A MISOGYNISTIC WORLD – DO WOMEN LACK FREE WILL?
Is the world really misogynistic and do women actually lack free will?
As the world moves one step closer to the self-destruct button, it seems that women are the ones paying the price. Whether it’s laws, religious views or societal held beliefs, the female population is experiencing negative effects – resulting in my questioning of whether us women have free will and whether we had any in the first place.
The Encyclopedia Britannica definition of free will being “the power or capacity to choose among alternatives or to act in certain situations independently of natural, social, or divine restraints” implies that women lack the free will experienced by men due to the various forms of social restraints forced upon women. This includes laws on women’s bodies, their status within society, how women adapt their behaviour in certain scenarios – the list goes on.
Whether it’s the 1920s or the 2020’s, women continue to nudge their foot through various doors to gain equal recognition and respect like their male counterparts. However, it seems very little has changed over a century regarding the male/female dynamic. As we continue to live in a male driven world, with no major societal changes seemingly happening anytime soon, will we ever have a nonmisogynistic society? And to what extent will women have to go to gain ‘real’ free will?
IT’S NOT YOUR BODY, IT’S THE GOVERNMENTS
The most perfect and timely example illustrating women’s lack of free will is Texas’ new abortion law which prevents women from seeking an abortion beyond six weeks of pregnancy. The new law illustrates religious and societal views against women’s rights, furthermore, showing that there are individuals within society who believe a woman’s body is not her own. What drives the knife even further is the lack of education regarding how the female body works (generally you may not have any signs of pregnancy until six weeks) as well as the fact that there are no laws regarding a man’s anatomy. It’s a complete violation against females and blatantly takes away a woman’s free will and their right to choose.
It seems that society is looking for ways to punish women for being sexually free. As well as the abortion law, online subscription site OnlyFans had announced in August the ban of sexually explicit content. If you’re not familiar with the site, the platform is a space where people share content with their subscribers for a monthly charge. Known for its availability of pornographic content, the platform was used by many sex workers as they struggled during Covid lockdowns. Offering a sustainable income and safer environment for the community, the ban gained major backlash and was shortly overturned.
We live in a society where sex sells but once women utilise and exploit this to their advantage, people get angry and offended. I feel like men dislike the saying ‘anything you can do I can do better’ and OnlyFans is a prime example of an industry where women dominate and thrive in. I think it gets under some men’s skins that women are winning at this game created by men. I say created by, because decades ago it was the men controlling the women and what they did with their bodies. Now women are the ones in control on platforms like this.
Whilst laws and bans are the more obvious areas displaying inequality, one area which we overlook is how societal views and values are pushed upon us. The most common ones being getting married and having children. Whilst it’s being more widely accepted that women may delay doing either or not want to do either of them, there’s still an area of disappointment and distain when a woman admits to it. Whilst we still maintain the choice, there’s a societal restraint which can prevent us from thinking solely independently and prohibits us from removing these ‘traditional’ views when making a decision.
THE STREETS ARENT’S SAFE FOR A WOMAN | WHY WOMEN LACK FREE WILL
The harsh reality for women is that they’re not safe. Biologically most women do not have the strength to go up against a male or group of males when faced with a terrible situation such as assault. The most recent public case of such a scenario was in the UK, where a 33-year-old woman named Sarah Everard went missing this March. A week later her body was found, and it had been identified that she was raped and strangled at the hands of a police officer.
Women across the country protested in anger and shared their own stories of verbal and physical assault, as well as the measures they go to to stay safe. In a short video with the topic of ‘What would you do if men disappeared for a day’, the woman in the video said she’d go for a walk in the park at night.
Compared to a male’s women approach life in a different way. As much as they wish they could, women can’t face life as nonchalantly as males can. They’ll always have this innate instinct of calculating safer ways to get home, go on a night out etc – an issue that many men do not face.
If women had ‘full’ free will they wouldn’t have to send that ‘I’m home’ text, hold their keys between their knuckles or watch their drinks on a night out. Women’s free will is prevented by men who despise and see women as inferior. I think some men like the power they gain when women fear them. It’s like a food chain, men at the top, women below. Men are the ones taking away a woman’s free will – and you might be thinking what about the ‘good guys’, the ‘nice guys’? When the Sarah Everard case happened, there was a moment of self-reflection amongst men as they admitted to their involvement in misogynistic behaviour. But once it all settled down, that was it. They pledged their allegiance to the cause but didn’t go to battle.
They say it gets worse before it gets better – and I think that’s the only way humans really learn. Regarding men’s involvement of the misconduct against women, before women gain their free will back, I think it’s going to have to get very ugly before anything constructive will happen. Let’s hope society doesn’t go full Gilead.
THE WOMEN WHO STILL HAVE TO FIGHT IN A MISOGYNISTIC WORLD
Women around the globe are still fighting for their political rights, which includes the protection of their voting rights. Evident within the newly controlled Taliban government in Kabul, many women fear that their treatment within society will revert back to when the Taliban last ruled the country.
Whilst the Taliban government states that their ideology will respect women’s rights, many are apprehensive to hear their new manifesto regarding women. When it was last forced upon society it held extreme misogynistic views, preventing women from many work opportunities and education.
As many anxiously wait to hear their government legislation, many women are preparing to hear the disguised misogynistic views that will govern them and only them. As an act of defiance, handfuls of brave women have been taking to the streets of Kabul to demonstrate for women’s rights, which unfortunately turned violent.
The newly control Taliban government is a perfect demonstration of how individuals in the 21st century still value barbarically outdated views towards women and are proud to be misogynistic. Women’s lack of free will is represented by the fact that many fear their ability to exercise their right of free speech as they weigh up the punishment given by men for doing so – subsequently handing power over to men.
THE FIGHT CONTINUES
Many people have coined the lack of free will held by women as a war against them. But are we fighting a losing battle? It seems that many countries in the world are stuck in a conservative state where they hold views that oppress women. The absence of women’s free will is the result of a system with underlying misogynistic tones which is run by a majority of men. As a society we need to prevent the continuous cycle of duplicates being placed in positions of power. But that is done with time and force. If only we could snap our fingers and the world would be equal.
The issue is that unfortunately there will always be individuals who think women are inferior, that they shouldn’t choose what to do with their bodies and that they should readopt the 1940’s housewife persona. I think the problem is that some men don’t like the fact that many women have become/are independent. In the 21st century women can now do everything a man can, which means men don’t have any control over them. As an act of defiance, I believe they source other outlets to maintain a level of control. Whether that’s laws about their body, feeding of the ability to overpower them or even take away their right to express opinions, men will do anything to keep themselves on top of the food chain.
One thing that history has taught us about women is that they keep on fighting till they get what they deserve. The most depressing thing is women aren’t asking for much – they simply want to be equal. Now why is that so hard for some people to understand. Yes, it’s a war against women – they weren’t asking for one, but they will give you one.
This article was written by contributing writer Malin Jones.
To check out Malin’s bio click here.
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