I recently stumbled on an article written on one of the numerous Caitlin Jenner interviews after her gender transitioning; she said, ‘one of the most difficult’ things for her since becoming a woman is deciding which outfit to wear everyday. I really didn’t know whether to be irritated, upset or just decide to be emotionless about her not so tactful comment. I concluded that even though she might think that she looks like a woman, she definitely has not the slightest idea of what it feels like to be a woman. The story of an average girl transcends beyond making daily fashion decisions. It is the story of continuous hustle as we develop from age to age.
You grow up as a little girl, facing the reality that you are a different being from the group of boys that whistle, stare or laugh at you when you pass by on the corner of the street. You cope with the question of why your father is overly protective of you, and why your mother constantly compels you to join her in the kitchen. You wonder why your brothers are freely watching their favorite cartoons in the sitting room. You query why suddenly your chest begins to ache for no apparent reason and seek an explanation for the sudden sprouts of boobs. You are constantly dealing with the gruesome pain every month, along with the fear of having a stained school uniform. Your mother keeps warning you to maintain at least a 10cm distance from the nearest boy around or you are at the risk of getting pregnant.
You get older and start to struggle with body image issues: why are some girls just so lucky to have developed so quickly at the top and lower part of their bodies when you remain just so straight? Sometimes you may just struggle to cope with your baby fat and keep questioning how some other girls could be so skinny. You watch all the big boys constantly flock around some pretty babes but even the geeks are too shy to say hi to you. Some girls change their tech gadgets like they are changing their handkerchiefs and you still cannot afford to have a phone that is smart enough to at least receive a multimedia message. Amidst all of these, you fight to escape from that sadist lecturer who constantly screams down the class during Phl 405.
You finally become a graduate and you are constantly being turned down from one application after the other. Yet you hear of those girls who never attended lectures but turn up for exams starting jobs at those multinationals you have always prayed about. You are being told that your job search would end when you move to the bigger cities but your dad wont allow you to move out of the house until a suitable suitor shows up for you but your brother was okay to leave. You take a break from applying for jobs to check up on Facebook and alas! One of the big runs girls in your department just got married in a lavish wedding style to a young millionaire from USA, yet your mother and her friends have a regular scheduled meeting where they ask you when you are finally bringing a man home.
Then, you eventually land a job, a suitor shows up and you arere issued the visa to finally exit your father’s house, that’s when the challenges of being a woman truly begin. Marriage is filled with its ups and downs but you cannot run back to dad’s house like you ran back when university became tough. The pains of pregnancy and childbirth cannot be shared or mother would have gladly gone to that labour room for you. Being a mum is a different ball game and all the rigors from before cannot even be compared to this. You are just recovering from your hormones still all over the place and the hubby is ready for you to start getting ‘jiggy’ with it. You struggle with balancing work and career and still have to work on those couple of extra kg you added on when everyone kept advising you should eat for two.
The truth is that, the struggle never ends…
Whether or not the society accepts this, the journey to womanhood is not an easy one. The struggle of a woman seem to have been underplayed or even ignored in the past but thankfully are now coming to bigger perspective to the world.
Photo Credit: Foto.com.ng | Nsoedo Frank