I traveled to Switzerland this weekend and wanted to go out to a pub near my hostel. Have a couple drinks, hang out with friends. I googled areas with good night life and met a disclaimer, warning me to "make sure to travel with a male companion after 12 a.m."
I walked the same route to work every day the summer of 2014. A straight shot down Broadway, about 10 blocks down from my apartment. I had to wear all black, and most of my summer wardrobe centered around dresses and skirts, naturally. Every day my brisk NYC stride was met with catcalls from men -- men in suits and ties, men in construction hats, husbands, fathers.
Every day I read a new article on Facebook, urging me to consider preemptively getting an IUD before Donald Trump takes away the option to receive birth control for free every month. I google the side effects and the potential consequences. No hormone regulation, possible infection, potential dislodgment. No protection against excruciating cramps, back pain and mood swings that inevitably come one week every month.
I overhear conversations between girls every day, relaying their newest guy drama. He cheated; he called me a slut; he made me feel self-conscious; he tore down my confidence; he pushed me; he keeps insisting on doing _____ to me in bed, but i'm not comfortable with it; he called me crazy because I got mad after he ignored my text for 6 hours.
I told my friend a story about a man I interviewed that got his job by walking right into his current boss's office without an appointment and saying, "you should hire me." She said that if a woman were to do that, she'd either get turned away or hired because her enthusiasm and confidence are "cute." She might apologize for interrupting, because many women tend to say "i'm sorry" when it's not necessary, myself included.
Being a woman can be exhausting.
I understand being a man can be equally, if not more so, exhausting at times. Everyone faces a personal struggle, whether it be something they must overcome every single day or every so often. Being a woman can feel like a daily struggle. Being a woman can feel anything but empowering. It can be frustrating, tiring, bothersome. Truly exhausting.