Equality, feminism, Jane Austin, Literature, Sociology

The Box

I was quiet, but I was not blind.

~ Jane Austen



The Box.

Where we are born. Where we grow up. Where we learn what it is to be a contributing member of society.

Where we learn what it means to be a legitimate person.

White. Straight. Monogamous. Educated. Wealthy.

But it runs so much deeper than that. Being a woman, I am aware of the constant stream of information drilled into me about how I should act, what I should think, how I should dress. When I should learn to ‘keep my mouth shut’, and when it is OK to have an opinion. It would seem that unless it is about the new matte, long stay lip gloss, or whether I should choose the blue plunging neckline dress, or the red skin-tight mini for next week’s wedding (FYI – neither are appropriate for a wedding), the reality is the Box would prefer it if I would kindly refrain from having an opinion at all.

Be polite. Don’t swear. Don’t bully people with your opinion… it’s curious how quickly that translates to, it is not attractive for you to have an opinion. And there it is… the ultimate goal for a woman.

Be attractive.

Be desired.

Be sexy.

My mind, my thoughts, my feelings, my strengths and weaknesses, my entire being… reduced to whether the traits that make me, me, are attractive to someone else. I am not just talking about a man finding a woman attractive… a parent finding their child’s behaviour attractive – not even a parent – a friend, a grandmother, a complete stranger watching a tantrum in the middle of the shopping centre.

“Shut that kid up”, their behaviour is not attractive.

In school, we are dressed the same, we learn the same, individuality is something to be condemned. It does not matter if you don’t like the uniform – because what you like, who you are… is irrelevant.

In university, you can’t have an original thought. If you happen to think of something completely autonomously, you best go research that – because I guarantee there is someone else who thought of it first. And there always is. They always exist. Why is that? Why do we not question why, as intelligent, curious beings, we are becoming incapable of new ideas? Of extending our thinking beyond this cage we have grown up in?

So here I am. A white, married, childless (I know – tick tock), woman.

To ask exactly that. To question everything.

To take on the Box.

The funny part? Someone has already thought of this too.

Stay tuned…