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How Women Are Oppressed: A Reflection on the Female Heart

You’re born. Your mother calls you a whore when you’re four. You are raped. No one helps you heal. Your classmates call you the school slut. You believe them because even your own Mama says it, so it must be true. Therefore, you turn to sex for comfort , no matter how fleeting it may be. You get pregnant and become a teen mother. Then get pregnant again. You fight your way through it alone, and build a career in spite of it all. You go to a women’s college thinking other women will understand your pain. Instead, they call you angry and resentful and ostracize you from the only community you’ve ever had. You’re hurt and respond in kind by hiding behind religion and hijab. You marry a Muslim thinking he will understand your need for protection from a world that exploits women, but he is sexist himself and—incidentally—only used you for a green card anyway. You think your country is beyond repair, as all you’ve ever really known there is pain and exploitation, and so you give away everything you own to go live with the people of Haiti, because if anyone can understand your pain and powerlessness, God knows they can. You get raped by a Haitian. You write an editorial about it because rape is wrong and you are tired of your body and mind being used as a battleground for white and black men who cannot overcome history or their own feelings of inadequacy. You know the ins and outs of this battle intricately because when you declared your support for Black people’s human rights, your entire family disowned and disinherited you and white men labeled you their sworn enemy. You get attacked online , and your entire life is destroyed. You have no job prospects and no income. You have no access to health care and so your ovarian cysts and fibroids continue to grow, and damn do they hurt. Your children hate you because they feel like you failed them, even though they’ll never understand what it was like to have to sell your blood to buy them formula and diapers and your body to buy them food. Your mother tells you to sign up for disability, but you’re not disabled. You have a great work ethic and want to work, the only problem is that you want to do something with your life that actually matters and that will help others who have suffered like you have. This is impossible to do with no money. Feminist organizations refuse to help you for two reasons: 1. They’re scared of you because your trauma as a woman is more than they can cope with and 2. They resent the fact that after all you’ve been through at the hands of men, you have not made the move to lesbianism because you think it is wrong. Even though you respect their right to choose and know that they should as human beings be afforded equal rights and protection, your stance on this issue means that you will have to deal with your WOMEN’S ISSUES on your own. You chain smoke, praying for death. You give up on life and on people and develop the position that men, family and children bring only pain and disappointment, and that your country will never be healed of its lack of humanity. You laugh when people speculate about why heart disease kills 8.6 million women worldwide each year. You read that when women shoot themselves, they do it in the heart while men shoot themselves in the head. You get that. Then you hear a man say that it takes cojones to be a hero, and you wonder “But what about those of us who don’t have any?” You realize that what you do have is an abundance of heart but that women’s hearts aren’t worth very much on the open market. The breaking of them, though, amasses billions.

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