Shame is something women have to endure throughout their whole entire lives, there is no escaping it. I've said to my friends many times that to be a woman is to be shamed constantly. You will be shamed for the most minuscule and absurd things. It's like living under a magnifying glass and everything you do is being examined whether you like it or not. When shame is present we are disconnected from ourselves.
In order to avoid shame it can cause people to withdraw or even lead to addictions to mask the pain they’re internalizing. An anticipation of shame can cause anxiety and lead to analysis paralysis. Below are just a few examples of how you as a woman will be shamed.
1. Body shaming. I feel like the first time we are shamed is during puberty and unbeknownst to us that is just the beginning. Puberty is a sensitive time as we have no idea what is going on with our bodies and we definitely are not prepared for how it affects us mentally. Our bodies change and we are just to forced to adjust. If you don't have the body type of the women on the magazine covers, your body can be ridiculed by the opposite sex. And also if you don't lose your pregnancy weight in a 'timely manner' this can bring on shame from others.
2. Relationships/ relationship status. If your man cheats on you, you may hear "well, what did you do?" because somehow you must have asked for this disrespect. A long list of maybe you didn't give him enough ___(you fill in the blank)
If you are single/ not married/ without children over a certain age people want to know why and when you're going to settle down. You will be reminded continuously how your clock is ticking so you mustn't waste time. Not understanding that some women don't care for marriage or having a family, while it's the norm for most people it's not for everybody and this choice should be respected.
3. Choice of clothes. When it comes to clothing if it's considered too revealing some men view you as degrading terms and believe they can talk and treat you however they want because they see you as "easy". Women dress to feel and look good. Dressing up is another way to express your self and every woman should be free to feel sexy and in touch with their sexuality without feeling shamed for it.
4. Sex. A woman that has what is considered too much sex will be subjected to degrading terms to make her feel bad about her actions and to deter her from continuing on. A woman's body seems to have so much input from everyone else when it comes to our choices when I feel like it should be up to women to determine what is and isn't for her.
5. Speaking up. Can you be an opinionated woman without being called a bitch? Can you be a woman that knows your worth and state so without being made to feel bad? To me it seems some men still carry the view that women are to be seen and not heard.
Men are taught to speak up and ask for more while women are taught to accept what they are given (settle), if not you get hit with the high maintenance label. But why is this word associated with negative connotations? What is so bad about being high maintenance? At the root of it, is it not a woman who knows her worth and will not settle for less? What exactly is the problem? I feel like some guys throw this word around when they feel inferior to the woman they are pursuing because perhaps they don't have much to offer and so they think they can try and get you to bargain your worth so you come down to their level because that makes them more comfortable but when you give in to this manipulation the only person that loses is you.
While you have no control over how others think or what they say, you do have control over your happiness and the first step to that requires authentication. Life is too short to be anyone but your true authentic self. Get to the root of your shame triggers and see them as a label used to damage your self-esteem, detach yourself from them, they are not yours to wear/own. You can also write a list of them and replace each one with your truth. If you can, talking about what you've been through can really help, a great support system can really provide a safe space to be vulnerable without judgement or burdensomeness.
Feel free to comment below any you feel I have missed out...