COLUMN: Recognizing women’s value and taking back our narrative

Women have been led astray for centuries about how to govern our bodies and sexualities. No longer should we stand to be devalued and kept a secret.
Graphic by Michelle Gutierrez

Faith Brown is a freshman psychology major at MU. She is an opinion columnist who writes about introspective takes on modern society for The Maneater.

Let’s talk about sex. No, not the Salt-N-Pepa song from the ‘90s, but rather the female sex.

MU has graced me with the opportunity to take a Women’s and Gender Studies class, which everyone can genuinely benefit from. I’ve always had an idea of what feminism stood for, but it wasn’t until this class that I came to understand just how many movements women went through to crush sexism in society.

Taking the Women’s and Gender Studies class has opened my eyes to a plethora of things. One being the importance of understanding and acting in accordance with feminism, and the fact that sheltering people from education on the female sex is universal. I have realized that even women are being kept in the dark about our anatomy.

Women’s bodies are still a mystery to the vast majority of society, yet we are expected to give it away when asked. When women express control over our own bodies, we are shamed for it as though we should “know better” than to go beyond what’s expected. Feminism aims to destroy this backward way of thinking.

Feminism is defined in the Encyclopedia Britannica as “the belief in social, economic, and political equality of the sexes.” It seems simple enough that we as a society should be able to achieve such goals, yet women are still being sidelined and given unjust rules to follow universally.

Feminism is much more than just supporting women’s’ rights, it includes also understanding what contributes to women being rejected by a patriarchal society and taking true action toward fixing sexism.

Sexism is deeply rooted in hypocrisy. It’s illogical to say to women are only good for sexual relations, then damn them for acting in accordance with such ludacris expectations. Society has embedded in the minds of women that we should contain ourselves in a neat box of purity for the sake of reputation.

It’s easy for us to forget our worth when our sexual identities are placed above the integrity of our minds. Even with sexual identities being placed above all other aspects of womanhood, women’s sexualities are marginalized and rejected for the sake of preserving old-fashioned, oppressive views.

It’s not helpful that what little we’re taught about women’s sexuality and bodies in books is from a cis-gendered male point of view. Early documents and books on the female sex were written by men who had no idea how the female body functioned as a whole. This male-centric and skewed miseducation lead to the issue of women contributing to sexism against ourselves.

Unfortunately, men are not the only contributors to the patriarchal view so heavily imposed on women. We believe the lies we are told about our beautiful bodies and our sexuality and pass that along from generation to generation. Without even knowing it, women can continue the ever-present cycle of depreciating the value of women in society.

The narrative of our bodies and our sexuality — as well as everything else that belongs to us — is in our hands. We cannot and will not be trapped any longer.

The chains of the patriarchy must never hold a woman down, never again.

We cannot continue to allow misogyny and patriarchal castes to tell us who we ought to be. This is why feminism exists, to bring women together to erase the limitations placed on our bodies. We don’t need to take power away to gain power. We already harness so much of it in ourselves. It’s as the ever-elusive Drake said in his song “0 to 100”: “Know yourself, know your worth.”

*Let the record show that this article refers to anyone who identifies as female and does not exclude those of varying genders and identities.

As part of the fight against racial injustice, The Maneater is encouraging readers to donate to The Audre Lorde Project, an LGBTQIA+ foundation working toward the social and economic justice of LGBTQIA+ people of color. Donate at: https://alp.org

Edited by Sofi Zeman | szeman@themaneater.com

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