Everyone knows that the patriarchy has unrealistic beauty standards for women. They expect us to be thin, pretty, blonde, and healthy at all times. They expect perfectly done makeup and for us to dress pretty everytime we leave the house. This is destructive on so many fronts to women’s psyche and their collective mental state, but what a lot of people don’t know is that it is also taking a very taxing toll on their physical health. Women get pressured into eating disorders all too much, but another little-known problem is canker sores.
I will admit I was not woke enough to know this was a problem until it was introduced to me by a friend of mine, Mager. He showed me an article saying that canker sores were more prevalent in females than males. While this itself does not seem to be a problem, upon further research, I realized that this is literally oppression.
Let’s break this down. Canker sores are large painful lumps on the inside of your mouth. They make it hard to eat and to talk. Canker sores disproportionately affect women. That is a fact. These are two things that society has discouraged women from doing for years. Eating has been a symbol of unrealistic beauty standards for as long as women have been alive. Eating has never been something that was encouraged for women to do, women have always had to be stick thin and unrealistically like a Barbie Doll. Since canker sores prevent women from eating it is clear that this is a way to keep women below a size 6.
Canker sores also prevent women from talking. This is another thing that the patriarchy has long since tried to do to women. Women have been silenced for as long as politics have been around. A la Margaret Atwood women have been discouraged from having opinions and since canker sores make it hard to talk and disproportionately affect women, this is another ploy to keep women silent and take away healthcare and basic rights that we have been denied for so long.
Canker sores are caused by orthodonture, in part. Unrealistic standards of beauty also dictate that women’s teeth need to be straight and this is a perfect example of the physical harm that these cause women and girls alike.
It is a vicious cycle and a clever one. First women and girls are pressed into needing orthodontic treatments, to fit the mold of a ‘beautiful’ woman. Then when they do this they are unable to talk, to eat, or to express an opinion.
Some might see this as a trivial problem, a microaggression, but I could go as far as to say that it is so much more. It is a problem facing women are girls today and one that feminism is equipped and ready to deal with.