Did She Ask For It? The Rape Paradox and My Experiences of Sexism in the Family

When a woman wears skimpy clothes, does it mean she wants to be raped? I don’t think so. You see, my logic is this. Society bombards a woman with hundreds of ads each day telling her that she needs to be prettier, sexier, and if she does not achieve perfection, she’s not good enough. You want us to dress sexy? Fine. Now we wear sexy clothes and then suddenly people say we do not respect ourselves but isn’t it the media that pressures us to do this? That our appearance matters so much that we must use up lots of time, money and effort in order to achieve what an “ideal” woman must look like? I see a paradox here. Woman must look sexy to please your eyes. Woman does what society dictates is pretty and suddenly she gets told that she’s asking to be raped, not respecting herself, etc.

Media depicts women showing more and more skin as time passes. I am not a conservative person but I do think that the way women are portrayed in media is dehumanizing. I’m sorry for the term but I feel as if we are being turned into objects and I don’t like it. We live in a patriarchal society and the fight for women’s rights is not over. Far from it. I wouldn’t even mind living in a patriarchal society if the disparity wasn’t so large but it is. Less pay, more biases, pressures and risks of being in danger. I can’t even go out at night without fearing I could get robbed or worse. I hate it.

 Sometimes I wish I were born a boy just so my mom won’t worry about my safety. She never gets this worked up over my brother. I wanted a motorcycle. I asked my mom for one and she says no. Of course, living in the Philippines, reckless drivers is a limitless supply we have. It doesn’t help that every time I ask for one, we always pass by a motorcycle accident. A man’s head is bleeding, a dead body, or two drivers arguing. There is also a lack of female drivers. What is the fruit of all my weeks of begging? My mom considers giving my brother a motorcycle. I was furious! I went on about how this is sexist, unfair, I’m the one who’s been begging so why should he get one but not me? Yes, it was childish but in my head, my actions were justified. My brother is given a lot of leeway if he wants to leave the house but since he’s a recluse gamer, he doesn’t take advantage of it. I, on the other hand, feel like a prisoner. I must inform my mother of every single detail whenever I leave. Who are my friends, where did I meet them, what are their numbers, how are you going there, how you are going home, etc. Most of the time, I lie. It is an art that I have perfected and a necessary skill to go anywhere.

One of the things she’s worried most is whenever I take the taxi. She is bombarded with news of what happens to girls who take the taxi from her friends and the media. So, during the few times I make the mistake of telling her I am in one, she calls every five minutes. I am not exaggerating. She really does it and my friends were there to witness it. She would rather I wait for 2-3 hours for the family driver than take the jeep, train or god forbid, a cab. She cannot protect me forever. If anything, she suffocates me. I understand that she loves me and stuff but still, the disparity between the freedom she gives me and my brother is really far.

I want to end this but I know that she’s too closed minded to let me go. So, I would rather leave her as soon as I graduate. I know it will be expensive and hard, but at least I no longer have a leash. Though whenever I mention of me moving out, she tries to deter me or say she’ll move her residence only a few minutes away from mine or I must call her every day. Though she does not express the same hesitation with my brother leaving.

 

 

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