No One Likes a Mad Woman

Photo by Ethan Cardaño/THE FLAME

No man is an island. But a woman is.

Most of my childhood was spent on learning and unlearning many things. I only knew how to read and write, do chores and follow instructions from other people. 

It did not come as a surprise when the people who used to adorn me as a child started despising me when I started standing on my ground. It was now a form of disrespect, they said. I went from being a naive girl to an ungrateful and aggressive one. I was barely 14.

No man is an island, but a woman becomes one over time. 

She is, then, condemned to loiter around men’s safe havens. What is a woman’s place in the world if not to share the same place with a man whose privilege is far greater than all women combined? God is a man, and Mary was just a human — a young girl, to be exact. What other power did Mary have over the world besides her womb? A God is a God, and a girl is just a girl.

Riding bicycles was considered a male activity, a pastime for young boys. No one overreacts when they slip, fall and suffer a few scratches here and there. But there was a time during my mother’s young years when she had to hide her interest in riding bicycles from her father. When her father caught her riding one on his way home, he lashed out at my mother for being “unladylike.” No one told her he was just overreacting.

Because being a girl was to be told to sit down in the corner and behave, legs slanted and hands clasped together, while the boys tussled around and enjoyed themselves. 

A woman is taught to smile much better with her teeth out. But if the smile only shows the end of her lips raised in one or both corners, she is either ungrateful or timid.

My aunt often told me to grin more. She instructed me to stop being rude and be more friendly around people. What did I even do? I have not said a word, nor did my facial expression indicate that I was not in a good mood. I was only existing. Later, she told me I must “man up” because the world is not kind to girls like me. I wonder who tolerates that system?

A woman is either good or evil. She is a freak if she surpasses her male classmate in an academic ranking. She is obsessed with grades. Screw my 13-year-old self who wanted to boost my grades on a particular subject out of genuine interest in wanting to grow. Whether I fail or excel, I am still a wicked girl, regardless.

If one is still a girl, her attitude that society does not agree with needs to be altered — may it be in any form of punishment deemed to be of discipline. But once she turns into a woman, she is nothing but an absolute witch who would have been burned down deep in the forest. Her existence is erased. Her ashes and attitude are gone, carried by the wind.

I am no longer a girl; I am now subjected to criticisms that are neither constructive nor decent. I am now a woman, and the elders think I can still be controlled.

A woman lives in binary. People’s perception of her seems to be no in-between: always this or that, never this and that. If she is this, then she is forever like that. 

I was told once that I was a prude. I was pretentious for dressing in wool vests and cardigans, anything that covered myself up. However, when my shoulders peeked out, I became an attention-seeker who wanted male validation. 

A glimpse of my skin was a form of seduction. A smile was an invitation. I was reduced to a commodity to satisfy my counterpart. I hated it.

Anger is a natural response to disrespect. So tell me, why is it that when a woman is angry, she is deemed the devil’s incarnation? Why is anger sinful when a woman feels it? 

What kind of madness is a woman allowed to have? 

These questions will be left unanswered for who knows how long. For now, all I can do is wonder, while a Taylor Swift song echoes what I feel. After all, no one likes a mad woman — what a shame I went mad. F

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