Sometimes I hate being a woman

Sometimes I hate being a woman.

I hate that women’s empowerment is somehow inherently tied to our sexualities and our sex organs, the parts that other people depower and label and sexualize for their own benefit.

I hate that women’s worths are judged primarily on their appearances. I hate that women empower other women mainly through their appearances, that we are all expected to chase the impossible standard of “beauty” shoved in our faces that is constantly warping and shifting and changing into something unrecognizable, even if it is for the better; I hate that we are told to love ourselves and our differences when the women we look up to all look a certain way, that we aren’t allowed to be confident and unattractive without someone telling us that a little makeup goes a long way.

I hate that women are either too skinny or too fat, too curvy or not curvy enough, too tall or too short, or too desperate or too bitchy and hard-to-get. I hate that women have to be attractive to be respected, have to wear makeup to not be ugly but not so much makeup that they’re trying too hard.

I hate that the exposed body is called inherently sexual, that covered-up skin is called unconfident, that trying hard to have the perfect combination of both is called boring and anti-feminist. I hate that tight dresses and shorts skirts get catcalls and slut-shaming, that loose sweaters and headscarves get catcalls and prude-shaming, and that no matter what we wear, someone might decide that a woman’s body is theirs for the taking and abuse it.

I hate that women are taught to hate themselves and all other women, that women are taught to pit other women against each other to gain the respect of men, that we can’t be both feminine and strong, or both masculine and attractive, or everything all at once.

I hate that being a woman involves an implicit contradiction of what you want to do and what you are told to do, what you should do and what you desire, how you feel and how you are told to feel.

Sometimes I hate being a woman, but I can’t imagine myself being anything else.