Like so many other women I’ve struggled with the way my body looks. The way my stomach sticks out, the thickness of my inner thighs, my knobby knees. I pinch here, squish together there, pull here. Always poking and prodding at myself. Always dissatisfied. When I would watch t.v. or look at magazines I’d always see these perfectly beautiful women with flat stomachs, perky boobs, and white teeth. I longed to look like that. I knew that those images were photoshopped, altered in some way or another to make them look perfect and that in real life that wasn’t who they really were. But I still wanted to look like they look. I still wanted to have the perfect body. It’s difficult to be a women. It’s difficult to live in a society that shames you based on your physical appearance. That says if you’re not this tall, this light, this thin, this pretty then you’re not welcome here. Like I even had a say in the matter. There isn’t a request form you fill out while you’re in the womb asking not to inherit your great aunt’s wide hips. I guess what I’m saying is that with seeing these woman and their bodies, each one different that if I can still find them beautiful then I want to find that same beauty in myself.
What if all women were bigger and stronger than you? And thought they were smarter? What if women were the ones who started wars? What if too many of your friends had been raped by women wielding giant dildos and no K-Y Jelly? What if the state trooper who pulled you over on the New Jersey Turnpike was a woman and carried a gun? What if the ability to menstruate was the prerequisite for most high-paying jobs? What if your attractiveness to women depended on the size of your penis? What if every time women saw you they’d hoot and make jerking motions with their hands? What if women were always making jokes about how ugly penises are and how bad sperm tastes? What if you had to explain what’s wrong with your car to big sweaty women with greasy hands who stared at your crotch in a garage where you are surrounded by posters of naked men with hard-ons? What if men’s magazines featured cover photos of 14-year-old boys with socks tucked into the front of their jeans and articles like: “How to tell if your wife is unfaithful” or “What your doctor won’t tell you about your prostate” or “The truth about impotence”? What if the doctor who examined your prostate was a woman and called you “Honey”? What if you had to inhale your boss’ stale cigar breath as she insisted that sleeping with her was part of the job? What if you couldn’t get away because the company dress code required you wear shoes designed to keep you from running? And what if after all that women still wanted you to love them?
For the Men Who Still Don’t Get It, Carol Diehl