Am I Just Your Fragile Flower?


Woman holding a delicate rose to her lips

“I mean no offense, but I need a man to help me. I don’t want you to hurt your chance of having kids one day.”

What he’d said sent me reeling. I never thought such a sweet gentleman could actually believe it or say such a thing. I simply offered my help moving something, and in return, I got an ignorant comment.

This steel item was very heavy, and he’d explained he only wanted to keep me from getting a “strained uterus.” I couldn’t help but laugh. Like my whole purpose as a woman was to have kids one day. 

A strained uterus? Do I pick up things using my vagina? How does that even work? Since it’s in the same area, does that mean that men pick up things with their dicks? Am I just a fragile flower, waiting to break under the stress? Surely I can help pick up something without my entire body rebeling or damaging my uterus. 

Thank God I actually know a thing or two about my own body, right? 

However, at that moment, I was shocked. The blatant sexism of his ideology made me doubt myself and my body and practically threw me into a tailspin at this misinformation.

I distinctly remember searching, after he left, for the odds of damaging one’s uterus lifting heavy objects. The internet quickly reassured me of how slim of a chance this actually was. 

“Surely, not all older gentlemen believe this, right?” I asked my friend who witnessed the event. “If so, how would there be female bodybuilders? My entire job is to move things!” 

Before the Coronavirus threw me out of a job, I worked as a stagehand at a local theater. My job was to pick things up and move them. There were some shows where I worked on my feet for hours on end, pushing boxes out of a semi truck and helping unload them. 

I was one of two women on the crew of nine. My boss and my many male coworkers never batted an eye that I was different. The stereotype of me being weak because I was “just a woman” never came into play there. 

Thankfully, I rarely experience sexim in the workplace, but when I do, it’s usually with outside companies. I’ve had several men look at me funny for attempting to carry things, or call me darling or sweetheart, or even the worst, cupcake.

I remember one man literally tried to take a choir riser out of my hands and insisted that he take it. I was carrying it fine, and could make it to the loading dock door with ease. In my most polite voice I simply said, “No thank you, sir. I can do it myself.” 

You would have thought that I just insulted his dick size by how he looked at me. 

Sure, I know my limit. I know I can’t pick up the bigger of the three partitions and occasionally need someone else to distribute the weight of heavier items, but I am not weak.

So why did this gentleman, who knows what my job is, think that I could not help?  If I was hurting my chance at having kids, why would I take a job at a place where I move heavy items everyday?

To be fair, I am very stubborn. I don’t ask for help, even when I may need it. I push myself to my limit and only then ask for help. There are worse character flaws, right?  

My friend was a little confused at first as to why I was so offended, as they were sure that the gentleman meant nothing by it. After I explained a little about my anger and just got it out of my system, it was hard to keep my friend from running into action to correct the gentleman’s misinformation. 

But I stopped them.

I didn’t let my friend confront the gentleman about his blatant and misinformed sexism. Thinking back, I probably should have stood up for myself and all people with a uterus. 

But why didn’t I? Why was I so scared to stand up for my body and what it could handle? Why was I stubborn at this moment? After all, I always preach about how women need to stand up for themselves, but in the face of it, I let it slide. 

There was nothing we could do to fix it, I’d figured. The moment was long gone, and I was sure the gentleman did not give another thought to it. After all, that is what he had believed for so long. There was no point in fighting his misinformation. Or was there?

Why was I so scared of being looked at as “disrespectful?”

Maybe it was my upbringing that taught me that speaking up for myself was automatically “disrespectful” and “bossy.”

We, as women, are forced under this concept of letting men do everything for us to protect us in this false sense of chivalry. It taught me that I should be grateful that a man is trying to help me, and that I should not injure his ego by refusing to let him help me. 

I’ve been told to respect the “gentleman” culture, that they are only trying to be nice and correctly them is somehow rude. Like I am hindering their “niceness” and I am the stuck-up bitch who is refusing to let them help. 

If me saying no is hurting his ego, maybe I am not the one with the problem.

I understand you want to help me, but I can do it myself. 

So be “disrespectful.” Be “bossy.” You are more than just a damsel in distress who needs a man, or anyone, to save her.