When It’s 2017 & You Still have to Explain Why We Need Feminism
In light of the allegations and ongoing investigation against the dirty pig otherwise known as Harvey Weinstein, I’d like to personally share my own experiences of sexual harassment to let my readers truly understand what it’s like to live in a society of misogyny. It’s a tough subject and an even harder conversation, but it needs to be talked about. We need to start having more and more of these discussions on how it needs to be addressed.
The Elephant in the Room
It’s my favorite day of the week. #FeminismFriday. What inspired me to write this lengthy and in-depth post is mainly of because I want people to really understand. Like, really understand what it’s like being a girl. And what I witnessed last weekend. I was out with mutual friends and the number of times we were disrespected by disgusting, drunk, sloppy college frat boys AND grown men was more than usual. It’s sad because we’re so used to it happening to us since we were pre-teens that we didn’t even bat an eye when we got catcalled walking 4x that night, or when a drunk guy flashed us. A strange guy also followed us around and we had to tell security to help us. Feeling creeped out is very much normal for a girls night out. And that within itself, is NOT normal. I mean honestly, why is this shit so normalized? Why have we not progressed at all since I was growing up? I mean, I had not even had my first period yet and I was already sexualized at 12 years old. You can’t make this stuff up. So, let’s go. Here is my timeline as I recall every incident vividly:
7th grade: I went to a school where we had a standardized dress code, however, girls were allowed to wear skirts so long as they were navy/khaki and just above or on the knee. On this particular day, I wore a khaki skirt to match with my best friend at the time. We were walking out of gym towards next period. There was a short, semi-dark hallway that led from the gym into the main hall that we had to get through. There were three 8th grade boys on my right and two other boys to my left. We walked quietly side by side and as we did these boys – they tried to reach up our skirt and when we turned around and shouted “Stop!” they would laugh and scatter about. I was horrified. We hurried off together and never spoke of the incident. But I will tell you this. I chose not to wear a skirt for the remainder of the year. Point in case: Girls are taught that it’s our fault for wearing a skirt or “skimpy” clothing. How many times have you heard, “Well why were you wearing that?” I was so very young and little did I know, the fear of walking alone through a crowd of men is something only us females will ever understand and that was only the beginning.
2. Freshman year: Walking home from school after getting off the bus and a man in his 30s honked at me. I was wearing capris and a tank top with a purple backpack. It was 101 degrees out. This would be the first time of many where a man in his car would honk, whistle, or yell dirty things for no apparent reason at all.
3. Sophomore year: I had dated an older boy for a couple months. I broke up with him because I didn’t like him. I only gave him a chance because everyone said he was “a nice guy”. My so-called friends pressured me into dating him. We never did anything sexual, yet he lied and told his friends we did. They believed him. I found out 2 years later at a party when his friend came up to me drunk and said, “I can’t believe you let ____ hit!” And even if I had done anything sexual to him, why was I the dirty one? Why are females always seen in a different light when we choose to be sexual when it takes two to tango? What’s up with that?
4. Junior year (Being told “Boys will be boys”): This is when I really became fully aware of what it means to be a girl. The clothes I wore, the way I walked, talked, and the way I sat down in a dress including the unwanted stares. I wore a v-neck and jeans that day. Do you know what it’s like to work hard on something, stand up there and give a speech only to be distracted by their eyes are on your chest? You literally see their eyes on your chest. And they don’t care that you see them looking. I later told my teacher, a woman, and she told me not to worry about it, I did well on my report and that boys will be boys. I just stared at her before I realized there was a photo on her desk of two boys. Her sons. Just because a boy’s hormones are skyrocketing at that age, does not mean they shouldn’t be taught not to stare. And that is why male CEO’s, executives, and other businessmen are the same way. Because they were not told otherwise as a child. As a woman, you have to demand respect. It is and will never be given to you.
6. My first job: I had taken a job as a hostess at a local hibachi grill. The chefs would repeatedly make jokes with all the girls – all day long. “Go out with me. Let me take you out. Do you think you can handle this? You look sexy today. If we were alone, what would you do to me?” We had to be nice because we knew the chef’s performance was a huge portion of our tips and we couldn’t seat customers unless they were ready and happy to cook. So we had to stay on their good side. I quit after just 7 months.
7. First Bar/Club: Ladies, ladies. How many times have you been out and you feel something against your bottom, or a hand grazes your thigh. Or when you’re out dancing and a guy just casually starts dancing behind you, so your friends have to pull you away. Listen, if you want to dance with a girl, go up to her and ask her. Say, “Is it OK if we dance to the next song? Can I get you something to drink?” How fucking hard is it to ask. And if she says no, then she says no. So what. You tell a guy to fuck off, but you secretly fear he will find and murder you. Which brings me to my next experience.
8. Drunk men: I was minding my own business, talking amongst friends and I felt a hand up my ass. This incident happened twice, about three months apart. When I turned around, either he was gone, or he was so plastered that there would be no point in taking action other than throwing my drink at him and walking away to let security take care of him. Being drunk is not an excuse. There is no excuse to touch anybody without their fucking consent. It doesn’t matter if I’m at a bar, a club, a house party, a pool, anywhere. This can happen to anyone, anywhere, doesn’t matter what you look like either.
9. Vacationing in Miami – I went to Miami with my best friend, older brother, and his friend. The four of us had just been partying all night when we decided to leave and chill at the beach. It was about 1 AM or so. Being tipsy, us girls went to the public restroom nearby while the boys waited outside a few feet away. When I came out my brother told me a chilling story. He said two men were about to go inside the restroom after us until my brother and his friend walked up to them and they knew that it wasn’t worth the fight or hassle. Had my brother not been there guarding the area, God knows what would have happened that night in the restroom. I got into a fight with my brother and friend during this trip because he kept giving me shit for being naive. Yes, I agree, two girls dressed in skirts and heels should not be out alone in Miami at night. But that is precisely the problem. Why should two young girls be told to “be careful” and “cover up” or “don’t be stupid”? When are we going to call out the savage men? I mean shouldn’t we tell them, oh I don’t know, maybe DON’T FUCKING RAPE PEOPLE? Or to stop fucking acting like wild animals??? It’s a SICK culture and I’m over it.
10. When my boss was unprofessional – That time my boss wanted to hang out with me outside of work without our other co-workers. I played dumb and declined and he acted very strangely over the next few weeks, assigning me a shit load of work, more than usual. So he punished me for not taking in his advances. Enough said.
Listed above are the major events. There have been plenty of other times that I have not mentioned on here which are usually sexist messages, voicemails from my exes, men calling me a bitch or stuck up because I “friend zone” them, unwanted stares from men, sexist and dumb remarks from my Uber driver or someone on the subway, just tons of shitty times where it sucked to be a woman.
And here are a couple screenshots I saved of more recent times:
^Not replying to a guy who I no longer had an interest in and he calls me a bitch.
^A sales associate who helped me with my furniture got my number from a previous order placed. Sends me a picture and then apologizes for it the next morning. Also blames me for not buying me furniture or coming to see him at the store? Wild. I know.
I’m not embarrassed or ashamed. When I was younger I felt very powerless and confused. Now that I’m wiser, I’m not afraid. I will not let a man scare or intimidate me. Now, I am always prepared.
What is with this whole purity and innocence surrounding a woman’s virginity? Like she automatically becomes used goods after having sex or something. Or get this. When a woman actually enjoys being sexual or having sex, she’s labeled a slut.
On a more serious note, I don’t think it devalues a woman when she has been sexually assaulted or even raped. I think it becomes her strength, and she becomes a voice to be heard so that others may speak up. And if you know someone who is a victim, be the voice they need and contact authorities. We must hold such men accountable. Harvey Weinstein is only one of many. We need to do a better job of teaching our sons how to act respectfully instead of telling our daughters to beware. This blog is a safe place, feel free to message me if you need anyone to talk to.
Additional resources and information: https://www.rainn.org/