The “Sometimes Just Being a Woman is Really Hard” Badge
(Ed. Note: This badge is a break from our normal schedule of jokes, jokes, and more dumb jokes. It’s a serious response to the extremely troubling political and social climate, to a world that is becoming more and more hostile to women everywhere. Next time, there will be a badge about tampons or roller derby, but today we’re all pretty focused on this.)
I am having some trouble being a lady right now.
With the crazy bills in South Dakota (and many other states, South Dakota is by no means a fluke), a bill put forth to redefine the meaning of rape, the news that The Pentagon ignores the complaints of rape victims, the heartbreaking story of Lara Logan’s attack (and the alarming number of female journalists who are sexually assaulted), the fact that only six percent of rapists will see the inside of a jail cell while 25 percent of women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime, and just the general business of getting through life and work when people occasionally see you as an unequal based solely on your gender has my lady soul feeling just a little bit crushed right now.
Normally events like the ones we’re witnessing in Congress only serve to reignite my passion in working for women. I feel a need to protect the rights and privileges my foremothers fought and died to give me. I feel the responsibility to ensure that my (hypothetical) daughters are privy to the same rights afforded to me. Normally I speak at rallies and let comments by counter-protesters that I “gave up my right to privacy when I let a man ‘enter’ me” just roll off my back. Normally I don’t let the opposition see that they are getting to me.
But lately I’ve started to feel something I hate admitting to: I feel vulnerable.
And how can you feel anything but vulnerable when we are witnessing a war on women so bad it’s unlike anything our generation has ever seen. People sent to protect and serve our best interests, our Congressmen, are engaged in a planned and strategic attack on our rights that is so dirty I cringe at the very thought.
And so I feel vulnerable. And I start to think about all the ways in which I protect myself each and every day. I protect myself from getting pregnant. I protect myself by carrying pepper spray and never walking in bad neighborhoods alone at night. I protect myself by being cautious about telling people where I live. I protect myself by working for women’s rights. As a lady, you always have to find some way to protect yourself, because, frankly, you are always under attack.
This isn’t meant to sound defeatist — by no means am I going to lay my armor down. I wouldn’t trade being a woman for anything in the world. If only because quality female friendships make up for all of the other shz we have to deal with each and every day. If only because there is a shared understanding of what it takes to be a woman and a legacy of womanhood that we need to keep alive. No, despite all of the crap we deal with based solely on our reproductive organs, I wouldn’t give up being a lady.
So, Lady Scouts, I know this is a break from the normal banter (I’ll write a badge about killing spiders soon, I promise), but I want to award you with a badge for being a lady. And dealing with the things a lady has to deal with. Because sometimes that’s the hardest task of all.
(Submitted by Joy Engel)