Wednesday, March 08, 2017

As a Woman...

Happy International Women's Day!

To be honest, being a woman sucks.

Yes, there are perks - we are allowed to have emotions, we are capable of creating life (a lot of us, anyway), we can multi-task, we get to wear bright colors. But in general, being a woman sucks. As a woman, I have been told to smile more, but not too much or it will be taken as suggestive, and not at the wrong people or it is an invitation for them to do whatever they want to me. I have been told that I'm too pretty to be considered average, but not pretty enough to be allowed to do a lot of the work as an actor I would love to do (i.e. I'm not lead actor material; I can only ever be the fat sidekick or the mom). I have been told that having an education and being intelligent is the key to opening whatever door I want, but when actually applying to jobs in the workplace, I should not include the fact that I am a member of Mensa on my resume because my particular intelligence is too intimidating. I have been told that my happiness is important to others, but when I express any sort of displeasure, I'm told to take the emotion out of it, get over it, and look at things logically. I can use logic and reason to explain why I am perfect for any number of roles, jobs, relationships, opportunities, but am consistently passed over because someone else isn't feeling it, or thinks I don't look right, or feels that someone else deserves the opportunity more than I. I have been told by many men that I am a dear, close, valued friend, as they covertly take in my physique, seeing me for my shape, recognizing how I make them feel, not listening to what I have to say, or aware of how they make me feel. In short, I am too pretty and not pretty enough; too smart and not smart enough; too qualified and not qualified enough; too logical and not logical enough; too empathetic and not empathetic enough; too old and not old enough; too helpful and not helpful enough; I fit perfectly but not well enough.

With all of these messages coming at me from friends, employers, the media, fellow artists, I am left with the question of what the fuck do you want? Who the hell am I supposed to be?

Because I can tell you who I am. I am a musician who has written songs that have helped people across the country (and even in other countries) through tough times in their lives. I am an artist who can make people laugh and cry and think. I am an actor who will fight like hell to be given the opportunity to play the roles I am most suited for regardless of whether or not that character was originally imagined with boobs. I am a friend who listens and supports and empathizes. I am a stage mom with more stage children than I can count, though I don't have any biological children of my own and likely never will. I am a woman who has traveled three continents on her own. I am the person people turn to when they need to get stuff done. I am the person people reach out to when they need a sympathetic or empathetic ear.  I am a loving companion human to the most adorable cat in the world. I am an introvert who has learned how to put on an extrovert mask so I can function in your world so you don't have to try to understand mine. I am the person who will find passion for the things I need to do, even if they are not the things I want to do, so that I can support myself without inconveniencing others. I am the woman who persists. Because as women, that is what we do. We persist.

Being a woman is hard. It takes a lot of courage, a lot of strength, a lot of energy, and a lot of resolve. In return, around the world, women are blamed for and held responsible for the sexual urges of men; women are persecuted and sold into slavery; women are treated as lesser, told that they are lesser; women are marginalized and paid less than men for the doing same jobs; and women continue to have to fight for basic rights like access to healthcare and the right to make their own choices - rights nobody would even consider revoking for men. And when we stand up for ourselves, we are told that we are ugly, unwanted, unloveable, threatening, pushy, bitchy, crazy, and whiny. But at least we can buy pink phones.

To all of the brave, beautiful, brilliant people in my life who identify as women (even just some of the time), I love you and I have your back. I stayed home and wore red today in the hopes that doing so will have some small impact, will make someone think about what their life would be if I was not in it. For some, there will likely be no change. Hopefully a few noticed and would prefer a world with me in it. Hopefully a lot noticed a lack of women today, and would prefer a world with women in it and will work a little bit harder to make being a woman not suck so much.

Happy International Women's Day.

Let's shoot for International Women's Year.