There’s been an article burning at my fingertips for the past few weeks, but it was only after hearing a woman relate a beautiful yet traumatic experience about how invisible she was made to feel by society that the words started tumbling out.
Women make up half of the world’s population and that’s a lot of people to ignore. That’s a lot of experiences to negate. And yet looking through articles from the past few weeks, I remain aghast at some of the things happening locally which fail to elicit more than a passing whimper.
Reading an article about catcalling and harassment, I was reminded of how commonplace they remain despite an increase in awareness. Sometimes, I get the sneaking suspicion that it is only those who are already aware of things or have been through them themselves who become more aware; perhaps all we are doing is writing for the few who already know what we are saying.
I find myself thinking of all the awful situations that I’ve been through myself, being followed home when I went to run an errand for my mother when I was nine, being almost physically carried off a bus stop by a man I didn’t know when I was 14, being painfully and purposefully pressed into my bus seat on my way to school when I was 16. The list goes on and on, and all I have been given in return is fear, confusion, and the belief that somehow, I need to make myself smaller and more invisible to be left alone. Being a woman always ends up feeling inconvenient unless you are happy to be a quiet victim.
This is not the kind of world that you should want to leave for your daughters– Anna Marie Galea
Even in childbirth and its aftermath, we are ignored. The same week that the aforementioned article came out, another horrifying story emerged of a woman who had been sewn up too tightly after giving birth. This woman had endured 10 months of pain, but her surgery was deemed not to be urgent, so she was left to languish.
It took her going to the press, which must have continued to compound her trauma, for her to be offered free emergency surgery by a private hospital. I struggle to understand how things like these still happen and how there is so little empathy for those going through them.
This month’s bad track record of disregarding or in this case even jeering at the female voice reached its culmination with a bunch of people deciding that it would be prudent to leave laugh emojis and disparaging comments on articles about a local trans woman being beaten. I have no idea what possesses people to be gratuitously nasty to strangers, but here we are in 2021 clearly still not having the kind of education that is needed for this type of ignorance to be stamped out. It seems like it’s not only TVM’s new logo which is 30 years behind what it could be.
The more time I spend alive in this body and this gender, the more I realise the importance of sharing my experiences and not allowing myself to be dragged out to sea by the expectations that society has laid down for me over generations of misguided misogyny and fear. Without a history, without telling our stories and those of others, we are doomed to remain static, two-dimensional beings that others can impose their beliefs on – wholly belonging to others and never to ourselves. This is not the kind of world that you should want to leave for your daughters. They should not have to be “brave” to be seen.
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