I loved Beyonce’s If I Were a Boy that I sang it all the time. I was 15 years old at that time and had never dated, so I was just vibing with the music but did not really understand the lyrics. I just figured it was about the things Beyonce would do if God had made her a boy instead.
Maybe Beyonce was having a bad experience, I thought. Maybe she was upset with her boyfriend who was not treating her right. After listening to the song dozens of times, it even crossed my mind, what’s with the penis envy, Beyonce? It is not that great of a shape.
Fast forward to now, as I turned 26 and had a good listen to the lyrics again, it hit me hard. I now wholeheartedly understand every word to a level of crazily mad. I Googled the song to find the background, and all hail the Queen Beyonce. She wrote it after realizing that she could never eat pizza without even thinking that it would go straight to her hip–something that would not occur to boys, she figured. It led her to think about the differences it would make if she were the opposite sex and boy, did the list is long.
Just like Beyonce, and millions of other women, I too often imagine how easier my life would be if I were a man. Not just a man, but a cis-hetero-Javanese-muslim man. I’m still privileged, I know, but I’m not gonna lie, it is too suffocating to be a woman sometimes. No, many times. Which is why the scenarios of me being a man cannot escape me from time to time. How? Let me break it down to you, line by line from Ms Knowles herself.
1. I'd roll outta bed in the mornin' and throw on what I wanted, then go
I like fashion and it’s not like I want to wear pajamas to wedding parties. But how liberating it would be when my outfit would not attract comments and judgments about my physicality and sexuality, or whether it has complied to religious rules.
Moreover, men's bodies belong to themselves, but women’s bodies belong to the public. The authority (read: men) will even make policies to control them, even though it clearly violates your basic right.
2. I'd never get confronted for it 'cause they'd stick up for me
Peeing under a tree instead of finding a toilet? Boys will be boys.
Playing too many video games and never doing house chores? Boys will be boys. Besides, isn’t it a woman's job to keep the house clean?
Catcalling? Can’t keep his pants on? Boys will be fucking boys.
Somehow, society is always so forgiving towards men. People would find excuses for them, shrug it off and forget their mistakes, no matter how horrible they are, and still they thrive (I’m talking about you, Chris Brown).
3. Drink beer with the guys and chase after girls
Men can drink freely and be promiscuous without too much social consequences. They are even glorified as being manly or macho. But all hell breaks loose when women do so. We’d quickly be called sluts just because we enjoy alcohol and sex.
4. Taking you for granted and everything you had got destroyed
Society considers women as free therapists. Women are supposed to fix troubled men, staying with them through financial turmoil, infidelity, and abuse in hopes to make them better. Men use women as their punching bags for their unhealed trauma, leaving trails of destruction. When women have survived and successfully changed men’s personalities, they get praise. When they don’t, nobody cares nor lend a hand.
5. You'll wish you were a better man
You know, that men’s masculinity is so fragile, right? They refuse to ask direction on the street; they mansplain because they can’t stand smart women; and their egos are bruised if their partners earn more than them.
Instead of upgrading themselves to be a better man, they opt to blame women for being too ambitious and out of their league. Men’s insecurity is the worst, it even made your parents believe that you should get married instead of getting a master's degree. And people still say that women are always right? Wild.