CULTURE

It really must suck being a woman

By Cobus Fourie

It really must suck being a woman. I mean, women are being objectified literally all of the time. You cannot switch on the tv without seeing some model-actress promoting some “new and improved” product to make you look, feel, seem, and smell absolutely fabulous. All of these advertising props are size zero (I don’t even know what a “size zero” is to be completely honest). No wonder evils like anorexia and bulimia are quite rife in the female population.

Anorexia and bulimia are starting to rise to dangerous levels amongst men as well, and not only gay men. Many straight men also fall ill to the ailment of our quite sick Hollywood-glam culture. Men are being bombarded with how-tos and 20-step programmes in GQ and Men’s Health. “Great abs in 20 minutes”, “Have sex like a porn star”, all of these are released on the hapless, aspiring everyday man leaving a feeling of guilt, worthlessness and ineptitude in the poor reader. Do these magazines really want to make you be “the man that you could be”? No, they’re in the business of selling advertising space. Methinks the same principle applies to women.

Back to women. Besides being portrayed as a man’s toy and subjugated, subservient object to be devoured by eyes at the least, women really have a raw deal. How much must it suck to have PMS, to have to endure ridiculously macabre and obscene childbirth reminiscent of the dark ages. How rancid it is to be subjected to sexual harassment. And I am probably not even aware of all the other social ills.

For a mere two days I “manned” a station at the Systems Support call centre. And I found myself appalled, nauseous, disgusted and demoralised. It was an experiment to discern the working conditions of female employees. I took on a female name and tried to sound as “female” as possible. Great fun, and no, I didn’t cross-dress. Had I to wear something as restrictive as a bra and stockings and hideously uncomfortable shoes I would’ve told everyone I quit. No thanks, I’d rather be a man.

So calls came in. A certain “Steven” phoned and immediately the misogynist language poured in. I was everything from “precious sweetie darling” to “beautiful”. I didn’t appreciate. Since when do men think they have free licence to speak to women like that? I was thinking, “who the fuck said you can call me that?” Nevertheless, I said “fuck” a lot between phone calls and threw my proverbial toys out of the cot a couple of times. I was very glad that this experiment only lasted for a very brief time, I have not the patience to endure objectification and subservience. For good taste’s sake I left out the vast majority of crude and sick epithets.

Some say it’s a Man’s World. It seems despite the amazing Constitution we have, placing so much emphasis on gender equality, the mindset of Joe Public is pretty much still horribly chauvinist and patriarchal. It might suck to be a woman but it taught me that women are strong and resilient of character and blossom in the face of disrespect and adversity, and that, I noticed and greatly admire.

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