“Because in a world where there is an immense pressure for women to look, act, and feel a certain way, when any woman decides to do something for herself and herself only, it is radical.Realizing that my body was actually mine and that I could do whatever I pleased was radically freeing. I had the opportunity to start from scratch and figure out what was beautiful in my eyes and not based on the perception of others.
I stepped outside the mold of what society defines as female beauty.
I finally took ownership of my own body, cutting myself free of the rules I thought were mandatory for women to follow.
Cutting my hair short was my way of forcing myself to redefine beauty on my own terms.
Cutting my hair led to a beautiful journey of self-love. I may have lost fifteen inches of hair, but I gained an honest love for myself that I never knew was possible.“
Above taken from the article 3 Bullsh*t Reasons Why Women Are Taught To Not Cut Our Hair Short (And Why You Can Do It Anyway). I highly recommend reading the rest of it!
It boggles my mind when I hear some of the common arguments against birth control and abortion, mainly because the US is such a bad place to be a mother if you are not among the wealthy middle class or higher (see the article). If you fall anywhere near or below the poverty line, it’s very hard to retain your job, financial stability, and even get health coverage.
These are some of the most common anti-reproductive choice arguments that are reflected repeatedly in public sentiment and sometimes even in US law:
“Birth control is like abortion and/or unhealthy, so you shouldn’t use it.” Both are largely untrue, and yet these arguments are still being used every single day to pressure women into not being able to effectively plan their families. There are many different birth control methods; it’s important to research them and choose the best and healthiest option for you specifically (for example, I use a low-hormone method). Telling women it’s all bad is deceitful and harmful.
“If you’re having sex, you should be ready to have a baby.” This is incredibly judgmental and unrealistic. Sex is not just for procreation, it’s also for intimacy and pleasure; hence infertile and elderly couples still enjoy it. Having sex is NOT a contract for a woman to have a baby. Some women don’t want kids or just can’t afford them; should they be forced to live like nuns? I have sex because I love my husband, not because we want kids.
“A baby is a blessing.” To some people having a baby IS a great blessing- to others, becoming pregnant is a very stressful, scary experience, especially if they lose their job and their home because of finances. Having a child is a HUGE responsibility- one that should never be forced on anyone. Even if they intend to give the baby up for adoption, they still have to go through the incredibly difficult pregnancy and birth ordeal. And given the appalling rising stats of mother mortality rates in the USA, women should choose carefully.
“Abortion is murder so it should be illegal.” That’s personal opinion- every women needs to make her own decision in this matter. This is a huge can of worms that I’ve discussed many times before, so I won’t be debating the morality of abortion in this blog’s comments.
“Abortion should never be used as birth control.” Abortions are much less pleasant than using birth control. If you talk to women that get abortions, you’ll find that “using it as a form of birth control” isn’t usually how most of them would describe it. This makes it sound like most women are purposefully not using other contraception methods and then use abortion regularly in place of contraception.
We live in a culture where women are not taught proper sex education in many states (some states had to be legally required to even discuss the basics of contraception and they still insist on teaching it improperly), they constantly hear that birth control is dangerous (hormonal) or immoral (all methods) from very vocal anti-birth control groups, and even getting birth control is hard for many low-income women or undocumented women. So it’s no wonder why the US has such a high rate of teen and unwanted pregnancies- women and teen girls hear conflicting information and misinformation every day, and they are not always aware of safe sexual practices. But even if they were aware- birth control and condoms do occasionally fail (especially if they don’t use them 100% correctly due to shoddy sex education), get forgotten that one time, they may have been raped or felt pressured into having sex to fit in, their situation changed for the worse after getting pregnant, etc. And you know what? Sometimes smart women just get pregnant and they don’t want to have a baby. And that’s ok. Again, having sex is not a contract to become pregnant.
Oh, you had a baby you can’t afford? Why didn’t you use birth control or keep your legs closed if you couldn’t afford to have kids right now? The “logic” behind this is baffling and frustrating. Low-income women who have kids are demonized regularly by the media and by individuals. They are considered leeches on the system if they draw welfare/food stamps or their kids need school lunches, called bad parents if they can’t provide for their children, and are called bad parents if they weren’t ready to have kids and it now shows in their lack of parenting skills. They can’t win!
I have talked to a LOT of people about this issue, and I’ve significantly toned down the way that many of these points are often made… words like “slut”, “whore”, “leecher”, “bitch who couldn’t keep her legs closed”, and other demeaning descriptions are unfortunately all too common when referring to women who make reproductive choices that these judgmental people don’t agree with.
I really like this article. I have been very torn about the hijab. One the one hand, I believe it’s wrong to discriminate against someone’s choice of dress or religion. But on the other hand, most women don’t really choose this. If someone wants to wear a hijab, that’s great- I have no problem with that. But the majority of women who wear the hijab do so because they have to, or because they have been raised to believe that they must. When your family will shun you or you can get beat up for not wearing it, or when your religion promises negative consequences, or when you feel like less of a person for not wearing it, then there’s not really a choice- even if you convince yourself that you want to wear it.
I know it’s not exactly the same thing, but I once convinced myself that I liked clothing standards that I actually didn’t like very much too. The Bible college I went to was very conservative- skirts that covered the knee completely and tights to every class and church service, high necklines and nothing tight, no dangly earrings or flashy jewelry, no watching movies unless expressly approved by the staff (they only approved Christian films), etc. At the time, I convinced myself that I really didn’t mind the rules. They were for my own good, they made me a more modest person, I liked them. But I didn’t like them. I love dangly earrings and big jewelry! I loved them before college, and after college I rediscovered my love for them. Back then I would catch myself drooling over clothes that I could never wear there and lamenting because modifying it to be modest enough would have ruined the look. When the formal banquet came around, we had to do a modesty “hallelujah” test- we raised our arms above our heads, and if our armpits or shoulders were showing, we had to wear something else or modify our shawl placement. Many girls wore tee-shirts under their beautiful dresses or sweaters over them in order to meet this very strict standard. It looked friggin’ awful half the time if you couldn’t find an appropriate and stylish shrug and a prom dress with a high enough neckline. Some girls were able to make it look good, but most of the time the beauty of the dress was just lost.
In my particular case, and I think for many other girls I knew there, I believe this was a coping mechanism. In order for me to reconcile with my beliefs, I had to convince myself that I agreed with the rules, throwing out my ability to choose for myself. I told myself I dressed modestly because I wanted to- but that wasn’t really true. Not when I was truly honest with myself, which was very hard to do back then. I dressed modestly because I had to, because it’s what the other people in my faith did in that setting, because I was taught that I was “more spiritual” if I dressed that way. I fit in when I looked that way.
Of course I cannot say that all Muslim women are in the same position I was, everyone is different and their culture is vastly different- but in the few instances I’ve seen where they defend their love of the hijab, I see a similar reaction in them that I once had, except in this case it’s much bigger and more dangerous.
Women should never be oppressed, whether they choose to wear a hijab or not. I would NEVER support forcing a women to not wear one- but I would also highly support any programs that helped to give women a CHOICE. I am torn about the commercial featuring the hijab as a form of diversity- I honestly don’t know what I think. Women who wear hijabs in the US are often bullied for it, so in that regard I am glad to see diversity shown in a public way. But it is more often than not a sign of sexist oppression… should that be glorified in the name of diversity? I don’t know. But I do think this article opens dialogue that needs to be started. If you haven’t read it yet, please see the link above before commenting.
Women are beautiful in all shapes and sizes. I love that there is starting to be more of a push for diversity in modeling and the media. Not that being skinny is wrong or bad- but it’s only ONE of many body types, and women are being pressured to FIT INTO that specific body type. Women should be able to be confident about their appearance no matter what dress size they wear, whether or not they wear makeup, and regardless of their skin color.
I don’t see much good from this deity…
I agree!! There have been worst genocides than Hitler’s, and calling feminists Nazis is very insulting.