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Boy, keep your opinions to yourself!

by Jessica Kautz 10 months ago in Humanity · updated 7 months ago
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This is a polarizing subject but, we must ask why men think they have dominion over a woman's body because I will never understand this. I will also never understand why the male population thinks it's their God-given right to have an opinion over what we're allowed to do with our bodies...

"Shame is the lie someone told you about yourself." - Anaïs Nin

This is a polarizing subject but, we must ask why men think they have dominion over a woman’s body because I will never understand this. I will also never understand why the male population thinks it’s their God-given right to have an opinion over what we’re allowed to do with our bodies…

This is a subject that needs to be broached; it’s not a comfortable one but, we must reflect upon why men think they can tell women what they should do with their bodies or why the male population thinks they are entitled to an ongoing, open-ended plethora of opinions on a female’s body in the first place. I can see your wheels spinning & your nostrils beginning to flare so before you entertain visions of pitchforks & Planned Parenthood clinics, I am not referring to abortions, although I am very pro choice; no, I’m talking about how women present themselves to the world. I had a “well-meaning friend” message me the other day on a social media platform saying that he was concerned that I was becoming what he thought was too thin. First of all, really bud? You’re concerned for my health & you thought you’d play armchair psychiatrist/doctor in an instant message? Classy. So, as my blood boiled, I was thinking (out loud I may add), actually no, I am a healthy weight for the first time in my adult life thank you very much! I mean really? Do guys just not have better things to do than write their exes or female friends lectures, *cough* I mean “messages” to berate & belittle us & undermine our self-confidence? Isn’t it enough that we get constant criticism blaring from all other areas of our lives like a bullhorn? You’re too fat! You’re too skinny! You’re too hairy, too flat-chested, too _____. It’s ENOUGH! Just STOP. Your words do not need to be heard. Your pathetic, sexist opinions & notions are not warranted & certainly do not need to be validated by the hypocrisy of your super duper “bro code”, thank you very much.

So, you can imagine that when I received this message, it triggered in me an outrage because it took me right back to my childhood & early adult years where everything & I mean everything regarding my value was hinged on my weight & how I presented myself as a female to the world. The total sum of my weight was equal to my value as a person. I was told that if I didn’t achieve certain physical goals, I was not worthy—not worthy enough to participate in certain activities, certainly not thin enough or pretty enough to wear the clothes I wanted. I remember being told: “When you’re older and prettier you will _____.” Again, fill in the blanks, like my life would somehow magically begin anew if and when my seemingly disgusting physical appearance changed. I look back at pictures of myself as a child & teenager now and see a completely healthy, not fat, young woman & all I can see is utter sadness because in my house, women were to be seen & not heard. Act like a lady was a phrase I heard often after my father died [cue vomit].

I can remember one of my brothers telling my mom before my oldest brother’s graduation: “Ew mom, you can’t let her wear that!” [referring to a perfectly acceptable navy blue sleeveless dress I had on] “She needs to cover her arms!” And in this mortifying moment, in front of all his friends, being 13 years old, I was told to put on a sweater, in May to cover arms that were deemed perfectly acceptable to be front & center during basketball or track practices but, not for a graduation. You’re thinking, well, get over it…it’s a long time ago but, it was these unbelievably harmful things like this that constantly deflated what little self-confidence I could even muster up at that time & unfortunately these words haunted my decision-making regarding food & body image for decades. How can you protect yourself from the monsters when the monsters live among you?

And so I soldiered on & kept an ostensibly brave face & fought hard against the male chauvinism both in my family & in my career because I believe women are equal to men & I believe that the way we look has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not we are worthy in this life! So imagine my dismay, the stomach-drop feeling it induced, when this old friend felt it was his duty, no, his obligation & RIGHT to inform me that in some way my body was inadequate. You would think they would’ve stopped messaging me after I graciously ignored the first two bits of dross I received but no, they kept going on. How embarrassing.

“Life is truly known only to those who suffer, lose, endure adversity and stumble from defeat to defeat.”

– Anaïs Nin

But I digress, what men seem to not equate or compute in their minds is what appearance means to a woman: Abuse, neglect, dysfunction in whatever forms it comes eventually leading to eating disorders & self-harm—I have suffered with these things since I was 12 years old & it’s not okay that men find it their moral obligation to crush a woman’s spirit. You as a male in general do NOT need to subject the female population to your opinions on weight or beauty & what is acceptable to you. You have no idea what your words can trigger; how they can make a female’s psyche completely spiral, so please, just do everyone a favor & keep your opinions to yourself.

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent!” & I took that to heart at a very young age. I rallied against the male chauvinism that I grew up in & it cost me dearly. To be a strong-minded woman in this world is not easy; it can be very lonely but, I would take that loneliness over complicity in domination over my being in any way whatsoever any day of the week. Take your well-meaning words & slay your own dragons dude!


About the author

Jessica Kautz

I’m a writer who truly enjoys history, genealogy, & bringing truth to light. Real journalism is about research & the guts to tell the truth at all costs.

Favorite subjects of study include: Female health rights, genealogy, & royal legacies.

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