretty darn stressful. If a man had to take care of a child on a daily basis, people would feel pity for him and praise how great he is. However, a woman is given no pity or praise. She also expected to bear the challenges of being a mother, society tell us a mother crying because she can’t handle her kids just shows her much of bad mother she is. How weak she is. She is made to feel embarrassed because she can’t handle her kids. Therefore, women are not even allowed to express how hard it is to be a mum, we just have to tolerate the struggle and try our best not break as if we do then people will judge us and label us as “bad mums”.
Women also have to endure the pathetic law and its attitude when protecting women against crimes. For instance, women who have been raped, the court and police spends more time enquiring about how short her dress was than putting the rapist behind bars. Who gives a crap what she was wearing?! The question should be why on earth can’t a grown man control his sexual charges?! That’s what the court and police should be firing at the rapist. I don’t care if a woman was drunk or wearing revealing clothes, bottom line is a man is an intelligent being, it is not an animal and it carries 100 billion brain cells, therefore there is no justification to why a man can’t control himself from throwing himself onto a woman, holding her down and snatching her dignity away from her so ruthlessly. Unfortunately, this is not enough of a reason to give to society who slyly justifies rape through its laws and leaves women enduring its outrages arrogance.
We also have to endure the idea of beauty, which varies so often. First they tell us being slim is in fashion and is acceptable, then Kim K steps out and it’s all about curves and shit, then they publish Cara Delavigne’s face in every magazine and tell us now it’s all about “caterpillar eyebrows” and thin eyebrow are “no longer in”. You just can’t win! There’s always something reminding us how wrong we are and desperately we need to upgrade ourselves to be liked. I mean why is it such a taboo that I don’t want to wear make-up on a daily basis, or that I don’t own a pair of heels and don’t even know how to walk in them? No one judges and ridicules a man who doesn’t own a suit, so why do women have to put with this crap? Society sucks for women no doubt about it. At this point, I wish I could just live in a little hut in some isolated area and be free of enduring the endless expectations thrown at us as well as the ridiculous ideologies and attitudes to how a woman should be.