The female script. What is it?
Baby girl is conceived. Mom is thrown a baby shower with pink as the prevailing color and princess as the prevailing theme.
Baby girl is born. She is born into pink. She is born into princess. Little dresses, tea parties, and aisles of pink toys of plastic dishes, stoves and dolls line the shelves of your local Target, Walmart, and Toys R Us. “Aren’t you so pretty!” The exclamations roll off the tongues of family members and strangers.
Baby girl grows into a school age child. The script plays out. Thin and beautiful are the qualities of an actress called, “woman” to be played out in this…her lifetime. She gets three options. She can save the world as a Katniss or Elsa. She can be saved by the dominate, powerful superhero such as Spiderman and Batman or she can be the evil witch, bratty super model, or bitchy Stepford wife. She is told that she can be anything she wants, but what’s written in the script is not what she has been told to be true. Just being “normal” is not a part of the character profile. Female based sports is not something she see’s daily on television. In her view, sports are not common or important for women. On Halloween, her choices for costuming are party girl, vixen, or dominatrix. Super hero is saved for her male counterparts.
Baby girl grows to become a Tween. She is handed her first cell phone. She starts to notice boys. She shops at stores that tell her that her clothes should no longer cover her body. The shorter the better is the mantra of her shopping ventures and for her body…thinner is prettier. She is now paying attention to music. Her music might use the words “Bitch” and “Ho.” She might start to use those words to describe her friends. She just might start to use those words as a prideful way to describe herself. Her media icons are dumbed down and catty. They are called sluts and play the role of arm candy for the powerful man who has gone from Disney Prince to powerful football star. Date rape may or may not be a part of her future.
Baby girl has become a teenager. By now, she has been asked for nude or partially nude photo’s of herself by a boy she believes she loves and in turn loves her back. They break up. She’s now a victim of revenge porn and countless people have seen her young, underage breasts. She is blamed, for she should not have sent the pictures to begin with. Story notes will read, “Boy is blameless. Girl is slut.”
Baby girl arrives at college. She’s the potential victim of sexual assault. She is told to not go out alone. Don’t get drunk. Don’t bring a boy back to your dorm. Watch how you dress. Stay focused on school. It’s important she pays attention, because rape may or may not be prosecuted on her campus. The societal message is to keep her legs closed, because any unwanted pregnancy is 100% her fault.
The script plays out. As an adult she lays out the plans for career, marriage and family. The question isn’t, “Do you want children,” but “When are you having children?” It is important to have a husband, because her pay directly correlates to that of being a woman and she may not be able to support a family. She takes on a career and takes on the home. As an adult, she lives the script that was written for her back before she was born. She plays the role of the woman she practiced becoming the day she was a handed her first set of pink dishes and played tea party. In her career, she is called a bitch when she asserts herself and labeled moody when she has a bad day. She is asked if she is having her period. By now, she has been silenced. She is tired. Her tears are hidden.
By middle age, she realizes that script wasn’t written for her, but for rules written a millinea ago for a woman that never really existed. In this powerful and influential script, for a play dominated by societal’s misogynistic expectations, it doesn’t have characters who are overweight or gay or short or smart or black or Hispanic or Muslim or just simply, normal. The script wasn’t written for that woman or for that matter…any woman.
Walt Whitman once told us that the powerful play goes on and we may contribute a verse. Oh me. Oh life. What is the verse in this life that we are writing for our women? Do women really contribute their own verse or is it the scripted verse handed to them when they are born? When will we throw away that out dated, misogynistic script and show our future generation of women that they define their own character and the script is written in their own hand and in their own time?
The reality is that until women are represented as to who they really are as opposed to who we expect them to be, then their hand will never write the script. Women will never write their own script until they can grasp the pen by themselves, unguided by that of another.