She wrinkled her nose and looked at me as though I’d just announced I’d be voting for Tony Abbott at the next election. “So let me get this straight: when you got married, your husband suddenly took control of your body?”
My husband took control of my body?
I thought I’d just said “I’ve just got to let Jarod [my husband] get used to the idea, then I’ll get the piercing”, but based on her response what came out of my mouth must have sounded more like:
“Jarod has me under lock and key. It was really nice of him to let me out of the house today; usually I’m just stuck inside doing womanly things like baking and cleaning.”
At the time I’d managed to change the topic, unwilling to open that can of worms with my friend, but I’ve been left thinking about it ever since.
Feminism is great. I love it. Rock on, sisters. Julia Gillard pulling up Tony Abbott in parliament? Highlight of my year! Equal rights for women? Hell yeah! Rape is bad? Damn straight!
I am a strong, independent woman. I am in a wonderful relationship with my husband, one built on trust and respect. I consider him my best friend, and I married him because I really would like to spend the rest of my life with him.
What confuses me is that according to my proud feminist friend, if I want to support women’s rights, I shouldn’t take his opinions and thoughts into account when it comes to anything about my body. And that includes putting a piece of metal in it.
When I got home I posed a question to Jarod. “If I got a nose piercing without even telling you I was considering it, how would that make you feel?” His answer was simple: a little hurt, a little left out. Would he get over it? Of course.
But to me, the issue runs deeper than that. Jarod treats me as an equal. We respect each other’s decisions. We keep each other involved in our lives because we want to, not because we feel we have to get each other’s approval before we act. We have shared finances and consider each other when we go to make purchases because that’s the respectful thing to do.
Have I hit the jackpot with this man? Surely I’m not alone in sharing a relationship in which both parties are equal. I can’t name any men I know of who would forcibly refuse a woman the right to do what she wanted to her own body.
Ultimately, my getting a nose piercing will effect Jarod more than it will anyone else in my life. He’s the one who’ll have to spend more time than most looking at it. If I were in a relationship with a woman, I would be asking her opinion as well.
That’s why next time my friend screws her nose up at me, I am going to let her know that this isn’t about ‘men having control’, this is about ‘respecting your partner’. Something that should come standard with equal rights, regardless of gender.