Remember how, growing up, there were always ‘those girls’ who had ‘reputations’? The girls our mothers warned us not to be like?
Remember how, when we grew up, we heard scare-stories of ‘the other woman’; how we were taught by our mothers to do anything our husbands demanded in bed. To fail in that regard would result in him seeking what he needs (because men obviously are slaves to the demands of their dicks) from another more willing woman?
Remember how, when we’d see marriages crumble because he sought the company of the other woman, we concluded that his wife had to have been faulty, or that the other woman was probably a slut?
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The thing that pisses me off about each of these narratives which are disseminated every single day by wagging tongues on people with hollow lives, is how in each of them, it’s always the female that is at fault. Always her fault for being
a) too pretty
b) too easy
c) too fat
You can fill that out yourself.
So yesterday, I had to explain this to my daughter who was really, really upset because everyone assumed the worst about her (or so she felt), just because she happens to be friends with a fellow student who happens to be male.
This reminded me of my teen years, where I often preferred having at least one male friend because I found them less bitchy. If people talked, I didn't really know, nor did I care. Being a teen means being carefree.
It reminded me of the walks home, a friend gave me each day, that resulted in those bored tongues concluding that I was probably going out with him.
It reminded me that had he and I continued taking those walks, I’d have earned a reputation. I’d have brought shame on my family while he would have been free to continue with his life unscathed, unscorched by those fiery tongues. So maybe I wasn't as carefree after all?
I had to explain to my beautiful thirteen year old child, with her loud laughter and effusive personality (that I refuse to prune, just to save wagging tongues from themselves) that ours is a society very attached to our hypocrisies. Ours is a society, still very much dictated to by those tongues that write their names on a little piece of Hell each time they destroy a girl/woman just for being female, while excusing males, ad nauseam, for the same.
I had to tell her the story of a young girl in hijab, who sent a picture of herself in hot pants, (that a boy asked for, no doubt) only to have him show this to everyone. I had to tell her that when he shared this picture, no one asked him why the girl had trusted him enough to share this. No one questioned his human decency. No one called him a dickwad. Which he, undoubtedly, is.
Instead, they called her a slut. They buried her in shame, just as the Arabs of old buried baby girls alive at birth. They looked at her parents with condescending pity. They smiled at her parents, when they met them, then shared the shameful-but-oh-so-juicy story with whoever was present, the minute the parents left.
Yet, what was her crime? Merely that she chose the wrong guy?
So I warned my daughter about how wax girls like herself can be burnt by flaming tongues.
How young boys can sometimes be total assholes.
How people WILL ALWAYS assume the worst of even the most innocent situation.
How her job is not to give anyone reason to do this.
How she must always remember that I trust her. And that she too, should trust herself to know when something can hurt her.
How everything she exchanges with boys, however benign, has the potential to turn into a weapon in hateful hands because unlike the childish promises my generation made to boys, unlike the stolen kisses my generation shared behind the toilets at school, her generation preserves these things in writing, on WhatsApp chats. Or Facebook messages.
And how, as a girl, it will always be her fault.
As shitty as that it, it is. And she might as well get used to it.
She is, after all, the daughter of Eve. And it was Eve that caused the fall of humanity. Right?