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What A Drag Being Female

Women know this and yet, men often think that women have it easier.  It is obvious that most women spend more time on their appearance and that some of the things they wear including their shoes are uncomfortable and often require uncomfortable positions in order to appear ladylike.  I have bunions and hammer toes, some of which had to be corrected by surgery, which was difficult because feet take longer to heal, which were exacerbated by wearing too small shoes in order to be ladylike and to accommodate the current fashions of pointed toes and high heels.  I was on crutches for awhile and in a cast when my foot didn’t heal with just a boot.  Excess weight, aging skin, and gray hair are easier for men to handle as their clothes often cover some of these “sins” and gray or white hair is often considered distinguished on men.  Women require a more extensive and varied wardrobe then.  Who notices when a man wears the same suit more than once a week?  Hair and makeup are an added cost for women and take time to apply and maintain.  (Psst: most women’s cosmetics and body and hair care products are, for a fact, more expensive than men’s).

A woman can feel like she has a ball and chain attached to one leg because of her female gender and this is often not recognized by the general public and by most feminist groups.  Being physically female has a lot of problems attached to it from the beginning of puberty and it never goes away for most women.

It starts with the embarrassment of the first period.  What to do about it and where and when to take care of the menstrual flow.  I remember in puberty that it was not acceptable to have not yet had a period when a girl reached a certain age.  I was thirteen when I got mine so I didn’t have to bother with it until I got in high school and yet I still was a woman when I became a high schooler.  It’s a normal function but most facilities do not make it easy to take care of it.  Also, it can be embarrassing to “bleed through” and have to change and have nothing to change into.  Ick?

Then as a girl turns into a woman she has other things to worry about like gynecologist visits, bladder and vaginal problems including contagious diseases.  Then there is birth control.  The responsibility for which most often falls on the girl.  Usually not just when she is having intercourse, but just in case when she is not planning to.

No matter how a girl gets pregnant willingly or unwilling she is the one that has to deal with it whether she chooses to terminate the pregnancy or not.  There are always risks to her life and to her fertility and there are the stress and possible guilt that goes along with doing it.

Methods of dealing with the problem of getting pregnant are sometimes risky, a “pain” to obtain, costly, and sometimes awkward to use.  The responsibility of taking care of this problem usually lies mostly on the woman.  I had a vaginal implant (the Dalkon Shield) that was recalled and miserable to get taken out.  That is not what I had opted for, but it happened anyway.  Such things result in more often regular doctor’s visits than men usually require.

There is the possibility of inherited diseases like breast cancer, ovarian cysts, and (in my case) fibroid tumors.  They are often unexpected and they are the cause of many medical treatments and sometimes hospitalizations.  I bled for a year until I had my complete hysterectomy and at the time was working within the confines of a large prison.  There is also the possibility of death as I had undetected multiple blood clots in my lungs after surgery which were not detected by my gynecologist at my post-surgery visits. Yes, my nurse practitioner detected that there was something wrong and eventually I was hospitalized and diagnosed by my doctor and did not die.

Some of the responsibilities of having children are borne mostly by the woman during the pregnancy and birth and after if she has complications giving birth and breastfeeding.  There is also the risk of death during or after the process.  In the old days, men often had several wives in the process of having their families.  For proof of this go to an old cemetery and look at the headstones in family plots.

With my last baby, I initially took her with me to staff meetings in a baby carriage and used a blanket to shield what I was doing when I fed her.  Then when I worked and left her behind, I used to spend twenty minutes in a toilet stall pumping breast milk by hand at twice a day and then had to find a place to keep it until I could take it home.  Also, most or all of what I made went moneywise for child care.

The question is:  do women really have the freedom men have to focus on their careers?Menstruation on the battlefield would seem to be impossible.  Having the time to put into a career as a woman.  Being laid low by menstrual pain or the problems of menopause.  Women are usually expected to “work” through it or drop out of the workforce or take a job with fewer responsibilities because of their feminine problems.  The motto seems to be “act like a man” even if you are a woman.

There should be some sort of compromise, but we haven’t hit it yet.  Yet men are very mad at women for trying to or actually taking their place in the workforce.  However, women know that it is no fun doing this for them either.  Later on, when retirement(?) comes, couples are often dependent on both of their checks and when one of them dies, he or she can’t make it on their own.

Yes, I didn’t have to go to war but competed on the same battlefield with men in college and graduate school.  I did not have the camaraderie as men often have to be part of the old boy school and get jobs.  Easy?  I wouldn’t say so.


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