Being that it's International Women's Day today, we thought we should take some time to give a voice to the people this day actually celebrates.
So, we took to the streets and the internet to ask everyday women how they feel about being an everyday woman right now. We wanted to know what messages about their gender, reproductive rights or sexual expression they wanted the world to know today, and what burning inner thoughts about the female experience they've been yearning to unleash like those dogs in the song "Who Let the Dogs Out?"
Of course, women should be given that opportunity — to speak about their experience — every day, but since people have chosen one day out of 365 to actually pay attention to us, well, that's when we're going to try extra hard to make sure the women who do such much for all of us are heard.
Here's what's going through the heads of America's loveliest ladies on Women's Day.
"I'm just dumbfounded that in 2017, our country treats women the same way it did 200 years ago. It blows my mind that we have to actually fight to not get raped, fight to not get cervical cancer, fight for the right to make our own reproductive decisions, fight for equal pay, and fight to be taken seriously as human beings. Men will never know what that's like."
– Eliza, 22, nursing student
"I've been thinking a lot about how people label women as "victims" when they stand up for themselves. I think it's so fucking brave when a woman takes a stand. Whether she's been raped and is speaking up, or she refuses to work until she gets equal pay, or she's just Tweeting about the harassment she faced at the grocery store, I think we need to hear more of these voices until they're so loud we can't ignore them. Suffering an injustice does not make you a victim."
– Michelle, 25, app developer
"That I really like to fuck. I'm so sick of men assuming they have to coerce me into doing freaky shit with them. I've never met a man who could even come close to keeping up with me. We need to be more accepting of female sexuality, because a lot of women I know are just like me, they're just afraid to show it because society judges them for it."
– Wendy, 29, welds stuff and makes furniture
"I need people to know how fucked up our judicial system is that rapists can spend less time in prison than non-violent drug offenders. The fact that so many women are scared to report their rapes because they don't trust law enforcement is the saddest thing in the world to me. Do you have any idea what it's like to walk around knowing that if you survive a violent sexual assault, you'll be blamed for it? That no one will take you seriously? We're so permissive towards men who rape that it might as well be legal in this country. I can't get that out of my mind."
– Elizabeth, 34, prison corrections officer
"Misogyny is not an action or belief perpetuated solely by men. Women internalize it constantly. Some women feel like in order to be taken seriously, they have to match men's misogyny or disrespect towards women. That's why women voted for Trump and why women voted to de-fund Planned Parenthood. It's not all men's fault — it's a universal issue."
– Katie, 30, musician
"I've actually been thinking a lot about the ways I perpetuate misogyny myself without realizing it. For example, I had a female pilot on a flight the other day. My initial reaction was total surprise — "Holy shit, that pilot's wearing a dress!" Why should that have surprised me? I'm trying to be more conscious about how I see other women, as well as myself, as equals."
– Brittany, 32, band manager
"That there are women in the tech world that are annihilating their male competition."
– Karen, 39, CEO of a geospatial engineering company
"Women have always been funny. Lucille Ball pretty much invented the sitcom."
– Rayna, 27, sex educator and sex store manager
"That identifying as a 'queer' woman is something that I find empowering. I find it incredibly frustrating when men tell me that 'queer' is a bad word. Being queer does not mean that I am indecisive — you'd think that myth would have died by now, eh? My queerness and sex positivity does not mean that men have license to quiz me about having sex with a woman, either."
– Anna, 28, P.h.D candidate in environmental sociology
"'Female' is a construct that can be embodied by anyone who wants to. Even if you weren't born biologically female, there is no reason you can't be one. We welcome you, whether you were born a woman or you found your way to us."
– Mariah, 25, stylist and fashion merchandiser
"That gender roles mean nothing and they never will. I am a woman and I don't want kids. I don't want to get married. I have a higher sex drive than my male partner. I care more about my career than my makeup or clothes or house or social status. I can change a fucking tire. Society tell me I should be none of these things, but I'm all of them. And it doesn't take away from my femininity in any way."
– Rachel, 26, writer and editor
"I'm paraphrasing a protest sign here, but 'Viagra is government funded. Each year, $41.6 million in taxpayer dollars goes towards curing men's limp dicks. If pregnancy is God's will, so are limp dicks.'
Just consider that for a second though … the government is trying to de-fund Planned Parenthood, which provides preventative screenings, STI care and health education to low-income women, yet they're dropping millions on fixing men's flaccid cocks. That's something I literally can't believe."
– Natalie, 26, music supervisor
"My body is not your political battleground. It makes no conceivable sense to me that bunch of older, white men who've never met me can legislate to regulate the cellular processes that happen inside of my body. That is insane. That's just a distant form of control through a mode of corporeal ownership that's not dissimilar to people owning other people. Ever seen a woman try to do that to a man? What if we tried to regulate male sperm output as a contraceptive method? It sounds sci-fi, but it's analogous to what they do to us by restricting our access to contraceptives and abortions. Yet, you don't see us telling men what their sperm can and can't do."
– Tanya, 24, graphic artist
"I can't handle it when men call us 'angry feminist liberals' or something when we get mad. We have a lot to be mad about right now, and most of what we're pissed about is stuff that they'll never be able to understand because being female is not their experience. And if no one gets mad about this shit, nothing will change. What they see as angry feminism, we see as survival."
– Julia, 29, physical therapist
"I think something I've been having a hard time with is how simple tasks like answering the phone at the office, walking around in the city, and going to the mechanic to get my car fixed can all be met with someone undermining you. I get called honey, sweetheart, darling, sweetie on the phone by men CONSTANTLY. It wouldn't bother me so much if I knew the guys answering the phones were getting comments like that too.
Also, women are emotional, sure. BUT MEN ARE TOO. Just because a dude isn't prone to crying in public because of his period cramps does not mean men aren't capable of being controlled by their emotions in situations. ANGER IS AN EMOTION. I've had many situations where I have been screamed at by male clients, yet women are constantly getting labeled as "emotional" and "unable to complete jobs" because of it. It's just total bullshit.
Men have carte blanche to be assholes all month long. But when we're assholes for a few days, it's blamed on our gender."
– Sam, 26, photographer
"Have you ever considered how stupid it is that we actually have to have a Women's Day at all? I'm just a person like the next person. Why does my gender make me any different from anyone? Why do we need a day dedicated to ourselves? There's no Man's Day, which means we are not equal. I can't get behind that."
– Maddie, 26, senior account executive