On my quest in becoming a better person (or rather a better woman, or even more specifically a better black woman) I’ve found that the ridiculous expectations and standards placed on women are just that, ridiculous-and that I have to do better and stop constantly placing them on other women. This is nothing new for me, I’ve been working on this for years. Yes, YEARS. Because unlearning a lifetime of terrible behavior is difficult in a society that is so embedded with these things. Difficult- yes, impossible-no.
I think Tinder became popular at my high school when I was a junior. A couple of my then really good friends used the app to hook up with older men in exchange for money or drugs. One of them simply wanted to see how many different men she could have sex with and boasted about the different guys every time we talked.
I judged them so harshly because I thought they were gross. I didn’t understand why they would want to be so flippant with their bodies and then eventually I realized that my opinion about them or their actions didn’t matter. Especially considering that their actions would never impact me in any way. Understanding that their lives and their “sexcapades” was not my business was amazing because it allowed me to realize that I shouldn’t be concerning myself with anyone else’s personal life anyway. Sitting around with my other friends talking shit about the ones who wanted to be more liberal with their bodies was pathetic and I pity my teenage self for that behavior. (I will officially be 20 in 5 weeks so I’m not a teenager anymore okay)
When you really think about it, most problems or prejudices we hold against other people come from us prodding into their lives. But if what they’re doing doesn’t affect you, it doesn’t matter.
If someone argues that gay marriage is wrong I love asking them why it even matters to them. If you’re not looking to marry someone of the same sex, then you don’t have to worry about it. If someone complains about women having access to abortions, I say if you don’t want an abortion then don’t get one. “Its wrong in the eyes of God” or something similar seems to be the general argument. But again, if someone is choosing to “sin” and “go to hell” then let them because it doesn’t affect you. Ugh. The world would be so much easier if everyone could mind their own business but we don’t get to have nice things now do we?
Sometimes I have to check myself and my rude thoughts if I see another woman wearing something risque($5 word) and get over it because my opinion doesn’t matter(unless i’m telling them how cute it looks. I’m an advocate for complimenting strangers). 95% of the time though I’m jealous because I couldn’t pull it off or because I didn’t think of it first.
Honestly, my life got so much easier when I realized that it was too short to sit around and bitterly judge other people for the decisions that they make. You never notice how much time you waste thinking about other people until you stop doing it.
We should apply the same nonchalant glances that we throw at the kids being bullied or the man harassing a woman in public spaces to women expressing themselves or speaking freely about their sexual experiences. (We should absolutely not condone complacency in those other instances but you get what I am saying. I hope.)
Anyway, if you’re a person who still has hangups about other women and their freedoms, take some time to understand why you harbor these feelings and then take steps to begin unlearning those things. For most of us, we don’t even realize that these opinions that we harbor are rooted in negative stereotypes,unrealistic standards or uber-religious rhetoric and that’s okay as long as you work to change those opinions. I did and it helped me discern a multitude of issues within myself which has only made my life better.