You Deserve It

At first glance, Lloyd Banks’ song “I Don’t Deserve You” might appear to be a regurgitation of pop-culture or a song that was made because some people got together and decided they could make a song. Certainly, the song does not reflect on the often-felt (and usually female-owned) feeling that one person in a relationship between two people does not deserve to be with their partner. Unfortunately for Lloyd, his featured artist (Jeremih) doesn’t add much value to the song. In fact, Jeremih’s contributions are downright misogynist. At one point he says, “And yeah, you’re finger-lickin fine.”

Oh please. Women are not chickens and you are not Colonel Sanders. Let’s get that clear from the outset, shall we?

What the entire song misses is that heterosexual women feel they can’t match up to their strong, self-confident male partners. An article on the Social Construction of Deservedness includes a quote which claims that people naturally have a desire to view one’s own status groups as having higher social position than other status groups. I don’t know about you, but the last time I checked, the evidence is clearly against women having higher- or even equal social status- in comparison to males. It also does not explain the “doll test” used in the Brown v. Board of Education ruling to determine that separate and equal are words that do not necessarily go together.

In order to explain why women feel as though they do not deserve to be with the partner of their choice- or indeed any positive life event- it is necessary to explain how males and females are socially constructed together. Were males and female children to get together and choose which doll they liked best between the genders, white male dolls would always be chosen. White males have a privilege that only they enjoy, and the automatic assumption prior to thinking about why privilege exists is that they deserve it. After all, if they did not deserve it, they would not have it, correct? For this reason, privilege is often something that is overlooked in society and thought of as natural. People are only getting what ought to be theirs, after all.

Here I’d like to re-define what privilege for a woman ought to be. Stories about women suffering sexual violence are not difficult to find, nor it is hard to find stories about women getting paid less than men. To some extent, we as a society have fooled ourselves into thinking that this is the status quo, that the way things are is the way things should be. To be a feminist is an open declaration that things need to change. Since change is the most positive force society can use to advance itself, it logically follows that feminism is a positivist doctrine. The day when feminism isn’t needed may never come within our lifetimes, but there is something you can do for your own well-being to improve your own life in the short term.

You can admit to yourself that you deserve Prince Charming, his shining armor, his white horse and the castle that comes with it.

Whether or not you’ve actually earned the right to be with someone so amazing is quite beside the point. People deserve the best in their lives. It is, after all, part of human nature to move ever closer to what we feel the best is. We are never satisfied, even if we are billionaires, unless we keep moving forward, progressing ever higher. Success in Western society is measured by individual achievement, which often makes women feel as though they have to do something to justify the good life they have. To me, that idea is entirely erroneous.

You don’t have to clean Prince Charming’s living room or shine his armor every day. You don’t have to muck out the stables or run about the castle swatting at low-hanging spider webs with your broom. These things won’t make you feel any better about the inequality you perceive in your relationship because he will still be the strong, perfect man while you, taking on the role of  a servant, perform such functions as to make yourself invisible. Instead, all you have to do is be yourself. Love Prince Charming or don’t. If the perfect man isn’t right for you, then leave him. The choice is entirely yours.

The one thing I want to caution every woman about is that the sense of inferiority you feel stems not from you being or acting less than you feel you ought, but from a societal programming you undergo throughout the course of your life that tells you women are sex objects, women are servants (of the Lord), women are inferior and that women are supposed to be silent. I am sure that if some people had their way, women would not even be born and we would scientifically find a way to grow fetuses in laboratories so that only men lived in the world.

I’m here to tell you that everything you’ve been taught about the lack of value in a woman’s life is totally wrong. It’s based on outmoded thinking and bronze-age beliefs where the majority of the people were illiterate anyway. Today, we know better- or we should.

Women’s lives have value.

Women have individual rights.

Women deserve every happiness they come across.

It may be hard to believe, but it’s true. Human beings are not born with their lives automatically having no value and people do have rights at birth. To be born free is a condition the universe grants to you. It is only when you don’t believe it, when you don’t believe you deserve it that freedom becomes like the sun on the horizon: plainly visible, never reachable.

Disclaimer: This post was written by a Feministing Community user and does not necessarily reflect the views of any Feministing columnist, editor, or executive director.

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