There are certain words or phrases that become trendy or popular among some groups. It can quickly catch on to everyday speech. For example, the ‘That’s gay’ that ruled many years of my high school career and I don’t even know where it originates from. I only know that it’s extremely offensive because it equates being homosexual with stupid, dumb, or what have you.
It’s a phrase that was better left not being part of society’s vocabulary. Hearing someone use that phrase makes me see red and for good reason. Regardless of what I recognize myself as, I do pride myself on being an open-minded, overall loving of humankind, which includes whatever you wish to be.
Though, when speaking my mind of the hate I feel upon hearing the phrase, I get met with a multitude of reactions that stem from my ‘sensitivity’ and ‘inability to take a joke.’ All jokes aside(which are far too many for something as serious as homophobia), I am an emotionally charged person. I go all out with how I feel and many take it as overreacting. I consider it passionate of what I believe and feel and think. It does not make me weak, or my opinions less valuable, it simply is that I am expressing without shame.
But suppression, as the given example above, is a whole other post and not my current intent. The following phrases are phrases that are related to this blog overall, ones I see far too often, and ones that are still considered the norm. I will give my explanation(read:rant) on why it makes me see red.
[Warning: Some topics may be triggering.]
1) Real Women Have Curves
This is one that has taken a lot of heat lately, for good reason! It’s saying that thin/slender/slim women who are that way either by default physical attributes or hard work don’t qualify as woman. It’s essentially, no, it is thin-shaming. Fat-shaming is huge and all too common, so in turn, many think it okay to ‘stick up for those who have been fat-shamed’ by instead attacking the opposite party.
The term ‘Real Women’ all on its own is pretty bad. It insinuates that you must meet certain requirements to be considered a woman and it usually includes: having a certain amount of fat content, curviness, assets and the like. It’s insulting. While I may be a slim, busty, curvy lady and so by that definition I meet the criteria to be a ‘real woman’, it doesn’t mean I approve of it.
I’m quite liberal in my opinions and living in America is the reason for that. Not the bigoted, close-minded part of America, but the actual part which includes why America was once so upheld for being ‘The Land of the Free.’ I define a woman as any and all who recognize themselves as such, anatomically ‘correct’ or not.* And in my honest opinion, that should be what makes you a woman, a personal choice to be ‘defined’ as such.
2) Leave Some Things to the Imagination
Like we don’t have enough pressure to take things off, but you want us to leave things on so you can get a better image of what we have underneath?
The amount of times that I have heard a phrase that consists of ‘leaving something to the imagination’ or how a man would rather see a woman in lingerie than naked, is just unbelievable. My first thought always is, what is so wrong with the reality of what her body might look like that you feel better off with your imagination?
Does it stem from the amount of porn most men tend to watch? Does it stem from unrealistic standards women are held up to thanks to photoshop and airbrushing? Or does it stem from men’s own insecurities that they place on woman instead?
Now, before anyone says something, I do know not all men think this way. I know plenty of men who want to see me naked, but that also brings up the point of..how do they know they’ll like what they see? Is it because they assume that I am dynamite under my clothing(which I am, by the way) or do they imagine what they’re shown in ads and commercials?
Are men aware of the flaws women have? And is that why they prefer to ‘leave things to the imagination’ so none of their fantasies are demolished with the truth? Would they rather continue to believe that I have smooth skin, flawless curves and whatever else they like? Are men so trained to want perfection that they fear the sight of flabby fat, wobbly bits and far from perfect skin?
This is all speculation as to why so many men have uttered the phrase to some extent. Either way, I’d rather it not uttered towards or about me for multiple reasons and among them being that my naked body is nothing for me to be ashamed of and therefore not care if you’d rather not be spoiled with facts.
3) You Throw Like A Girl
It’s fact that men are anatomically able to produce more muscle and therefore more strength than a woman can. It’s biological, nature, evolution. But that does not mean that equating weak with being a girl is acceptable. Men can be just as weak as women just as some women can be as strong or stronger than some men.
It’s a phrase used to put down the opponent and sometimes even an encouragement to get them to do better. It doesn’t take into account that this is sexist and there’s nothing wrong with being a woman.
I don’t follow sports, I never have really been a fan, but there are some real athletic athletes out there, doing the same thing men can do with just as much skill, talent and strength. Even ‘girly sports’ like cheerleading takes a whole hell lot of strength. I dabbled in it during middle school and regardless of the girl weighing 115lbs, you have to dead lift her from the ground and keep her up there, it wasn’t easy.
Even things that are considered strictly female dominated, such as pole dancing takes strength. Have you ever seen a professional pole dancer? Have you seen the way it takes pure and absolute strength to hold herself up with just her thigh muscles, or arm muscle or whatever other muscle they must have trained hard to strengthen?
My point is, things women do don’t make them weak. Things men can’t do don’t make them weak. All are capable of different things, different strengths and yes, men will surpass women in some things, but it is just as likely to be the other way around.
4) She Should Learn to Lighten Up
This touches lightly on the topic I mentioned in the intro of the post and so won’t go too far in depth with it. Overall, it’s a sexist term. It implies that a woman, any woman, should not let her emotions get in the way. I hear this all the time from my family.
There was a shirt at Wal*Mart that I actually saw someone wearing just a few weeks ago. It said ‘Cool Story, Babe, Now Make Me A Sandwich.’ I did not find it funny in the slightest, nor did I think it’s something that should be acceptable to put on a shirt in a family company. My parents thought it was amusing and told me I should lighten up, in so many words, because it was a joke.
But is it just a joke? Where is the line crossed before it becomes unacceptable to all of society that something sexist, racist, or abusive in some way and is something intolerable?
The phrase above is one that’s used to diminish the seriousness of the topic that ‘bothered the woman’. It’s used to diminish her value and her thoughts and put her down as a second-class citizen. (No one can even tell me that men and women are equal.) While women have come a long way since the times before they couldn’t get a job other than a housewife or teacher(and both are acceptable and wonderful jobs and deserve equal praise for accomplishments as female CEOs obtain,) it simply hasn’t gotten to where we are at the same level and held to the same degree that men are.
5) She Asked For It
That sentence has connotations that can be triggering to many, myself included. I do give fair warning that this phrase will be discussed to some detail that may be bothersome.
Whether this refers to rape or abuse or some other terrible thing that happens to a woman, it’s disgusting. It blames the victim for being just that, a victim. It’s taking the fault from her attacker and placing it on her, using whatever context the attack happened in and directing it at her.
Browsing the internet for phrases for this post, I came across a few ‘jokes’ that nearly had me in tears. They were not only triggering, but they were offensive and disgusting in the most laments of terms. I will not post them here purely because I don’t want the misogynist sexism defiling my blog. But I will give you the link if you find yourself strong enough to read them. (Warning, may be triggering.)
I take a moment from writing to pause and reflect on those jokes that are imprinted upon my memory and still bring tears to my eyes and pain in my heart. The things that are joked about are serious and a terror for most women. Jokes like those, or simply the phrase, are reasons why victims hide, feel shame, and resort to self-harm. Phrases and jokes about things that are damaging to the person make the victim truly believe it was their fault and so they have no right to complain about something they could have avoided.
And now that I write this, I’m not sure how to follow it up as I did with the others. The phrase makes me angry. It upsets me to the deepest part of my core. It’s why I am so adamant, so intensely opinionated, about standing up for those who are afraid to stand up for themselves.
6) I’m Going to Rape You or I Was Raped
Another triggering topic that I warn you of.
Now, not to bring any confusion, these are phrases that I also here in everyday usage that don’t refer to the sexual assault that rape is. It’s used by kids playing video games, with friends who are ‘teasing’, amongst groups of people who are bullying someone. While no actual sexual assault was taken place, it’s the fact that the person using it thought it acceptable.
It’s something that takes the seriousness from actual rapes, from victims. It’s just as bad as the previous phrase, if not worse. The phrase is meant to scare, meant to threaten the other of something that’s perceived as terrible but not obviously enough to where people don’t wish it on others.
I’ve lost friends over the usage of this phrase. I’ve told people, if you can joke about rape, then I cannot be your friend. It’s one thing to be a playful person, but another to wish this horror on others. It’s not a joke and I can’t seem to stress that enough. It’s a nightmare. A nightmare that isn’t taken serious and there is no real accountability for those who commit this crime.
The above mentioned phrases are tiresome to hear, sickening to be used so often and disturbing to be considered the norm. Society, for being so advanced, has the mentality that I wouldn’t equate with being prehistoric simply because it’s behavior that should never have existed.
None of the phrases are jokes. As a friend mentioned, you wouldn’t joke about a child dying would you? It’s something terribly serious and not proper to be joked about. And these phrases fall into the same category.