The Inconvenience of Being a Woman

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The Inconvenience of Being a Woman

by Angeline Marie C. Yambao

Illustration by Paula Denise Tongol

I.

For freedom, independence, and equality

Now, this is where the real story begins.

There’s a woman named Abble, and she’s even barely legal,

She’s working as a housemaid from the prosperous and stable.

She never talked about her past nor the lingering handprints

imprinted into her skin or the province she escaped from. 

She was propositioned to clean and organize the house of her boss,

Yet, there are days when she no longer knows if she, herself, is clean. 

 

She wished that every time she closed her eyes,

the hands would stop roaming,

Where she could sleep at night safe and sound,

the demons never visiting,

Where she wasn’t raised as a lamb awaiting slaughter,

Where she wasn’t so conflicted in wanting to stay—to save something,

Where it was easy to leave everything behind without being condemned for running,

Where her family doesn’t leak out booming demands of whatever you are

or ever could be due to poverty.

Where her heart and mind could still serve to be sane,

her siblings not experiencing her fate.

 

She wished her father didn’t touch her in places,

Didn’t enter without consent, turned a blind eye,

and muffled the screams for an ounce of human decency,

She wished he didn’t utter the words, “Be a good girl.” 

And at other times, she wished, she’d find the courage to give it all away;

dignity be damned,

But who has time to listen to a self-inflicted victim?

When society has the tendency to gaslight the untold truth of experiences?

And isn’t this just inconvenient?

The man who was supposed to protect her stole the life out of her. 

II.

Now, in a remote town near the cathedral.

After the mass has ended with,

Go forth and multiply.”

With a couple named Sanders

who’s celebrated their marriage for five years decides to drop by,

Who was approached by church ladies with inquiring eyes,

And immediately, a familiar nauseating feeling settles by the missis,

Pleasantries are exchanged, congratulations being made from left to right

for having such a lovely bride,

But at the end of the day,

one of them asks if they’re planning on having a baby in due time,

The missis looks down and trembles because she is trans and so often termed as incapable.

This is always the case, for having a womb field of space,

a body whose never been blessed by God’s grace.

The husband becomes defensive and tries to lend a supporting hand,

“Come on ladies, can’t and won’t are far too different things,” but it falls on deaf ears,

The disapproving looks and the whispers of “sinners” become too apparent,

The silence pierces through the transparent judgment.

And so, she finds herself alone in their bedroom,

grabbing her womb and repeatedly saying, no, no, oh please God, not again.

She knows she is validated, and she is so much more than just bearing children,

But she’s human, prone to envy, and have desires of her own,

A child was the only thing she implores for.

The only comfort she’d receive was the enduring devotion her husband freely gives,

It does not make you less of a woman,” 

But sometimesher anxiety whispers, it wasn’t enough for her disposition.

And isn’t this just inconvenient? For, she couldn’t provide a proper family

nor carry the child of the man she loves,

Well, isn’t she just pathetic? Society laughed out loud.

III.

Let’s move on to a woman who fought silent battles and tears

Carried the husband’s responsibility alone throughout these years,

She breathes out a sigh as if though she’s trying,

Honestly, she’s been dead tired from the beginning.

People often said they had chemistry,

the type of romance that stemmed from the early ’80s.

Secretly, the first time he’d greeted her felt like destiny.

No sooner than later, she’d found herself with a wedding ring,

Her heart still soars and beats for him,

but she fails to see the warning bells of red strings.

In reality, she was just a woman standing behind a fence,

A woman who had been silenced at his expense.

“I’m sorry,” she adds after she failed to be a doting wife,

“Why do we even pay for these therapy sessions

when you’re not even getting better to cook up a homemade meal?”

“You used to be distinguished back then when you were good and right in the head.

What happened to the woman I married? You were filled with laughter,

smelled like daisies and had looked like a well-put lady!

If you don’t fix this act, we might settle for divorce until then.”

As her husband yelled into the weekend.

His anger doesn’t quickly end because his wife’s beauty slipped away,

serving as nothing but a reminder of the woman he conquered in the early days.

Replaced by a bent back, wrinkled skin, and rough hands,

And to be honest, she was a lot easier to love when she wasn’t so ill.

As depression extinguished the brightness from within.

In the end, why can’t she just “man-up” and act like a wife?

Her apology was the only thing she could offer in the silence of the night,

Because really, what was left of her when she couldn’t be of service to the man

she vowed to serve through marriage.

Isn’t it ironic? She became the inconvenience she vowed she’d never succumbed to in life.

IV.

Election day had arrived,

I’m introducing a woman who’s running for governance,

She’s running for office, something she’s wanted to do since she was a child,

to enforce change and order to a misaligned system.

Some might even say she can’t keep her mouth shut.

But once she gets a taste, she has her teeth deep in the game,

She possesses thick skin and isn’t known for being a

“Come and go” type of gal.

A feisty little thing who can’t be tied down for life,

That’s why she can’t keep a man by her side for more than a mere week’s deadline.

The ranking system shows she’s up all against these men;

she recruited the best team to do her justice and to help her stay relevant,

It doesn’t matter if she’s far more qualified or works her ass off 24/7.

It doesn’t matter if he’s rude or has a questionable background,

He’s rich, and that’s enough to paint a portrait to the public

-despite being a no-show to the job requirement.

Because the audience leans more toward women

who show no signs of aging and are entertaining.

Afterall, sexualization by the media is the new advertising tactic,

She’s advised to suck it up and smile because that’s where her votes reign in.

Because this is just how the world is, it’s survival of the fittest.

Because at the end of the day, who’d want a woman well past her age deadline?

Youth’s the new in, so you better dress up to get acceptance from the higher-ups.

Well, isn’t this just inconvenient, she thought as she looked through and clenched her fists through the surface.

Afterall, doesn’t she deserve more than false advertisement and half-baked promises?  

For all the failed attempts of the presidency’s service throughout his candidacy?

Nevertheless, she persisted.

 

Notes from the Author:

This literary piece has been heavily inspired by the artist Ashley Nicollette Frangipane, commonly known as “Halsey,” about her poem, an inconvenient woman, at Glamour’s 2018 Women of the Year Summit. Why women? One dies during pregnancy or childbirth every two minutes, and 650 million women had been legally married before they had come of age under 18 years old. In addition to this, there are about 5.6 million girls becoming child brides every day; if it had not been for the U.N. international campaign, we would not have saved 25 million individuals for being child brides within their culture.

Not only that, based on the Philippine Statistic Authority for household surveys (2017), it had been estimated that out of every five (20%) of women had already reported experiencing psychological abuse, 14% had also begun to experience domestic violence. At the same time, 5% of these women have faced sexual abuse at the hands of most recent partner or ex-partner within the duration of their relationship. Furthermore, women do not have public access to natural resources nor own an equal amount of agricultural land against their male counterparts, with merely a 1% that enables them to support their form of livelihood and earn a below-average income of 10%. Under the United Nations Women (U.N.) article, men are paid more often than women on average, including both cities and suburbs. Resulting in additional working hours for mothers; women are expected to adhere to domestic care and conform to household responsibilities.

Globally, women are subjected to and are perceived to be not receiving a quality education resulting in an educational gap within the globalized platform as there are about 796 million illiterate individuals, while two-thirds are identified as females. Making young girls and women susceptible to death as well as prone to be vulnerably exploited by the market. Women make up most of the world’s impoverished individuals; the ever-growing irony for inequality remains within the society.

March does not condemn men for their gender, nor does it amplify the discrimination that both sexes face for being born as they are and how society perceives them. Women advocate for feminism, attempting to explain rape culture, highlighting male privilege, sex discrimination, and other socio-economic inequalities. We talk about these topics because it is more than just a political debate. It is more than just a glorified “social justice” act of rebellion or adding noise pollution to the media. No, it is about women’s depictions of their lives being shaped by misogyny from childhood to the rest of their lives. No, it was never about women being far too sensitive to every minor inconvenience thrown at them for not having their way. No, it is about subjecting both of your loved ones: your daughter, wife, sister, mother, cousin, aunt, and grandmother to having to live in fear of being attacked and discriminated against. We are looking to break the generational pattern of abuse wherein freedom is not earned but rather offered equal amounts and unequivocally in compliance with the laws of human rights.  We are attempting to re-learn the concept of human respect and instill boundaries to help sustain a world for the next generation of our children.

References:

BERSALES, L. I. S. A. G. R. A. C. E. S. (2018, March 26). One In Four Women Have Ever Experienced                 Spousal Violence (Preliminary results from the 2017 National Demographic and                                 Health Survey). Republic of the Philippines: Philippine Statistic Authority. Retrieved                         February 14, 2022, from https://psa.gov.ph/content/one-four-women-have-ever-                             experienced-spousal-violence-preliminary-results-2017-                                                                       national#:~:text=One%20in%20five%20(20%25),most%20recent%20husband%                             20or%20partner.

UN Women. (n.d.). Facts & Figures. Retrieved February 14, 2022, from                                                                https://www.unwomen.org/en/news/in-focus/commission-on-the-status-of-women-                    2012/facts-and                                                                                                                                                figures#:~:text=Gender%20inequality%20is%20a%20major,labour%20force                                    %20in%20developing%20countries.

World Health Organization. (2021, March 9). Home/Newsroom/Fact sheets/Detail/Violence                         against women Violence against women. Retrieved February 14, 2022, from                                      https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/violence-against-women

World Vision, Inc. (n.d.). Child marriage: Facts, FAQs, and how to help end it. Retrieved February                 14, 2022, from https://www.worldvision.org/child-protection-news-stories/child-                            marriage -facts#:~:text=The%20U.N.,of%2018%20become%20child%20brides.                                &text=A%20global%20effort%20has%20prevented,over%20the%20past%                                      2010%20years.

Halsey delivered a powerful poem at the Glamour 2018 Women of the Year Summit with a                         message to women: be inconvenient. https://www.glamour.com/video/watch/halsey-s-                message-to-women-be-inconvenient