Check out Devi Yulia’s take on the issue of women, smoking, and feminism.
Smoking is like death in anticipation for me personally. It is really hard to believe that this activity, either discreetly or blatantly, is a priority to some people. Furthermore, it is not only men who smoke, but women are also brave already to taste cigarettes. This issue is debatable from many aspects, which is mostly opposed by conservative people and society. Actually, there are many contradictions about women who smoke.
First, we all know already that smoking is unhealthy. In fact, the impacts affect both men and women. However, it is revealed that women might get much worse effects than men due to their biological system and structure. Women experience hormonal cycle that makes them able to menstruate, conceive and breastfeed. Women also possess breasts and a uterus while men do not. When it comes to smoking, women are more susceptible and need an extra medical care. The diseases might be breasts cancer, cervix cancer, haid disorder and pregnancy disorder. Women who smoke damage their body slowly, but some women never even care.
Second, women who smoke are improper to see in public. This may seem stereotypical, but women are seen as motherly and sweet creatures in most societies. Women who smoke violate these “rules” and ruin women’s image without feeling guilty or miserable. They smoke as if their life is a wild and free one. By showing the smoking habit to many people, they will get attention and amusement instantly, although it is negative.
Third, analog with the previous paragraph, women who smoke are mostly labeled or called as bad and naughty girls. It is because that smoking is identical to other negative habits, like getting drunk, using drugs or having sex uncontrollably. Undeniably, women are often treated unfair by societies. By getting these labels, their image will change negatively and they will be treated fiercer. As a matter of fact, this labelling or judging women who smoke actually will help them realize that they have done a wrong thing and hopefully they will change. However, some women react differently by being proud of their “new nicknames” and doing a wilder action to prove the labels given.
The contras provided is very opposed to the pros, which mostly try to save women’s image. Women who smoke is said to be following the current trends. The statement marks “women equality” that has an idea that women can follow the same trends as men do. It also relates to the feminist point of view with the opinion that women who smoke try to break out society’s social norms and come out as free and independent women (which is back to the third paragraph). Another thing is that smoking is the first option for some women to relieve stress. Now, according to me, trends are not always good to follow. There are a good trend and a bad trend. A mature woman should understand what is right and wrong for her. A woman must hold strong principles in her life so that she will not easily get dragged into a bad habit. About the feminist point, I personally find it unrelatable at all. Feminists who think like that are not positive feminists. Feminists value women who can climb up inequality with their strengths and competences in a positive way, and smoking is absolutely not one of the answers. Moreover, relieving stress can be done not only by smoking. Smoking may release a stress, but it is not permanent. Rather than smoking, it is much better to do other positive activities, like studying or doing sports.
There are three contradictions for women who smoke, like getting unhealthy, becoming improper to see in public and being labeled by society. Anyway, the decision once again comes back to the woman herself. Some think that smoking is something ordinary and not unusual at all while some agree that smoking is really not proper for women in any aspect. No matter what decision she makes, it is better to exclude smoking activity and try to hold the temptation as strong as she can.
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