In the shinobi world it does not matter whether one was a female or a male, because shinobi are considered tools regardless of their genders. Or at least this was how it seemed on the surface.
In reality, despite not being outright voiced, genders played a role in the life of a shinobi.
Males were hugely thought to have large chakra reserves, thought to be stronger than females, and were mostly seem in the frontlines. They got the credit for everything.
Females were hugely thought to have better control of their chakra due to their small reserves, thought to be weaker than men, and were in the background acting as support, whether it be as a medic, seduction or for their use of Genjutsu.
Men never retire from shinobi life while women were expected to after getting married.
There were no female daimyo nor Kage, only males.
The Yellow Flash, God Of Shinobi, White Fang, and The Legendary Sucker. Only one was female.
In short, whether or not people realized it, Sakura knew that the word 'sexism' fell under the category of being a shinobi, often against women.
Sexism; prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of sex.
It was obvious that there was some degree of sexism going on in the shinobi world, and even the civilian one, yet why did no one ever discus it? Why did no one ever tried getting rid of it?
It happened in every village.
In Sunagakure, where women were expected to merely be support types in the basis of poison.
In Konohagakure where women were expected to become medics or Genjutsu types.
In Iwagakure where women weren't even really expected to engage themselves in shinobi affairs.
In Kumogakure where women were thought to be weaker, yet it was more subtle compared to the other villages.
The worst village would be Kirigakure.
At best women were seen as means to repopulation, at worst women were seen as merely objects.
Marry them off? Kill them? Abuse them? Rape them? Show them off as trophies?
As long as one was of a high ranking, they could get away with everything mentioned above.
Kirigakure's society was split into a form of caste system since the founding of the village.
The highest ranking civilians were those whose family lineage originally stemmed from within Kirigakure, the second caste was for members of families who were allied with Kirigakure on the battlefields in the past while the last and lowest caste consisted of members of the families who were defeated on said battlefields and annexed into the village.
From the early days on, the members of the third caste were handled with caution and had to complete the most perilous and dangerous missions for the village — thus keeping them occupied and preventing them from revolting.
Sakura's father, Kizashi, fell under the third caste. He was forced into becoming a shinobi of Kirigakure after being captured during an assault that led to the eventual destruction of Uzushiogakure.
Kirigakure was not a kind village. Especially now that Kirigakure was being ruled by Yagura.
Yagura made it no secret that clans were no longer welcomed in Kirigakure. It was only due to Kizashi's experties in the art of sealing that allowed both him and Sakura to be spared.
Otherwise, they would have been killed for simply being Uzumaki.
Aside from the prejudice against clans, the Yondaime Mizukage was blatantly raising the criteria for females who wanted to become shinobi, and was enforcing an unspoken rule about how females were meant to bear children.
There were exceptions to the rules. The females who earned their right to be a shinobi despite how the odds were against them.
To name an example, Mei Terumi. Sakura's role model, her dream, her aspiration.
Sakura wanted to be just like Mei.
'That's impossible now.'
As much as Sakura hated agreeing with the voice in her head, the voice was right. Because now, Sakura, currently five years old was already engaged.
She was to marry Mangetsu Hozuki at the age of sixteen. (Which was said to be fortunate, considering there was really no age limitations.)
She was only five. Yet her life was already decided for her. She would marry Mangetsu, be his perfect obedient wife, bear his children, then die. Simple as that.
And her father couldn't do anything about it. No one could.
In fact everyone considered it an honor for her to be married off to the infamous Hozuki clan. An Uzumaki and a Hozuki? Surely, they would produce a powerful spawn.
Sakura scrunched her nose up in disgust.
She wanted to become a ninja, not some housewife.
'Well, you aren't really doing much for your cause.'
'I'm five. I can't do anything.'
'Yet now, you are being led to the Hozuki clan compound. How gracious.'
Sakura really hated that voice in her head. She really did. But the voice was right, as much as Sakura loathed admitting it.
She was walking to the lion's den, a traditional compound that seemed more like a dojo at the outskirts of Kirigakure.
Just like her and her father, the Hozuki clan was spared, simply because the late Gengetsu Hozuki was the Nidaime Mizukage.
As Sakura was led into the compound she noticed that most of the servants were women. Sakura chose to ignore it. It would do her no good to angst about the blatant sexism, not when she was supposed to be the perfect wife.
More important than that, the perfect daughter. She would not let her father down. For the sake of both her father, and her fallen clan, she will take on the burden of marrying.
All for her family.
Sakura blinked as she stood in front of a sliding door. She looked around her to see that no one was there.
'What am I supposed to do now?' She wondered feeling sheepish.
She was never taught the protocalls of meeting one's future husband after all. It was literally the day before that Sakura was informed by her father that she was now engaged to the Hozuki clan under orders of someone of high ranking. Her father was pretty pissed, but could do nothing.
Sakura reached out for the sliding door, inwardly steeling herself, and she slid it open.
Mentally checking if her posture was passable, she stepped into the spacious room that seemed to be a dojo.
Her eyes skimmed through the room, noting the various swords placed on display, before they settled on the white haired boy that stood in the middle of the room practicing Kenjutsu with a wooden sword.
As if sensing her presence he stopped, and looked at her.
'He has pretty eyes.' Sakura thought to herself staring at the boy's purple eyes with childish admiration.
"You must be Sakura, right?" The boy gave her a polite smile.
Sakura smoothed out her pink kimono and nodded. "And you are Mangetsu-sama." She stated and gave a polite bow. "It is an honor to meet you."
"No need to be so polite Sakura-chan."
"Then I'll just call you Mangetsu-kun?"
Mangetsu thoughtfully hummed before nodding, "Yeah, that's better."
Sakura didn't say anything else. She didn't see the need to really.
"Kizashi-san has told me a lot about you Sakura-chan." Mangetsu idly said as he wipped some sweat off his forehead.
"He did?" Sakura couldn't keep the curiosity out of her tone.
"Yes, he said you were the cutest child ever. I'm inclined to believe his words from now on."
Sakura flushed, "Papa..." She muttered in annoyance before her eyes landed on a pair of swords that were on display.
"Mangetsu-kun, is that the Kiba?" She asked, an awed look on her features.
Mangetsu looked surprise, not expecting Sakura to have an interest in swords, but he nodded nonetheless.
"How much do you know about it?" He curiously asked walking over to the pair of swords. He motioned for Sakura to come stand beside him.
"It's one of the famous swords of the Seven Swordsmen." Sakura started as she took a stand next to Mangetsu.
"They each have been imbued with lightning, displaying enhanced cutting power in a manner similar to the high-frequency vibrations of lightning-based chakra flow. Because of this they're known as the sharpest blades in existence. It's also said that the two blades can be connected in order to form a larger, and doube edged sword. It was last wielded by Ameyuri Ringo, a well respected kunoichi, before she fell to her illness." She's also one of my idols.
Mangetsu whistled at the information, impressed that Sakura knew that much about the Kiba blades. 'Maybe marrying her won't be so bad.' He thought eyeing the ring Sakura was sporting.
"I assume it's been placed in the care of your clan?" Sakura asked finally looking at Mangetsu, completely oblivious to the eight year old's thoughts.
"Yes. The next canditate is still training."
"Sakura-chan, I know this whole arranged marriage is a bit sudden, especially if you consider our age, but I want us to start as friends."
"Friends?" Sakura was surprised.
"If you want to." Mangetsu assured.
"How does being friends work?"
"You don't know?"
Sakura shook her head no. "I've never had a friend before. My peers are...vocal about their dislike of my family name."
Mangetsu couldn't help himself, he patted Sakura's head reassuringly. He could relate to Sakura on the whole prejudice against clan thing the village had going on after all.
"Let's be friends then."
Sakura nodded, looking mildly surprised.
But neither their marriage nor their friendship would last, because both strived to achieve their ambitions.
Mangetsu's ambition to become one of the Seven Swordsmen of the Mist.
Sakura's ambition to get rid of the sexism in the shinobi world by becoming the strongest shinobi in the world.
Author's Note: Hey guys! Sorry for updating, life's been hectic lately. This story has been in my doce for a while, sooo yeah. Basically this story is a huge "fuck you" to the sexism in Naruto.