opinion

In case you need a reminder, here's why being a woman in 2016 is awesome.

Sometimes it can be really hard being a woman.

You turn on the television and on the same network — and sometimes by the same people — you see efforts to raise awareness of domestic violence, and then jokes about killing women.

You scroll through Instagram and Facebook, where female nipples are banned but comments threatening to rape a woman are not.

You walk down the street and feel guilty for crossing the road when you see a man approaching, but then remember the countless times you’ve been yelled at and leered at, and know you’ll feel uncomfortable if you don’t.

You feel excluded from certain social events and conversations because so much of our society has been built by men, for men.

If you try to join in, you’re trying too hard to be ‘one of the boys’ and are perceived as overbearing and unattractive. If you avoid joining in, you’re boring and prudish.

You have a baby, you nurture that incredible tiny life, and then you’re chastised for what’s happened to your body after giving birth and told it’s not beautiful anymore.

Watch: #WhenIWas – Women share their experiences of sexism. (Post continues after video.)

In many ways, we can’t win. And it can be exhausting.

But if there’s one thing I’ve learnt from watching shows like Outlander and reading Jane Austen, it’s that there are a number of things we, as women in 2016, can be happy about.

So here are some of the benefits of being a woman today, compared to being a woman at any other point in history.

We have our own monies.

Before the late 1800s women couldn’t earn their own wage. That means they couldn’t buy their own snacks. Or go to the movies (or… theatre?) without permission.

Can you imagine?

Now we’re all doing this (setting aside capitalism and the restrictions that come with it, oh, and the gender pay gap).

YAAAS LADIES. Image: Giphy.
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Our dads don't have to give someone a cow when they marry us.

In fact, my family isn't obliged to give anything to the person who marries me. I'm not even obliged to get married in the first place.

BOO YEAH.

We can drive. Trucks and buses and cars, oh my!

Perhaps in my case this isn't a great thing. I'm a particularly bad driver and I know I shouldn't say it because it supports a really sexist stereotype but I am genuinely a danger. Not because I'm a woman. But because I'm an idiot.

We don't have to wear a corset or a girdle.

Which is lucky, because I don't know what a girdle is. (Post continues after gallery.)

Cadbury.

So it's cliché. Sue me.

We can call ourselves feminists, and men just have to deal.

Hundreds of years ago, you might have been acutely aware of the injustice you were facing as a woman. You might have been dressed up as a man on stage performing Shakespeare (OK, I completely stole that imagery from Shakespeare in Love), and knowing with every inch of you how fundamentally unfair it was that women were treated differently to men, and not granted the same opportunities.

But at the time, it wasn't culturally acknowledged. It was just...accepted.

Now, we get to be feminists, and call it out.

Image: FOX/Giphy.
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We don't have to marry or hang out with men we don't like.

...But you can if you want to!

We don't need to be chaperoned.

Lol, that would be so creepy.

We can call men a**holes when they are, in fact, being a**holes.

When people patronise us and tell us we're being too sensitive, or we're 'crazy', or we should smile more, we can tell them to F**K OFF. And we won't get, like, excommunicated from the tribe or anything (that I know of).

"You asked us to smile?" Image: Comedy Central

Women are less likely to be attacked by sharks than men.

OK, so it's possible this is because women spend less time in the ocean. But I just... I just like to bring up this fact when I can. WOMEN ALSO NEED MORE SLEEP.

We don't have to wear chastity belts.

Because that would be completely and utterly ridiculous.

Watch: The Mamamia Out Loud team explain how women are 'gaslighted'. (Post continues after video.)

Pads, tampons and period-proof undies.

In the good 'ol days (I say that ironically), I don't even want to imagine what women had to do when they had their period. I assume it was uncomfortable and unfair, and that they felt a great deal of shame for a bodily function they couldn't control.

Today, some of that shame remains, but we're moving towards options that make it easier. Like comfy pads with facts on them! And tampons that come in all different sizes and fun colours! And period-proof undies!

We're literate. (YAY.)

Education used to be viewed as primarily the domain of men. Men would learn science and make discoveries and write novels and poetry and philosophy... because they were the only ones given the opportunity.

Now? We ladies are literate. And we are totally killing it at being literate. More women graduate from law than men, women outperform men in many academic areas, and sometimes, just sometimes, we even get to write things on the Internet.

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Of course you do, you modern woman, you! Image: HBO/Giphy.

We can vote!

...For men, mostly :(

We have a voice.

With more women occupying public spaces, we're gaining a voice. There are quintessentially female issues and experiences that, until recently, simply weren't talked about in public.

In 2016, we have the power to encapsulate our frustrations and put them in the limelight. Lena Dunham talks about sex and anxiety and body image. Sheryl Sandberg talks about imposter syndrome and women in the workplace. Shows like Orange is the New Black, Broad City, Girls and Master of None give us mainstream pop culture moments that represent us.

THIS IS SO TRUE. Image: Netflix/Giphy.
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 We don't get burnt at the stake for being 'witches' anymore.

Just a few centuries ago, middle-aged women — particularly those who were married but had few or no children, and who had a reputation for being a little bit controversial — would get burnt at the stake.

Sure, society still ridicules these kinds of women, and as women age they become less and less visible in the media, and we're always suspicious of women with no children (*cough Julia Gillard cough*) but hey — at least people are replacing the 'w' with a 'b' these days!

See - being a woman in 2016 isn't so bad, ladies. Of course, some oppressive issues exist today that might not have existed for women hundreds of years ago, and there are endless barriers to equality that should have long been overcome by now.

It should also be noted that I'm writing this from the perspective of a white, middle class, Western woman who lives in Australia, so I am a particularly privileged woman in 2016.

But when you're feeling down and looking at all the mountains we still have to climb to achieve economic, social and political equality with men, don't forget to look behind you. Because we have come a long way, and it proves we're capable of anything.

BOOM. Image via Giphy.

What's your favourite thing about being a woman?

Featured image: HBO

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