All around us today, women have seen injustice. In fact, they have been seeing it for hundreds of years. What happened to the days when women were seen as equals among men and were welcomed as leaders, and sought after for guidance? For all men talk about a woman’s inferiority, some of the greatest monarch’s in the world have been women. Look at Great Britain: Queens Elizabeth I, Victoria and Elizabeth II have been among the greatest rulers in the world. Cleopatra ruled over Ancient Egypt for over 40 years as one of the countries three greatest queens. “In an era when Egypt was roiled by internal and external battles, Cleopatra held the country together and proved to be as powerful a leader as any of her male counterparts.” Catherine II (commonly known as Catherine the Great) ruled over Russia for almost 50 years after staging a coup to overthrow her abusive husband, who had lost the support of his country due to his own ego and lust (Biography.com), and let’s not forget Joan of Arc who led the French Army from 1429 to 1431 until she was burned at the stake after being found guilty of being a relapsed heretic by the Church (Women in World History).
With all these powerful women it makes me wonder what has happened to the opinion of women today. If you’ve been paying attention at all to the rest of the world, women are facing persecution for being nothing more than female. In Saudi Arabia, some restaurants have hung signs that ban entry to single women. The problem, they say, is “flirting”. Flirting by who I wonder? Are men acting inappropriate when single women enter the restaurants or are these single women, out with their friends for a bite to eat, just like the single men, flirting with the opposite sex? In an article from the BBC, a restaurant owner is quoted as saying, “We’ll only remove these signs when we make sure such incidents never happen again on our premises.” I would like to ask that restaurant owner why he felt banning women, rather than men, was the appropriate answer. I understand different cultures view interactions between men and women differently, but why is the inappropriate action always the fault of the woman? And if that’s not the case, then why do the women still get penalised?
I remember, in high school, that girls were always told that our straps had to be three fingers thick, our shorts longer than the reach of our fingertips and our décolletage never exposed so that we would not be a distraction to the boys in class. We were always told it was not fair to the boys in school who were going through changes and could not control themselves. Did anyone think to teach the boys that controlling themselves was how they become men? Why do women have to be protective of the male emotion and sensitivity to the curve of a woman’s body? Now there is a line between showing a little extra leg and letting it all hang out, but that should be a woman’s problem not a man’s. This kind of attitude infers that the responsibility of preventing male sexual outburst, is firmly at women’s feet and is dangerous for both genders and, in my opinion, a leading cause of the issues that surround rape today.
The, “she was asking for it” and “the man was provoked” response is disgusting and inexcusable. You could say the same for any crime; “They’re poor so they have to steal,” or “they don’t know any better, that’s why they do drugs.” Educating the world on these issues is how we effect change. And it’s not just men that need an attitude adjustment.
When you constantly tell a girl that it is her job to cover up in front of a man and that men are not responsible for their actions towards women they grow up thinking they are inferior. So when a girl gets raped by one of these uncontrollable beasts it must have been her fault. Recently, police in Hungary released rape prevention advice stating that flirting could “elicit violence” and women should avoid such actions. Again, why can’t a woman express interest in the male gender without the fear of being raped?
I have to wonder, if men are so incapable of “keeping it in their pants” then why are they the “superior sex”? Women don’t go around raping men when flirted with. Women don’t seem to have issues of uncontrollable sexual reactions when men wear a tailored suit or flash a dashing smile and a wink. When two girls who were being harassed on a bus in India fought back against their predators, why did no one stand up to help them? Why did no one else think this was wrong and why did it take government action to remove the bus driver from his post? India finds itself among the top five counties where rape is the most common crime. The worst part is that men known to the victim make up 98% of the reported cases and that every 22 minutes a woman is raped in India according to Wonderlist.com. That means that someone trusted by these women betrayed them, for what? Because they couldn’t control themselves? Because the woman dared to be a woman?
Again, this problem comes from an attitude that woman are inferior. When they dare to educate themselves and build a voice, men are threatened and believe it is in their right to tear those women down. But what about in developed countries where women are regularly educated and it is not uncommon to see women in positions of power?
Women achieve 60% of all Undergrad and Master’s Degrees in the US according to Americanprogress.org and yet one in six US women experienced an attempted or completed rape in their life. According to RAINN.org one woman is raped every two minutes in the US. This cannot stand and these boys need to be reprimanded, not the girl who was passed out in the corner of a party.
Rape is definitely one of the most troubling topics of gender inequality, but the road to fixing it is long and starts from an early point in the education of both girls and boys. With help from figures in the public eye, schools and parents, girls and boys can grow up as equals and learn that they can achieve the same things and will achieve the same things. We should be teaching that for boys to be considered men, they have to learn to take control of their own lives just like women have learned to do and are still learning. Women need to band together to help those without a voice find one and attitudes towards women need to change now.
I want to have a daughter someday and I want her to grow up in a world where she knows she can do whatever she wants. I don’t want her to feel she needs a man to protect her from the world and that it’s her job to save boys from themselves. I want to have a son someday who thinks that being a man means treating others with respect and believing that a girl can accomplish all the same things that he can without being intimidated to the point where he needs to diminish her. I plan on bringing up my kids this way and I hope for a day that everyone around the world does so too. These changes are happening, but not fast enough. I think we need to be louder. We need to vote for changes where we can and protect each other’s rights as women. We need to get men involved in our fight and show that it is not just a woman’s battle but a people’s battle. One we’re fighting across the globe.