As women, we have been denied a great many of our rights throughout history: the right to vote, the right to own land, the right to do with our bodies as we want, the right to buy pants that fit over our hips and still fit our waists. We have been trodden on by patriarchal societies since the dawn of history, silenced and beaten down by those who have somehow risen to power. Now, in the 21st century, women have achieved almost equal status by fighting valiantly for centuries for it. We know that we are entitled to the same rights and privileges as our male counterparts.
Yet some women seem to think they are entitled to special treatment, perhaps to make up for centuries of oppression. We sometimes forget that, by treating men as though they are something we found on the sole of our Christian Loboutins in a Carl’s Jr., we are not going to correct the years of wrongdoing and pigheaded sexism that we’ve suffered. Just because we have vaginas (and beautiful ones, I’m sure) doesn’t mean that we can demand respect above and beyond that which we give our peers. And we can sit here and pretend that we’re completely innocent of these crimes of self-entitlement, but I myself have perpetrated each and every one of them at some point. The following are all examples of things we have been told we deserve from others, when in reality we deserve no less nor more than anyone else on this planet:
1) Putting the Seat Down
A request so ubiquitous it has become a pop culture joke: the man of the house constantly leaves the seat up so as to avoid covering it in urine when he pees, and the woman of the house constantly begs him to put it down after he uses the bathroom so that she can sit down without having to touch it.
Yes, biology has cursed us with the need to pee sitting down if we want to avoid making a huge mess and embarrassing ourselves. But why is our seat position more important than our mate’s required position? I get it; nobody wants to touch the toilet seat. It’s grody. But do you really think he wants to touch it? And maybe the next person to use the toilet will be him; then he will have to put it down twice, for no reason. So take one for the team every now and then and just adjust the toilet seat yourself. What, are you not gonna wash your hands afterwards? Girl, that’s nast.
2) Making the First Move
I know a lot of girls who are fine with making the first move in a romantic or sexual situation. And it’s no secret that a lot of guys love a girl confident enough to come up to them and flirt, not to mention their relief that this responsibility doesn’t rest solely on their shoulders. But some women still feel that it is the man’s job to make decisions, to initiate sex, to be the “man of the house.” Listen, sister. Your mother and grandmother and great-grandmother fought for your right to take the initiative here! Why not exercise it?
This issue is especially unresolved when it comes to the marriage proposal, an important step of the relationship that, even in modern American society, is still largely expected to be the man’s role. It’s perceived as downright emasculating for a man to BE proposed to by a woman. But why? If all things are truly equal, you should be allowed to propose to a man and be taken seriously, so go ahead and do it. Don’t wait for him to get his shit together, because that could take years.
3) Lying to Spare Our Feelings
If a man asks if these pants make him look fat, he probably wants an honest answer, and he’ll probably get one. In fact, it’s even acceptable to tell a man he looks fat in those pants even if he didn’t ask. If a woman asks the same question, she often doesn’t want an honest answer, and even if she does, she’s not going to get one if the answer is anything close to a “Yes.” It’s known as “fishing for compliments,” and it’s a practice often utilized as a weapon by insecure people. Don’t be that girl.
Here is my proposal: stop asking questions you’re not prepared for an honest answer to. That way, you can enjoy the same honesty with other people. Just because you are a lady does not mean people are required to lie to you. If you ask if your nose job makes you prettier, you’d better be prepared for an answer to your question, whether you like it or not.
4) Carrying Things
It’s not out of line to ask someone to help you with a physical task if you need help. It has nothing to do with being a woman, either; a man is fully justified in asking a stronger man to help him lift something he needs help lifting. There’s no shame in receiving assistance with something. It doesn’t make you a weaker person. If I can’t get a box back up on a shelf, I ask my boyfriend to do it, and I don’t feel like less of a woman for it.
Here’s what I don’t do: I don’t feign weakness in order to guilt him into being my slave. I don’t make him carry my purse, my shopping bags, or my sweater. He is my boyfriend, not my pack mule, and I am not a princess who can’t lift a paper clip. If you drag your husband on shopping trips just because he is a sturdy coat rack, you are not treating him with respect. You are taking advantage of him. Helplessness is not attractive, it’s pathetic. So instead of showing him how much of a damsel in distress you are, show him how much iron you’ve been pumping by carrying all those bags yourself. Your ancestors would be proud!