Things Guys Don’t Understand

While we continue to fight for gender equality, there are many people who don’t seem to understand what feminist mean when they say “equality.” We don’t mean that we want to hit and be hit without consequence. We don’t mean that we want to stop shaving our legs and never wear makeup again. While these things would be nice to do without judgment for some, there is a bigger picture at large here. We want to feel safe when we go out. We want to be able to go to the bathroom alone without getting anxious. We want to be able to have fun without worrying about giving someone the wrong idea. We want to be able to do the things we want to do without constantly having to think about who we are going with, making sure someone we know is within sight, and keeping ourselves safe. We want to stop having to constantly look over our shoulders, stop getting blamed for our own assaults, and stop having to defend everything we do. With this, there are some things that guys need to understand about being a girl; things they aren’t even aware of. These are the things that many of us wish guys would wrap their heads around.

We don’t enjoy being catcalled or told we have a nice butt, or any other part of our bodies: It’s not flattering; it’s disgusting and dehumanizing. It makes us feel that we are sexual objects that exist merely for your viewing pleasure. It doesn’t make us feel good or pretty; it makes us feel anxious because we don’t know your intentions. It makes us feel self-conscious about everything we wear. The worst part is we blame these feelings on ourselves because we shouldn’t be drawing attention to ourselves, instead of holding the ones making us feel this way responsible.

Stop assuming rape accusations are false: Out of 1,000 rapes, 2 are falsely reported. That’s .02%. Of those same 1,000, 100 are reported, 20 rapists face trial, and 10 rapists serve jail time. We need to end the stigma surrounding this, because 900 out of 1,000 rapists are free to do it again.

Stop expecting apologies when we are assaulted: How many times do girls feel they need to apologize to their boyfriends for being assaulted? How many men are relieved to find out their wife was raped rather than unfaithful? Why are woman expected to ask for forgiveness when they are assaulted? The answer to all of these questions is we keep blaming women for own their own assaults. If it were about how revealing our clothes are, sexual assault rapes would quadruple in the summer, but they don’t. If it was about how much we drank, then sober women wouldn’t get assaulted, but they do. If it was about how much sex we have, then virgins wouldn’t get assaulted, but they do. There is no other crime where people try to blame the victim and justify the actions of the offender. Stop blaming women for our own assaults, and start blaming the people assaulting us.

When we say no, we mean no: This is not us playing hard to get. If you want a “challenge,” do a crossword, and stop using us as means to prove your own masculinity. We don’t hear you flirting when you say this; we hear you disregarding our words. We hear that you are ignoring our voices and looking at our bodies. We hear you saying that you don’t care about our consent. No is not a challenge, so stop disregarding us when we tell you no.

It isn’t our fault that we don’t know how to fix things: From the time we are toddlers, boys are taught to fix things; they are taught how to work on cars, how to use tools, and how to mow the lawn. Very few girls are taught these same things; we are taught how to cook, look pretty, and clean. While none of these skills are bad things to have, we are tired of being made fun of for not “knowing how to change our oil.” It isn’t our fault that we weren’t taught these things like you were. Instead of belittling us for it, take the time to teach us it.

The friend zone is a place you created: If we aren’t attracted to you, then we simply aren’t attracted to you. Stop making us feel bad for it; being rejected is never fun for anyone, but stop making us feel like we are bad people for not returning your feelings. We shouldn’t have to feel guilty for being attracted to a type of guy who is not you. Stop making us feel guilty for saying no.

Makeup is not “false advertising,” because we are not products: We wear makeup because it makes us feel good about ourselves, not for you. We also shave our legs because we want to, do our hair the way we want to, and wear the things we feel good in. Our physical appearance is not a prize for you.

We don’t like you in our personal space: You don’t know how it feels to have someone who is bigger and stronger than you invading your space, when you know you would have a slim chance of fending them off if you needed to. We take a step back when you get too close, we flinch when you talk with your hands, and we cower when you yell because women are conditioned to be afraid in those situations. We are conditioned to expect to be hurt when you are angry. Don’t make us feel guilty for an automatic, involuntary reaction that we can’t control. As much as we want to believe you wouldn’t hit us, we know there is a chance you might. As much as we want to believe you won’t assault us, we have to be prepared in case you change your mind. If we step back, don’t step forward. If we cower, lower your voice instead of raising it. If we flinch, look at the placement of your hands. You will never now how it feels to be in our situation when it comes to these issues, but you can at least attempt to understand where the uneasiness comes from. More women have been killed by domestic violence in the last decade than people killed in the War on Terror and the 9/11 attacks combined and 1 in 3 women are abused. Don’t make us feel bad for being scared when we are taught to be afraid of an angry man.

When we say things about men, we don’t mean all me: When you say “not all men,” we already know this, but here’s what you aren’t getting. Maybe not all men, but enough men to make women afraid to make eye contact or smile at all men. Not all men are dangers to women, but all women have felt threatened by a man. Not all men, but too many men.

Feminists are you best friends: Feminists believe that rapist are made and not born; that not every man is a rapist. We are the ones who are advocating for your right to show emotion. We are the ones who defend males who are victimized. We are the ones who advocate for men who are victims of rape and/or domestic violence. We are fighting for your rights just as hard as we are fighting for our own.

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For guys who need a pick me up; who need to be reminded of their worth and their value, check out my post “For the Boys” in the link below.

https://historyiswhoweare.com/2016/12/03/for-the-boys/

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My Top 10 Flaws

It’s no secret that we all have things about ourselves we aren’t proud of, and normally we try to hide these things. However, we all have flaws, so why hide them? If they are something you want to change, you must start by owning them. As Tyrion says, “Wear it like armor and it can never be used to hurt you.” So, this post spells out what I feel are my worst qualities. Some people may disagree, but having people tell you that you’re wrong about yourself doesn’t make the problem go away; it just makes you feel invalid. Some of these things have a bright side to them, but overall, they are what I feel my worst flaws are.

I take things far too personally: I have always been one to take things to heart, even when they have nothing to do with me. If a person doesn’t respond to my texts, while logically I know they are probably busy, but I can’t help but feel as though I did something to make them angry or upset with me. When people say things about me or when I am ignored, I take it to heart. It’s something I’ve been working on, but it’s not easy. When you assume people are out to get you, that you are unworthy, or when you are constantly trying not to get people mad at you, it’s hard not to take things personally, even when they have nothing to do with you.

I bottle up my emotions: I don’t like to be perceived as vulnerable or weak, so I bottle up my negative emotions and twist the cap on tight. It’s common knowledge that this is not healthy for your brain, but it’s a near impossible habit to break. You become so used to stuffing your emotions down, you start to become numb to the things around you. I have been working on being more open with my emotions, and it has been helping, but it’s not easy to completely change your reaction when it has become automatic. This makes me seem cold and distant, but I try my best to let the people I care about know how much they mean to me; even if it is in an unconventional way.

I isolate myself: I don’t really know why I do this, but my theory is that after everything I went through in high school, I tend to pull away from my friends before they can pull away from me. Many of my “friends” in high school did not treat me very well and tended to force me on the outside of their group, so I learned to be better off alone. This way I couldn’t get hurt. Unfortunately, this mind set has carried over to college, where I do have some really good friends that I still find myself pulling away from. It’s not intentional, I just sometimes need to remind myself that this isn’t high school anymore, and force myself to stop isolating myself and jump back into life. It’s gotten a lot better in the past few years, but that’s because my friends are amazingly wonderful people who hang on too tightly to let me pull away.

I am a chronic procrastinator: I will procrastinate on anything and everything, which can be a real pain given my struggle with being a perfectionist. Don’t get me wrong, there are times when I try to get ahead of the game and do my homework early, but I have realized that all my best work happens when I am under pressure. It’s a habit so many of us struggle with that causes us all so much inner turmoil, that you would think we try to do something to change it. However, we all seem to consistently find ourselves telling ourselves “I have plenty of time do this, so it can wait.” Until suddenly we don’t have time and it can’t wait. This is my entire life. I don’t know if this is an awful flaw to have, considering how many people also have this, however it does cause me a whole lot of stress.

I make jokes when I’m anxious: These are perceived as inappropriate a lot of the time. Most of these jokes entail me making fun of myself in some way that is meant to be funny, but just ends up making everyone really uncomfortable. While I do know that humor is considered a mature and healthy defense mechanism, it makes for a lot of awkward glances and uncomfortable silences. It’s just the way I cope with feeling extreme anxiety, and can help keep an anxiety attack from sneaking up on me. So, if given the choice between a public crippling anxiety attack or a joke that makes everyone feel unpleasant for a few seconds, I’ll choose the joke every time.  

I’m very indecisive: Anyone who has spent more than a few minutes with me has probably experienced some displeasure with my inability to decide anything. If you ask me any kind of question that will involve a decision, my reply is likely to be “I don’t care.” I will want you to pick, because the thought of making such a decision, even something as simple as what I want to eat, fills me with so much anxiety and panic that I am rendered unable to decide anything. It’s not that I don’t have an opinion, it’s just that I am afraid to give up in case in inconveniences anyone. Just so you know, I am just as frustrated with this flaw as everyone else around me is, and I guarantee it pains me far more than it pains you.

I’m volatile: I like to start arguments so that I can push you away and force you to leave me before you can do it on your own. I am used to people giving up on me and leaving, so I like to get it over with early and on my own terms. This is something I struggle A LOT with, but also something I am working really hard to overcome. If I feel that there is the slightest chance you will abandon at some point, I will start a fight, and I will try to push you away and make you leave. The key is to see who thinks I am worth enough to stay. This is backwards and usually ineffective, but it’s not an easy thing to get through. This stems from some pretty severe abandonment issues that very few people seem to understand. I know it is frustrating; believe me when I say I’m frustrated too.

I struggle to take a compliment: Although I know this is due partially to my anxiety and partially to my low self-esteem, however I know it can be discouraging to those who try to compliment me. While I do appreciate them, it is hard for me to show my appreciation because I get so flustered and anxious. There are also times where I either don’t believe them, or I feel that they are said out of habit rather than genuine, which makes me even more nervous in my response. I know it can be frustrating, but I do the best again to show my thanks to the people who compliment me.

I push people away: I’m always scared to get too close to people because I’m terrified that they will eventually leave. In a sad attempt to relieve some of this fear, I tend to try and push people away before I get too attached, and they leave on their own. I have lost so many people, that I am constantly afraid that someone else I love will leave, but I also assume that they will. I tell myself that they are going to leave eventually, so I would rather have it be on my terms. So, I push people away until I either realize they won’t leave me on purpose, or they give up and walk away.

I have trust issues: It can take me quite a bit of time to trust someone with even the smallest of things, and it’s extremely difficult for to trust someone with big things. I tend to test people and make them earn my trust. This causes me to keep a lot bottled up. A LOT. It’s also very easy to break my trust, and once it is broken it can take a very long time to gain it back. I know this can be frustrating for other people, especially those who want me to trust them, but it’s something that is very difficult for me.

Now you know the things I struggle with the most. Everyone has flaws and everyone has things about themselves they don’t want to admit; however, it is my belief that if you put these things out in the open- if you own them as a part of you- they can’t be used against you. When you accept your flaws, no one can use them to hurt you. I encourage you all to be open with your flaws, because once the worst of you is out there, the only thing left to give to the world is the good in you. Embrace your flaws, and you will be one step closer to loving yourself. Never stop trying to be the best you you can be.

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Why We Write

A small prose inspired by an emotional day and a binge watch session of 13 Reasons Why. No need to worry my dears; just creativity expressing itself a little darkly this evening.

They say that people write in order to become the people they aren’t; the people they wish they could be. But I have a different theory. I think that we write because that’s the only time we can be who we truly are. Because the only time we are entirely unafraid to let the real us out is when our hands are on a keyboard. We write because talking about our feelings was never really our thing. Because we are ensured that the paper won’t judge us when everyone else will. Because it’s the only time we can be completely honest without being afraid of what someone will think or who they’ll tell. We write down the things we are unable to say out loud. We write down the things that we feel like no one will understand. The darkest and most secret parts of our soul go on the paper, because it won’t worry; won’t get sad or scared or mad. But maybe what we are most afraid of is getting no reaction at all. Of being written off and forgotten about. When the words of tangible, it’s harder to forget they existed. We write to sort through the muddled mess we call our thoughts and try to make sense of our lives. We write to understand the world and its bittersweet reality. We write to have control over a fictional world, because our own seems so chaotic. We write to create the friends and lovers we don’t have, and the struggles that everyone knows will somehow work out. We write instead of screaming until our throats are hoarse. We write instead of bearing our souls to someone because the paper won’t betray our trust. We write instead of saying things out loud because then there’s no one to sell your secrets for a moment of acceptance. We write instead of showing our broken side, because we have all but forgotten how to be vulnerable. We write so that we can put on the show for one more day, without anyone ever seeing how broken we are inside. We write to remind ourselves how to be carefree and fearless. We write because our souls are irreparably shattered, so we give out pieces of it one word at a time. We write because that’s really all we know how to do. We write to keep ourselves from going insane. We write because we need to.

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