My First Time(s)

August 02 2015

The first time I was preemptively judged based on my gender I was 5. Another father and son hiking pair told my dad “the trail was probably too steep for the girls (my sister and I) to hike.” Yeah, guy, thanks, but we just finished that hike.
The first time I was catcalled on the street I was 13. I flipped the guy off, but was scolded because “I really should’ve been flattered.”
The first time I was sexually assaulted I was 18. I didn’t realize it was assault until three months ago when I came to understand that just because I was too drunk didn’t mean I was asking for it.
The first time I was judged (by another girl) for not having sex with an interested party I was 19.
The first time I learned not to take this **** was six months ago.

Hey, Listserve, cover your ears; I’m about to drop an F-bomb on you! Feminist! Yes, I am a feminist and I’m not afraid to use that word! Wow!

I realize that now is probably the best time for me to be a woman in the grand scheme of civilization (mind you, I live in the United States, so that statement is rather specific to this country). I am not the property of my father or husband, I am not obliged to stay indoors unless my guardian gives formal consent, and pants are the best. And that’s all awesome!

But there are still a whole lot of un-awesome things left.

First, now that we have so many more opportunities (which I’m eternally grateful for), we feel the pressure to take ALL OF THEM. Not only do we need to continue our roles as wives and mothers, but we should also be running five separate companies while looking like a supermodel all without losing our cool. That’s great if you’re into all that, but sometimes I just want to watch Netflix and eat cinnamon rolls for dinner like a normal person.

Then there’s the whole concept that we need to be super chill because any semblance of feelings in a potential relationship means that we’re nuts. I spent way too many months letting an ex-boyfriend treat me poorly and feeling horrible about myself because I thought telling him that he shouldn’t wait two days to text me back meant that I was a clingy, psychotic girlfriend. People, communicating your feelings to another human being does not make you crazy. It makes you a rational person that has confidence in his/her thoughts and worth.

Oh, and heaven forbid anybody ever sees me with a tampon in my hand or pocket. No, let me rephrase that – heaven forbid I even say the word tampon. TAMPONTAMPONTAMPON. This taboo irks me to no end. Sorry, this is a side effect of my ability to FURTHER THE HUMAN RACE and that makes society uncomfortable? (Sidenote: the expense of pads and tampons in the developing world is a real hindrance to the education of women and contributes to an increased incidence of HIV. If you’re interested in that, check out WISER in Kenya).

I realize this was a rant more than anything else, but I hope I imparted some idea of the 20-year-old female college student’s condition unto you. If you have any polite thoughts/comments, I really would love to chat with you.

PS. Music recommendations: The Stranger by Lord Huron, Heavenly Father covered by Highasakite, Takk Sömuleiðis by Leif Vollebekk, and anything Taj Mahal.

PPS. Any advice for an American trying to move to Scotland would be much appreciated.

Antje Lang
[email protected]
Asheville, NC

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