The first time I heard the term “androcentrism” I was a sophomore in college, sitting amongst a group of newly acquainted girls from my sorority. The class: Women’s Studies 101. The teacher: tall, thin, straight medium brown hair parted down the middle, no makeup, wearing a tee shirt that read in all caps, “THIS IS WHAT A FEMINIST LOOKS LIKE.” At the time–before my assault, Trump, the Harvey Weinstein investigation, the MeToo hashtag–she suited my expectations perfectly. I rolled my eyes and my friends scoffed. We knew little about the world at large.
For those hearing the word the first time, androcentrism is basically a 50-point word for “the assumption that all perspectives are inherently male.” For example, when one hears the term “actor,” one assumes the person in question is a male. The term “actress” does exist for binary clarification, but the word “actor” is not, in fact, exclusive to males. The basis of the assumption is androcentrism.
I want to point out that, this concept is so underutilized that it is being underlined in red as I type it.
When I was asked to write about what it meant to be a woman this last week, I wasn’t sure what to write. Of course women have hardships that men will never experience. Of course women live in subtle (and not so subtle) fear of being attacked and objectified. Womankind has, with or without present knowledge or consent, been cooped up in the same shitty boat traveling up Shit Creek without a fucking paddle since [the androcentric term] “the creation of Man.”
Here’s what’s awesome about being a woman: bigots will tell you that, as a woman, you get special privileges. Leniency. You can flirt your way out of a speeding ticket (guilty). You can have doors opened for you. You can tee off 50 feet closer to the green.
Sure, those things are nice.
But I think I’d rather not have to bear the bullshit that comes with it. I would rather not live in an androcentric world where heroes are always tall, dark and hypermasculine men.
When I think of what it means to be a woman (in a totally binary world, for the sake of this blurb) I think about how women were literally built to survive. I am bracing myself for the angry feedback I’m about to get for this…
…From an evolutionary standpoint, men are disposable. They were made to plant seeds, if you know what I’m saying. They literally eject their most precious components, daily. Women, on the other hand, were biologically engineered to last. We carry weight on our stomachs because it is cushioning and insulation meant to protect the humans growing inside of us. During and after pregnancy, our breasts enlarge with food that we have produced ourselves. We store higher percentages of fat which helps us stay warm and sustains us in times of famine. The SSA reports that women live statistically longer lives than men. Despite the omnipresent danger that plagues womankind, we still manage to live longer, healthier, more educated lives. Fuck yeah.
Now, before half of my high school Facebook friends start roasting me with grammatically inept comments, allow me to humbly state that I am not a biologist. In fact, I have always been and will always be terrible at science.
However, as a woman, I want to point out that despite our genetic advantages, the world still has it out for us. I love men. Don’t get me wrong. The male species certainly has biological advantages over women (it would be so nice not having to wear a bra when running, if I ever ran lol). But women have to do so much more just to accomplish what men do. I’m talking everyday things: walking to a car at night, securing a job, safely arriving to a destination utilizing public transit, enjoying a drink at a bar without getting drugged… the list goes on. We fucking persist.
If your eyes have glazed over and you’ve skipped down to this part, know this: to be a woman is to succeed in a world that has systematically been engineered against you. Know that you were literally born to survive and succeed.
And if any of you guys from high school want to pick a bone with me over this, just know that I’m not afraid of you, I probably already have screenshots of you hitting on me, and the bone you pick is the only bone you’re getting with me.