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An anonymous contributor shares their frustration at the way women are limited and contained in their ambitions. A woman’s purpose in life is not to reproduce and whether it is family pressure or death threats you face - women’s experience of this pressured purpose should be shared.
I was raised as an incubator.
It was in the commercials selling me Zapf Creation “baby born” toys as a 5-year-old.
It was in the comments of a school teacher at nursery, who told me off for crying and “embarrassing” a boy who kissed me without asking.
It was in the warnings of a headmistress that “some bad things happen only to girls, so you need to be extra careful”. We were 10.
It was in the sexual education classes that didn’t mention periods could be irregular (yes, Brian Kemp, that means periods can easily and often be 6 weeks apart.)
It was in the fact we even have periods: bloody, painful reminders of our “purpose”.
It was in the stigma against pixie cuts at school, in case boys didn’t want you anymore.
It was in the many, many, MANY derogatory comments about lesbian couples I heard from my parents and classmates.
It was in my first experience of sexual harassment, aged 17 (a whole 4 years later than some of my female classmates).
It was in my first experience of sexual coercion, aged 18.
It was in my first experience of sexual assault, aged 20. Again, much later than some friends.
(But not unexpected. 1 in 5 women in a room with you, at any given time, have experienced some form of sexual assault. So shut the fuck up about “woke feminism”.)
It was in the “not all men” I heard spouted every time I mentioned this society’s emphasis on my vagina and role as an incubator.
It was in the phrase “when you have children”, said to me by my mother. I’m not even 25. I’m not in a relationship. How the fuck should I know that’s how my life will turn out? Why should I want it?
It was in the fact I only learnt what the “baby blues” were, TODAY.
It was in jokes about how Meghan Markle dared to position her own body, hands on her bump, while pregnant.
It was in another “pro-life” bill in the States, that takes away a woman’s control of her body. Drives them to coat hangers. Drives them to throw themselves off buildings. Drives them to rip their uterus out of their bodies or die trying. Drives them to wish for a baby, but not like this.
It’s in the fact a mother’s safety, her choice over where to give birth, what she eats, how she lives, how she moves, is always deemed secondary to what is “best for baby”.
It’s in the raw fear I feel to have the sex I want, because of my body’s ability to reproduce. Like a dirty fucking animal.
It’s in the fact that if a man missed his pill, if such a thing existed, the burden would still rest with me.
It’s in the “not all men” you will hear again now. It’s a whisper in the air. “Toxic”, “Unshaggable”, “Feminist”.
Fight back. RESIST. Women compartmentalise, because we have to. Because we’ve been taught to.
But some of our sisters don’t have that luxury. We fight for THEIR right to control their own bodies, as well as to have control over our own. We are more than just incubators.
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Bryony Armstrong wittily explores the unexpectedly appealing side of Miss Trunchbull's character - the terrifying head teacher who features as one of Roald Dahl's most memorable villains in his classic children's novel Matilda. Does Miss Trunchbull's bad reputation lend her the credit she deserves, since she demonstrates a strength of character and determination that we should strive for?Read More