I found the following very interesting article linked to VoiceinRecovery’s Twitter page. It is titled: One Word: Deconstructing Three-Hundred Years of Female Images by Carolina Medelin, a student at The University of Tampa. Following please find her intriguing piece:

“In 2004, Franco-Colombian feminist-activist Florence Thomas wrote a column on beauty pageants and the depiction of women. In her article, she only listed words. Nearly 5 years after, I can now understand what she meant. After seeing the way women were dressed during Halloween, I was inspired to write this. Sometimes, the right words are enough to describe the role women play in society nowadays. Only words. Those are my words; this is my protest.

1800’s. Home. Housekeeping. Marriage. Children. Father. Husband. Son. Corporal punishment. Marital Rape. No Voice. No Vote. No School. Financial dependence.
Submission? Submission.

Susan B. Antony. Elizabeth Cady Staton. Lucy Stone. Henry Blackwell. National American Women Suffrage Association.

1900’s. Work. Workforce. Job. Underpaid. Boss. ‘Men’s world’. School. College. ‘Not-like-men’. Pregnancy. Kids. Raising Kids. Leaving School. Leaving Work. Social Role. Social stigma. Miss. Mrs.
Submission? Discrimination.

Margaret Sanger. Birth Control. Right to Vote. Eleanor Roosevelt. Betty Friedan. The Feminine Mystique. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Divorce. Equal Pay Act. Title IX.
2000’S. Sex. Abortion. Object. Ads. Beer. Cars. Object. Body. Boobs. Ass. Legs. Hair. Image. Object. Mirror. Looks. Blonde hair. Blue eyes. Barbie Doll. Object. Gym. Calories. Diet. Anorexia. Bulimia. Cigarettes. Object. Tight Pants. Short Skirts. Small Dresses. Object. High Heels. Make-Up. Sexual Image. Cosmopolitan. Sexual Object. Slut. Hook-up. Morning-After pill. Object. Temptation. Object. Eve. Apple. Eve. Object. Object. Object. Object.

Submission? Slavery.

When is our fight going to end? I want my dignity back.”

*****

Although I have a lot to say about this article from a women’s studies perspective, I feel compelled to share something more personal than the litany of things I could say about gender roles, etc. I found it particularly poignant that Ms. Medelin repeatedly referenced the word “object” in her description of the role of women in our new millennium. I feel like a sexual object, although no longer necessarily that of a man’s. I have always felt this way. It has less to do with the actual physical acts of sexuality than the fact that I do not exist unless I am part of another. I have an insatiable need to be desired sexually and for companionship, or I feel empty and without purpose. I have been struggling with this concept since I became aware of this incongruent belief about two years ago.

I am an intelligent woman, I have a delightful presence, warm & yet witty sense of humor [all of these are qualities I have been told, if they are true, it’s still hard for me to swallow]. I have a lot more to offer the world than simply my body. Yet, because of the incest I was victim to from age 3 until, I’m not sure when (thank you repressed memories-I both love you for protecting me and hate you for many other reasons), I feel as though my primary role in society is to give my body unto, whomever. I think it is tragic. At 27, I am trying to learn how to exist in my own skin. After several years of therapy (sans my parents!) which I started when I started medical school, I have come to finally accept that I do deserve the space I “take up” in a room (which isn’t so much physical space as much as intangible space needed for my personality if you’ve met me). I have learned to respect myself enough to establish boundaries with other people, friends, family, intimate partners alike–because I MATTER. I have at least a morsel of self-esteem. And, to be honest, it frightens me. Changing my definition in the world from silently suffering (and smiling) victim/pawn to my own person is a grand leap from the programming I was fed for a quarter of a century. So I sit here with tears streaming down my face because I am losing my  identity as “object” and actualizing into “person” who deserves self-respect, and I’m scared of my “newest label”.

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