I wrote this a while back and decided not to post it. Something happened today, and now I feel compelled to share it. The langauge is strong, so my younger cousins and more conservative aunts, uncles, and grandparents may want to skip this. Please share this, with whoever will read it. Thank you for your time and your attention.
I have a question for the men of the world. What the fuck is wrong with us? Wait a moment before you respond; please allow me to specify. Recently a female friend of mine- not a romantic friend, but someone I know fairly well- posted a picture of herself on Facebook. Those of you familiar with the way the internet seems to work probably know where this is going. She did look incredibly attractive in the photograph, but she was clothed and the picture in question was in no way overtly provocative. A man began commenting on the picture, essentially propositioning my friend over the internet. It was, to put it in colloquial terminology, pretty damn creepy. I sent my friend a message, asking her who the man in question was and if she was aware of his comments. She shrugged it off. “Some guy. Guys post creepy comments all the time.”
Hold the fucking the phone. I thought “There’s no way in hell that this is normal.”. This couldn’t be normal. This had to be one or two incidents perpetrated by a small minority of individuals. So I asked around. I talked to female friends, family members, and even a couple of exes. Sure enough, not only is this behavior common online, it’s common in everyday life. It’s expected. The average woman expects to be propositioned, hit on, and approached in an unwanted manner. I listened to dozens of stories about people I care about being subjected to borderline sexual assault. Actually, scratch that. It’s not fucking borderline. If you interrupt a person’s existence with unwanted and unwarranted advances that are offensive and even frightening, you have assaulted them. Not physically- though one often leads to another- but you have made the implication that you are worth more than they are and that they owe you something because of it.
I heard stories about women on busses and trains, at work, in fast food places, at grocery stores, walking down the goddamned street. Women minding their own business who were approached by men who made advances, and when the women tried to ignore, defuse, or walk away from the situation they were insulted. Ridiculed. Called “bitch”, “stuck up cunt”, and worse. These men seem to feel that they have the right to insert themselves into someone’s life, and then they expect women to engage in conversation, flirtation, and other pursuits with them. Then some other things dawned on me. I walk women to their car, or their home, or wherever they’re going if it’s dark out. Partially due to common courtesy, and partially for safety. It’s the safety part that really sunk in. See, the same behavior and thought process that leads to this verbal assault eventually leads to physical assault. I thought that this misogynistic mindset was uncommon. Now I realize it’s so fucking common that we don’t even recognize it. If a woman goes somewhere after dark by herself- she worries for her well being. It might be a little, it might be a lot, but she worries. Women expect- and even shrug off- verbal sexual assault. They view it as something that happens. They don’t talk about it with men, just other women. I can’t fucking blame them.
Back to my question. Men, what the fuck is wrong with us? What does it say about our society that a majority of men still think they have some sexual superiority over women? I can see the wheels turning, the counter arguments being cranked out. “It’s just few assholes, most of us are polite and respectful.” Bullshit. If it were a minority of us, then it would bea minority of women that experience it. But it’s not. One third of women in America have been raped. Pretty much every woman on the planet is rudely and gruffly approached once a week, unless they actively take steps to avoid it. You shouldn’t have to actively avoid assault. Men, just stop fucking assaulting women. Problem solved. Women are our equals. They are human beings, and deserve as much respect as any man. The fact that ours dangles and produces a different hormone does not make us superior. Men, more often than not, are physically stronger than women. This does not make us superior to them. It makes us responsible for what we do with that strength. Open doors, pull out chairs, and walk with them in the dark. I weep that is is necessary to make sure a woman gets safely to her destination without being raped, but it is. Men, until every single woman can say that they feel safe going about their lives, that they never have to worry about unwanted advances, or rape, or being treated as inferiors simply because they’re not male- until those concerns no longer exist, the question still stands. What the fuck is wrong with us?