The place from which to fight

This video, I HATE being a Girl, hit a strong note.  So although I came across it today at gendertrender, I decided to write about it here.

I hated being a girl, too.  I still hate having been a girl.  I can’t rewrite that.  Being a girl was rough.  And when as a girl I looked around me at the adult women in my life, I didn’t want to be them either.  In the small world in which I grew up, that was primarily my mother, mocked by my father, constantly, for how she spoke, what she thought.  My mother cried a lot, privately.  I know that because I sometimes stumbled on her, and she would be angry at me and tell me to go away and not talk about it.

By the time I was in high school, I had already been molested, stalked, a victim of an attempted abduction, and sexually harassed (all by different men).  By college, I had already fended off two rape attempts, was fondled by a university employee, was again a victim of stalking, and was a victim of sexual abuse by a physician in his exam room.

I hated my girl body.  Hated it.  It was the nexus of so much pain.  The only part of my body I liked was what I called my “boy butt.”  Small and unfleshy.  I would use a hand mirror to look over my shoulder at a larger mirror to admire it.  Everything else, I hated.

Fast forward three decades.  I love my woman’s body.  My misunderstandings from youth—that the problem was my having a female body—have all eroded through the process of fighting back.  Not just fighting back against the rapists or filing charges against the university employee but also through personal, internal fighting back.  Although I can identify flashes of fighting back as far back as my memories go, it wasn’t until my thirties that I truly began to understand that “the problem” did not originate in my body.  It was something very large and very insidious.  It was something that hated that I was a woman, and wanted me to hate that core part of myself, too.

That systemic hatred of women–reinforced over and over in patriarchy through rape, incest, domestic violence, and even the simplicity of media and advertising—absorbs so deeply into our psyches that it makes us turn on ourselves.  Some women cut.  Some women starve themselves.  Some women kill themselves.  Some women ask a doctor to take a knife and cut off their breasts and carve out their vaginas.

The beautiful, intelligent young woman in this video wants to be a man because “you wouldn’t have to worry about so many different things.”  Yes, women do have to worry about many, many things.  But we are women, and that is the place from which to take a stand and fight.


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