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.
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.