A Woman’s Sexuality Should be Hers Alone

BY STEPHANIE BERTOLO

On International Women’s Day last Tuesday, we highlighted the accomplishments of countless women throughout history and called attention to the desperate need for continued progress towards gender equality. There are so many issues that women face on a daily basis solely because of their gender. One that I have personally faced time and time again is the constant control of society over a women’s sexuality and the ways in which it affects all other aspects of a woman’s life.

The persistent sexualization of my femininity was especially apparent during my time working as a gas station cashier since I was sixteen years old.

“Smile,” exclusively men would say to me and my female coworkers. This was often followed by a comment like, “You look prettier when you do.” To them, my emotions had no value in the face of my aesthetic appeal. Some people have suggested that perhaps these customers were just trying to be cheerful. But the fact of the matter is that if a woman is not smiling for whatever reason, it unsettles some men so much that they have to tell them to alter their behaviour. Why? Continue reading

Finding My Voice

BY RACHEL WONG

Growing up, it was always made clear to me who my superiors were. I was aware of them, whether they acknowledged me or not. In work situations, I would put my head down and follow instructions in order to gain their approval. I would not complain or whine, I would just do. If they acknowledged me, I spoke little; addressing them with utmost respect and never boring them with more than they needed to hear. I would be invisible.

My childhood upbringing solidified this idea that I was, and am, invisible. As a child, I was bullied ruthlessly by a boy who I thought was my friend. I had no idea why – if I had done something to him, I was completely oblivious to it. But deep in my heart of hearts, I knew that I did nothing wrong. In his mind, I was in his way at all times, and he didn’t like that. In fact, he didn’t like me at all.

I felt like I couldn’t tell anyone that this was happening. Realistically, what could my friends have done to stop this guy from passing around a list of reasons as to why I was a slut? I didn’t even know what the word meant at 11 years old. When I did try to discuss it with my teachers, it seldom proved helpful. “Don’t let him get to you, just keep doing your own thing,” they offered. “There will always be tomorrow.”

But with every tomorrow, I was faced with the same taunting, pushing, shoving and name-calling. All of this torment followed me into high school as my bully grew in popularity, and I faded into obscurity.

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I’m Not

By CHelsea ricchio

Originally posted on tumblr here on July 21, 2014.

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When the #yesallwomen hashtag was going around, I 100% agreed with everything women were saying…but I also had a sense of feeling left out, because although I have been taken advantage of emotionally by men, I haven’t been treated like a sexual being all that much. My friends are always shocked to learn that I’ve never been cat called – to that I say to them that I have the body of a 12 year old boy.

But this past weekend it was like everything about #yesallwomen coming true at once. I don’t feel left out any more. It’s true – yes. ALL women. Even me.

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