The Problem Called Guilt

Guilt is a common problem among women. Not because we’ve murdered anyone, held up a bank or blamed a fart on the dog. Guilt is an underlying emotion that we feel at all times. Even if we don’t quite realise it.

  • We feel guilty if we eat one too many biscuits because we might gain some weight and the magazines say we must be trim.
  • We feel guilty because we want to be thinner even though the magazines say we should embrace all body types.
  • We feel guilty for cancelling on our friends because our lives should be like the movies.
  • We feel guilty for being annoyed with our friends who have cancelled because we’ve also done it from time to time.
  • We feel guilty for spending a lot of money on a haircut or a dress or trainers, as if we’re not allowed to treat ourselves with our own money.
  • We feel guilty if the man insists on paying for the date when we know we aren’t going to sleep with him that night, as if the cost of sex is a nice meal.
  • We feel guilty for not sleeping or kissing on the first few dates because we know that’s some people were expecting.
  • We feel guilty if we did have sex on the first date even though women can be as promiscuous as they want too. Society be damned.
  • We feel guilty because we totally judged that woman who walked past for wearing *that* outfit but we know we shouldn’t have assumed she was a slut.
  • We feel guilty for using the word slut. That word society uses to belittle a woman who expresses her sexuality.
  • We feel guilty for expressing our own sexuality and we wonder if we’re doing it in an appropriate way.
  • We feel guilty for the times we feel in competition with other women at work when we’re constantly reminded to have our sisters’ back.
  • We feel guilty for the small voice in our head that rationalises this thought with ‘well if women and men want to be treated equally I’ll treat her like competition like I would any man’.
  • We feel guilty in case we’re actually discriminating against men. And we feel guilty about sometimes feeling like that’s deserved.
  • We feel guilty that we’re not doing more to progress the rights of women all over the world as we’re just focused on our own problems.
  • We feel guilty when we let things slide because it’s easier. And we panic that our feminist card might be taken away from us.
  • We feel guilty in case we’re making too much trouble and making a big deal out of nothing. Even though we know women’s rights are not nothing.

 

The problem with this ‘guilt’ is that it is external. None of these thoughts are our own. They are the product of conditioning. Society, through its publications and hearsay, has conditioned us to feel bad about every little decision we make because we can’t match the idealistic image of women.

Well, to that I say “fuck it”. Never in a million lifetimes will one woman encapsulate all that it is to be Society’s Perfect Woman. No one can become this caricature of woman. No can be the perfect feminist, the perfect female. There will be days when we judge other women, when we screw with our own moral compass, when we wear last night’s make up to work. We will always be flawed. But to be flawed is not to be deserving of guilt. We can be flawed, guilt-free and strive for our own perfection. Screw society.

There will be many days when we will perfect in our own ways, in our own worlds and to our loved ones, and that is enough.

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