What its Like to Be a Woman In Our Country

What its Like to Be a Woman In Our Country

From the Eyes of a Millennial
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I had always grown up with a mother who taught me to stand up for myself, chase after my dreams, and not let anyone determine my future for me. She raised me to be the bold woman I am today and I will always be proud of that. However, in today's day and age I struggle with feeling proud as a woman in current American society. You may roll your eyes at this statement and say "here we go another millennial feminist article about why us men suck". That my friend is where you are wrong.

I do not label myself as a feminist, I label myself as a woman. I am proud to hold that title. However, if I did identify as a feminist I'm not quite sure why that would be the worst thing. See a feminist is most simply defined as someone who believes in political, economic, and social equality of the sexes. Now, why is this such an eye-rolling worthy definition? Is it not okay for me as a woman to have the same freedom to health care, wages, and political standing as men? It's not the 1920's anymore my friends.

Back then most women were depicted as lowly housewives whose main duties revolved around sending their children off to school, preparing lunch for their husband to bring to work, cleaning the house while everyone was gone, and anxiously preparing a meal for when everyone was due to return home. However, even with this biased view broadcasted all over America, there were women brave enough to stand up and speak about issues such as domestic abuse, rape, and infidelity within marriage.

Similarly, today hundreds of female activists continue to stand strong in the pursuit of gender equality and the attainment of basic rights as humans. It seemed that in the past years we may have been making small strides forward as women in the USA. But after this years election, it feels more like our progress has come to a screeching halt and even switched into reverse.

It is hard to feel appreciated and respected as a woman when you live in a country run by a man who was praised for a slogan "Grab her right in the p****" during his campaign. If that doesn't send a national message to the male population of our country then I don't know what does. In my personal opinion, this broadcasts to men of all ages that sexual harassment is okay. In fact, it seemed so okay that the slogan has been printed on merchandise and apparel for all to purchase. Isn't that great?

However, sexual harassment is hard for most men to understand considering most don't have to deal with people trying to hit on them in their workplace because they forgot a button on their shirt or men grabbing their ass without their consent because your "butt looks good today". They don't understand the pain that is a menstrual cycle, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, childbirth, or the daily struggles that women deal with. Granted men all over have their own struggles and there are in fact men who do experience sexual harassment, abuse, and rape just like us women. However, this population that is capable of understanding our struggles as females are not the ones who are governing our country, unfortunately. In fact, 71% of our elected officials are men.

A perfect example of the disparity of understanding between male and female struggles can be seen in the case of Cyntoia Brown. This case has been broadcasted all over social media recently for a very justifiable reason. It is unfathomable the time that this woman is serving based on the circumstances of the crime which was committed. Cyntoia Brown has already served 10 years of her life sentence which began at the age of 16. What could a 16-year-old girl be sentenced to life for you ask?

Cyntoia was born with fetal alcohol syndrome to an unfit mother and was raised in abusive home. She decided to run away from her adoptive family in hopes of a new life, but ended up being forced into prostitution. She later met a man named "Cut Throat" who began physically and sexually abusing her and trafficking her. She was "purchased" by a 43-year-old man and was taken back to his house. Cyntoia saw a gun in the man's room and became frightened. She kept denying the man sex. While frustrated, he apparently reached under the bed and that was when Cyntoia grabbed the gun and shot him as "self-defense". She ultimately was tried for first-degree murder and aggravated robbery.

There is still hope that Brown may be up for parole when she is 69 years old. Her case has been spread nationally like wildfire through social media and has been featured on numerous celebrities pages. The national attention has brought many questions to the surface. A few being "How can a victim of sexual assault be punished for self-defense?", "A woman is serving life for defending herself against her trafficker, but men who have committed vicious rape and sexual abuse are out freely roaming our streets?"

All of these are valid questions lead us all to ponder the sincerity of our judicial system and its favor of a specific gender and lack of understanding of the other. Such inequality is illicitly executed in the case of Austin James Wilkerson's early release after being sentenced to a 2-year work release after committing sexual assault and rape against Kendra Heuer at the University of Colorado. Wilkerson was released on the basis of "good time" and the concern that his sentence will "ruin his life".

This is utterly disturbing for the rape victim and women around the country who will never be freed from living a full life because of the nightmare they had to experience. Wilkerson's victim made a resounding statement, "I am not afforded the same privilege of getting an early release from my lifelong sentence." A lifelong sentence of pain and reminding that is. Whose life is this case really ruining?

Cases like Cynthia Brown's and Austin Wilkerson makes it hard to feel appreciated as a woman because when it comes to real issues, life or death issues, you are not prioritized. Your health as a woman is not prioritized. Your rights as a woman are not prioritized. The tragedy you face is not prioritized, but downplayed so that your predator may be freed because his life is valued higher than yours.

We live in a country run by a president who has 19 different sexual harassment claims against him dating as far back as the 1980's that have been tucked under the rug. A president who is trying to make it your employer's choice whether you have the right to contraceptives or not. A decision which quite frankly doesn't involve anyone without a uterus or ovaries.

Let me let the lovely Sophia Bush break it down for you:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7d-6MK7CTg

It is hard to be a young woman in today's country because I am apprehensive to become a part of the workforce because I already know I have the odds against me. I fear for my health because I know it is not valued by my president. I fear for my future daughter because I cannot see what the future of our country will be and I can only pray that it will be better than what it is now.

I am thankful for the women like Sophia Bush, Malala Yousafzai, Meghan Markle, Beyoncé, Jennifer Lawrence, and the many more who use their advantageous positions to advocate for women.

Call this article dramatic, call this article biased, call this article outlandish, call it whatever you want. But I won't stop being proud to call myself a woman and speaking up for what I believe.

Cover Image Credit: https://newmatilda.com/2017/03/16/the-feminist-far-left-is-making-more-enemies-than-allies/

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I'm A Christian Girl And I'm Not A Feminist, Because God Did Not Intend For Women To Be Equals

It is OK for me to not want to be equivalent with a man.

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To start off, I am not writing this to bash feminists or get hate messages. I am simply writing this to state why I do not perceive myself as a feminist.

March is International Women's Month and that is what has got me thinking about how I view myself as a young woman in the 21st century. I enjoy every day getting to soak up the world as a young lady, particularly in the South.

If you know me, then you know that I love and utterly adore Jesus. He is so perfect. He is everything. He is my whole life. Some people might say that I am a "Bible-thumper" or someone who has had too much Kool-aid and maybe I am, but I know who my Creator is and that He died for me, and that is all that matters.

In my young age, I loved to just sit in church with my parents and absorb all that God would deliver. As I have grown up, I have ventured off and joined a church that is different than my parents, so the responsibility falls more on me, but I love that. Since this era of independence began, I have thoroughly enjoyed taking ownership of my faith.

I spend a lot of time chatting with God, worshipping Him in all kinds of ways, and just diving deeper into His Word. Through all of this growth as a Christian, I have learned a lot, but something I have learned is a concept that some may not agree with, which does not surprise me.

I do not believe God meant for women and men to be equal.

There, I acknowledged the elephant in the room.

It is a shocker, I know, but I have some Biblical evidence to back up this belief that I have.

Let us begin in Genesis. God created man and then he created woman. This was two separate occurrences and order is key. He created Adam and then Eve.

Jesus treated women with grace and kindness, do not get me wrong. I mean just look at how He treated the woman at the well, the one who used all of her expensive perfume to cleanse His feet and not to mention His own biological mother! He has a truly unique place in his heart for women, but He also has special intentions for us in the world and in the family setting.

We are to submit to our husbands.

We are to be energetic, strong, and a hard worker.

We are to be busy and helpful to those in need.

We are to be fearless.

All of this is explicitly laid out by God in Proverbs 31.

We are not to be equal to our male counterparts. Jesus does not lay out the Proverbs 31 man, but He rather lays out the Proverbs 31 woman.

A husband or man is to be the head of the household as Christ is to the church.

A man is to love a woman so deeply that represents how he loves himself.

A man is to leave his father and mother.

Women and men are not equal in God's eyes, but they each represent Him in their own ways that the other needs.

If we were all equal, we would not need one another and therefore we would not need God. I am so thankful that we were not created equal. I am so thankful that God is so great that He could not just create only man or woman to represent His image. He is so perfect.

So, you see I am not a feminist, and it is OK.

It is acceptable for me to have this belief that God intended for men to lead women. It is also okay for people to have differing opinions. Writing this was not easy, but I know that not all people agree.

To feminists and those that are not, you are allowed to believe whatever you wish but have evidence to back it up.

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Terrors Behind "Toddlers & Tiaras" - Beauty Pageants Need To Go!

Why Honey Boo Boo is not the girl we should be idolizing...

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Honey Boo Boo is famous for her extravagant persona, extreme temper tantrums, overwhelming attitude, and intense sassiness. All of these qualities are shared by many other young girls who participate in beauty pageants - not just in "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" but also in TLC's notorious "Toddlers & Tiaras," a show that depicts the horrors of little girls who have dedicated their childhood to winning the crown.

These shows, and the pageants they glorify do nothing but force girls to grow up too quickly, send negative messages to viewers and participants and pose health risks for the girls involved.

Therefore, beauty pageants for young girls should be abolished.

The hypersexualization that takes place in these pageants is staggering. Not only are young girls' minds molded into having a superficial view on beauty, but they are also waxed, spray-tanned, given wigs, retouched in pictures, injected with Botox and fillers, and painted with fake abs and even breasts.

Sexy is the goal, not cute. Girls of ages 2-12 wear skimpy clothing, accentuating only their underdeveloped bodies. A 4-year-old girl on "Toddlers and Tiaras" once impersonated Dolly Parton with fake breasts, another dressed as Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman (so basically, a prostitute), and another even pretended to smoke a cigarette to look like Sandy from Grease.

In Venezuela, people are so obsessed with pageants that they send their daughters to "Miss Factories," to train them to win. At these factories, underage girls undergo plastic surgery and hormone therapy to delay puberty in attempts to grow taller. In addition, they often get mesh sewn onto their tongues so that they are physically incapable of eating solid food. This idea of taking horrific measures to look slimmer is not unique to Venezuela. A former Miss USA explained that she would "slather on hemorrhoid ointment, wrap herself up with Saran wrap, and run on a treadmill with an incline for 30 minutes to tighten her skin and waist up." Many countries, including France and Israel have banned child beauty pageants because it is "hypersexualizing." Why has the US yet to follow in their footsteps?

Additionally, the pageants strip their young contestants of a childhood by basically putting them through harsh child labor. Oftentimes, girls as young as 18 months old participate in pageants. There is no way that a girl under 2 years old has the capacity to decide for herself that she wants to participate in a beauty pageant. Not to mention, education often takes a backseat in pageant girls' lives as long practice sessions interfere with sleep and homework. This causes long-term distress for the contestants, including widespread unemployment for former pageant girls.

Moreover, these pageants tie self-worth and self-esteem to attractiveness. They teach girls that natural beauty and intelligence are not enough, when in actuality they should be doing the opposite. In fact, 72% of pageant girls hire coaches to train girls to be more "attractive."

Finally, these pageants pose potent health risks for the girls competing. Not only do intense rehearsals interfere with their sleep cycles, but they are also impacted by the harmful methods taken to keep them awake. One example is Honey Boo Boo's "go go juice" - AKA a mixture of Mountain Dew and Red Bull. She is known for drinking this continuously throughout pageant days to stay awake and energetic - but the health risks associated with the drinks, let alone for such a young girl, are completely ignored.

And, the future health problems associated with pageantry cannot be looked past. Participating in beauty pageants as kids leads to eating disorders, perfectionism, depression - in fact, at least 6% suffer from depression while competing. "The Princess Syndrome," as Psychology Today calls it relates to a small study published in 2005 that showed that former childhood beauty pageant contestants had higher rates of body dissatisfaction. This sense of dissatisfaction can so easily be translated to more severe mental and physical health issues, including depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. The average BMI (Body Mass Index) of a Beauty Contestant in the US in 1930 was 20.8, which is universally in the middle of the "healthy" range. In 2010, it was 16.9, which is considered underweight for anyone.

So, despite the entertainment these shows and pageants provide, they should most definitely be stopped due to the immense amount of issues they cause for those involved and those who watch.

Although Honey Boo Boo is (sadly) considered one of America's sweethearts, her experience in pageantry has certainly not been a positive influence in her life nor in the lives of her fans - and this is the case for nearly all young pageant girls.

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