Statistically, a woman is more likely to be hurt by a man than she is to ever be eaten by a shark, hit by a car, be attacked by a bear, crash in a plane, or be bitten by a spider. When a woman expresses fear of any of these events, she is still seen as a rational person. When I tell people that I am afraid of swimming in the ocean because I’m afraid of sharks, they accept it almost without question. But, when I tell people that I’m afraid of men, that men scare me more than sharks and spiders and freak plane accidents all combined, I immediately lose their respect. I am considered elitist. I am considered sub-human.
Rather than fighting for every woman’s right to feel beautiful, I would like to see the return of a kind of feminism that tells women and girls everywhere that maybe it’s all right not to be pretty and perfectly well behaved. That maybe women who are plain, or large, or old, or differently abled, or who simply don’t give a damn what they look like because they’re too busy saving the world or rearranging their sock drawer, have as much right to take up space as anyone else.
I think if we want to take care of the next generation of girls we should reassure them that power, strength and character are more important than beauty and always will be, and that even if they aren’t thin and pretty, they are still worthy of respect. That feeling is the birthright of men everywhere. It’s about time we claimed it for ourselves.