I am uncomfortable with how much space men take up around me. How easily they exist in it. How effortlessly they declare everything as theirs." Lora Mathis
And how often I need to deflect unwanted and inappropriate advances both in life and online because my femaleness is perceived as an open invitation to say and do things you wouldn't say or do in broad daylight or in front of your own mother.
How I can't go to a club and not be groped by multiple creeps but still choose to go because I have a right to go out and dance and enjoy myself without being touched. But since the thing I enjoy each weekend includes dealing with creeps, I deal with them and teach them a thing or two while I'm at it.
It usually involves swearing and a mini tell-it-like-it-is session and an aggressive removal of hands or a push of the body if needed. But I shouldn't have to do this. I should be free to exist without being touched.
But I'm the bitch because I put disrespectful men in their place. I'm the problem for having a problem with being dishonoured and having a complete stranger think it's ok to touch me just because he feels a level of attraction and feels justified in acting on it with zero regard for what the other person wants / does not want. That's not fucked up at all!
And how men feel entitled to my time and attention and reciprocity just because they feel a desire. And how often when we go out I need to speak (sometimes yell) on behalf of my friends who are not yet comfortable letting a stranger know it's not ok to be saying or doing what he's saying or doing to her.
How sad it is that a woman who is being violated feels the need to make the violator feel comfortable. She doesn't want to hurt HIS feelings as he disregards hers. She doesn't want to make a big deal out of the fact that he's crossing her boundaries and would rather stay silent and endure the discomfort than to name it and honour herself. Boy, have I been there.
And I have gotten into physical fights over the years with men who were jerks or tried to impose themselves on me or someone I care about because my rage is strong in this area.
I don't have the answer. But I do know I have a right to go where I want and to be and feel safe. And if someone tries to take away that freedom, I charge head on.
Real men must teach boys how to be men. Women must learn they deserve respect and they must learn to say HELL NO, MUTHERFUCKER and get the fuck out of that situation immediately.
FYI, these words were inspired by last night's adventures in Montreal with my love. I kept my girl safe from the sharks so she could simply dance and remain safe, and I did more protecting than I did dancing. We could NOT go to any corner of that club without something creepy making its way to us.
And you might think, just stop going to clubs then. But that solves nothing. The women at the club are not the problem. The way many, not all, men think and act towards women, IS.
And the club experience is just a microcosm of what happens at work, at home and in the street to countless women (and other genders) around the world every day.
With love and an appropriate level of frustration,
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(Collage Art by Rosie Brier Sayers)