Being a woman has never been easy.
Historically we come from times where we were treated as less, marginalized, shunted into the kitchens, had expectations of domesticity foisted upon us. We were viewed as lesser intellectually, seen as emotionally fragile, dependent, an afterthought. (Sadly, that is still the case for millions of women in many parts of the world.)
In the 1800s labels were attached to us - frigid, hysterical, neurotic. (All pathetic cover up codes bequeathed by the very men who could NEVER connect the dots between their own inadequacies and self absorbed sexual practices in the bedroom and how their wives suffered felt under the weight - literal and figurative - of them and their callous disregard.)
A trip to the doctor would often net a woman an unwanted assault by a physician whose expertise and scope reached only so far as manually attempting to give the woman an orgasm - because as we all know, one good orgasm fixes everything.
Insert eye roll.
Shit. Rolled too hard. Can someone grab my left optical ball? It jumped clear out of my head. See it in the corner over there?
Yes, progress has been made through the decades - hard fought victories which allowed us the right to vote, brought us closer to equal pay, helped us begin to crack the glass ceiling in various industries, gave us control over our bodies.
Yet despite the strides forward, there are those - many of those - who still view us as lesser, as chattel, as put here to put out, spit out (life), and stay out of the workforce.
We scoff at prejudices like those when we read of violence against women in Middle Eastern countries. Our stomachs quake when young girls are subject to acid attacks, rapes, murder. We pass judgement at females being made to hide under burqas, while men are free to molest them, pursue them, attack them with little to no repercussions.
Yet we are unable to turn the mirror on ourselves, to see how we are allowing our lawmakers and leaders to pull us down that same path. A path back to another century. A path that takes us to a place where our bodies are not our own, where we have no say in our reproductive destinies, where men make the rules and we are helpless to do anything but lay there and wait for it to be over.
With each absurd, offensive bill introduced from state to state which seeks to strip a female of her rights, of sovereignty over her own body, we are further marginalized, and the message comes across loud and clear: WOMEN ARE LESSER.
That very thought brings me to today. You may not be aware that April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
And if you are not aware of that, I doubt you've even heard of what today is.
Today is Denim Day.
No, that doesn't mean 501s are on sale. And it isn't some Casual Wednesday at the office.
Denim Day came about in response to a 1998 decision in which the Italian Supreme Court overruled a rape conviction because the victim had been wearing tight jeans.
Let that sink in.
In their ruling they stated, “it is a fact of common experience that it is nearly impossible to slip off tight jeans even partly without the active collaboration of the person who is wearing them.”
So, not only was the victim obviously asking for it by wearing something body hugging, she must have been complicit in her own attack because surely the pants could not have been removed without her agreement and help.
It is as offensive a ruling as those in the Middle East where a woman is raped and then jailed for being raped.
Rape is an act of violence. It is an act of power, aggression, dominance. It is not some big screen love scene where the female coyily plays hard to get and the music crescendos as they ultimately climax together.
Rape. Is. Not. Consensual. No matter how tight the pants, short the skirt, or how much cleavage is exposed.
And every time that is even intimated, it is an affront to all women.
We stand at a time where our rights as women are being assaulted daily. Where men are making decisions, proclamations, LAWS stripping us of that which is OURS - ownership of our bodies, our choices, our futures. A time in which we are being demeaned, viewed again as lesser, as objects - not equals.
Denim Day speaks to the heart of that. Whether the assault is physical or political, it is unconscionable.
Wear your Denim today to show your support for those who have been victimized, those who will sadly fall victim and face a callous, unbelieving judicial system, and for every woman on Earth who lives with the daily fear of violence.
Being a woman is not a curse, not a life sentence to silence, not something relegating us to live in the shadows of oppression, disdain, or neglect.
Join me in the Jean Pool - the tighter the better.