Archives for posts with tag: personal

Yesterday evening I was walking back to my apartment from the parking lot I am forced to park in due to not being an in-state resident where I go to school. The lot is about a block or two away from my apartment.

It was about nine at night, and I was walking alone. I’ve walked this route many times alone, as I have lived here for six months with my roommates’ schedules sometimes lining up with my own, but not always. Again, it’s about two blocks away. I also live directly across from a police station.

Last night, as I was crossing the street and turning a corner, a car with two men in it slowed down and stopped behind me, and the man in the passenger seat asked me how I was doing. I gave them a confused look and said “Fine” and continued walking.

These men proceeded to back up and turn down the road that I was walking on, driving alongside me and saying things (I’m not sure if they were talking to each other or to me, though at one point one of them did say “Sexy” and “don’t be like that”, so…) I did not look at them, I did not respond to them -I continued to walk normally.

I walked about 3/4 of the block like this, with them following me in their car. Then, the driver got out of the car and crossed over to me and asked if he could walk with me. He was smiling. I said no. He asked why I “had to be like that”. I kept walking. They drove away as I was turning into my complex.

I made sure they drove away before walking inside the complex and then called my boyfriend, and then cried on the phone to him while I locked my apartment in every way possible.

Tonight I want to talk about harassment.

After this experience, and after I had some time to calm down and think, I began wondering what else I could’ve done. Should I have been more forward to this man about my displeasure? About my disgust? About my fear? What if he had reacted badly and tried to grab me -what would I have done? Would any of the three people next to the building have done something? And then I started wondering why I was wondering what I could’ve done differently.

After thinking about these things for a while, I began to get very very angry, and I still am. I am angry that these complete strangers thought it was an ‘okay idea’ to follow a single woman in their car at night and try to hit on her. I am pissed off that my rejection of them and their advances was seen as something negative (which can be inferred from his question “why you gotta be like that” when I walked away) while their unwanted advances (and stalking) is not seen as such. I am angry that when I wrote about this on facebook, another female friend of mine wrote that she had also been followed last week by a man in an SUV while she was running, who asked her if she wanted a ride multiple times on different streets and continued to follow her after she refused. I am angry that people don’t think street harassment is a real problem, and I am furious that people think that it is actually a compliment.

No.

It is terrifying.

Being followed by two people in a car at night is terrifying.

Wondering if you are going to have to defend yourself physically against someone is terrifying.

Knowing that you cannot run because of health problems while a stranger is approaching you is terrifying.

Also knowing that, if it came down to it, you probably could not defend yourself physically against said person -because of those same health problems -is terrifying.

I wish that I could see that man again. I wish that I could ask him why he thought his actions were anywhere near appropriate. I wish I could ask him if he honestly thought I was ever going to get in his car when I didn’t know him at all and he just followed me down a block. I wish I could ask him why he thought I wanted his advances when I was very clearly ignoring him. I wish I could tell him to stop what he was doing and to never do it again. I wish I could tell him how scared and unsafe he made me feel.

Instead, I will tell you all something very clearly:

If you want to hit on someone, and they are actively not looking at you or are turning away from you or are not responding to things you say: they are not fucking interested. Leave them alone.

If you ask someone if you can walk with them, or if they need a ride, or anything even vaguely similar and they say no, or I don’t know, or I’m not sure, or nothing at all: they are not fucking interested. Leave them alone.

I cannot go back in time and change how I reacted, but maybe this post will help someone understand that street harassment is not okay ever. No one likes it, no matter what anyone else thinks. It’s not a compliment. It doesn’t make our day. It doesn’t make us feel pretty. It makes us feel scared and terrified and shitty and it just reinforces all of the bad things about this culture.

And, yes, my situation could’ve been a lot worse, I am absolutely sure of it -but that does not make it okay or something that I need to get over. Street harassment needs to be talked about, it needs to be identified, because that’s the only way that we can stop it.

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I do not know how to start this post. I am angry. I am tired. I am tired of being angry.

There is often a lot of discussion surrounding ‘privilege’, at least there is on the Tumblr community. Privilege is what people in positions of power have in society. So, there is male privilege, which allows men to access things (capital, in the Marxist/Bourdieu-ian sense)  more easily than women. There is also white privilege, which allows white people to access better capital than people of color. There is cis privilege over trans* people; heterosexual privilege over LGBT*Q; and so on and so forth.

For examples of male privilege, see here or here.

Now, it has been my absolute honor to come across an article claiming female privilege.

Let me now explain how this article is complete and utter bullshit.

1. I’m allowed to be far more open about my sexuality than a man is. In fact, if I’m bisexual, it’s encouraged (both male and females encourage it funnily enough). If I’m hetero, I’m allowed to make comments about how hot men are, compliment men without others thinking it’s harassment and generally can make lewd comments about any person, be them male or female, and it’s considered ok. I can say “I fancy him so much I’d  even rape him” or “I need to pull him into the storeroom and show him I mean it” or “He is mega hot” about any male whether  he is seventeen (I am forty) or seventy. I can sit in a Twilight movie and drool at Jacob (for instance), and not be seen as a dirty old woman.

Women can only be open about their sexuality when it is approved of BY MEN. If you didn’t notice, she did not mention lesbianism, which only involves women. If a woman identifies as a lesbian, she will be told that she only likes women because she hasn’t had a good dick or a good fucking yet. In fact, even porn with “lesbians” in it is made for the men who watch it, and not for actual lesbians, which can be shown by the heavy emphasis on vaginal penetration. Bisexuality is only acceptable when she eventually settles down with a man, because then she will be seen as “really heterosexual”.

She is also completely erasing the Madonna/Whore complex. If a woman has sex before marriage, she is seen as a slut and a whore and deserving of any sexual assault that befalls her. Meanwhile, if she doesn’t have sex, she is a prude or a stuck up bitch or an ice queen. So tell me again how women’s sexualities are not controlled by men and how women are so free?

2. If my partner and I were in a domestic dispute and both violent, or both shouting, and I hit him … if the police were called, my male partner would still be the one far more likely to be taken into custody for the night. If my male partner tried to report domestic violence, it would be harder for him to have the charges laid, than if I did so. In fact, while there is a charge of Male assaults Woman in my country, there is no Woman assaults Male. That would be classified instead as General Assault.

Perhaps the male partner would be arrested, but let’s talk about what happens afterwards. The average prison sentence of men who kill their women partners is 2 to 6 years, while women who kill their male partners are sentenced on average to 15 years. This is despite the fact that 86% of female offenders kill in self-defense, while males are most likely to kill out of possessiveness (82%), abuse (75%) and during arguments (63%). Women are eight times more likely than men to be killed by an intimate partner.

Also, let’s talk about the fact that men are only allowed to show two emotions: anger/rage and lust. This is EXTREMELY harmful to the men in our society, and it is (one of) the reason(s) why men are disproportionally the one’s who commit assault (sexual assault, general assault, and domestic violence), have road rage, and commit murder. This is a problem and it needs to be fixed! THIS IS PART OF FEMINISM.

3. If my relationship with the father of my children was to break up, I’m far more likely to get the kids. And if I want a child, but don’t have a partner, I can do that too. I get to choose whether I have the baby or not, I get to choose whether the father’s name is on the birth certificate or not (and if he queries it, he’s the one who has to pay for the DNA test) and if he’s named as the father, he then has to pay child support, whether he was aware I was trying to have a child or not.

Yes, the reproductive rights of women are absolutely brilliant right now. No, really, it’s great.

Left out of her claims are the following facts:

1 –there are currently 31 states where a rapist can sue for custody of his child born from the rape. Also, let’s not forget that this happened

2 –the reason why women are often given custody is because of the sexist idea that women are better with children and more nurturing while men cannot be tied down that way because they have to be able to move to work

3 –working mothers lose more custody battles than they win

Also, are we just going to completely ignore the fact that if a woman does not want kids, people think there is actually something wrong with her? If a woman says that she never wants children, people will try to CONVINCE her that she actually does want kids, or that she’ll change her mind, or that kids are such a blessing. Are we just ignoring that? I guess we are.

4. I’m allowed to be as education- and career-driven as I want to be, and push for the top, seeking equity and equality in everything. But when it comes to dating and relationships, I’ll want the dates paid for, the doors opened, the bling bought. And if I want to choose to not be career-driven, and be instead at home, and not work, then I can far more readily choose that option too than a male partner could.

Women are “allowed” (by men) to be educated and career-driven, but it will cost them in many ways. Women are “allowed” to be career-driven, as long as they somehow figure out how to work and still do all of the house work and childcare. Women are “allowed” to be career-driven, as long as they are okay with never making more than their male peers and never being in a position of authority over them. Women are “allowed” to be career-driven  as long as they work above and beyond their male companions in order to even be noticed, and even then their achievements will probably be awarded to the men they work with.

Also, if women do well in academia or in the work-place, then they are immediately suspect. Claims are made that they “slept” their way to the top, because CLEARLY a woman cannot get into any position of power without having sex. This accusation has been leveled on me before, because I graduated with honors and won academic awards before moving on to date one of my previous professors.

In regards to the second part of her statement: the idea that men should pay for everything on a date is sexist and it comes from the idea that men are the breadwinners in society and women don’t/shouldn’t work, so how could they pay for anything? This is also a problem in society, and it needs to be fixed, but I’m not convinced it happens epidemically.

5. If I write an inflammatory comment, or a blog, or article, and a man questions anything in it, all I need to do to shut the conversation down is call him a bully, or say he’s a privileged male. I can also make disparaging comments about his sexuality, his economic standing, the size of his penis, and his ability to do pretty much anything in return for him disagreeing with me. I can do this, because when I do, I KNOW there will be a bunch of other women who will stick up for me. Because as a woman … I now have privilege.

Sure, a woman can try to “shut a man up” by calling him privileged or a bully. Want to know how to shut down a woman during an argument? Claim she’s on her period. Or, wait, no –just say she’s a crazy bitch who doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Or, I’ve got it, this one’s good –say that she is being a typical woman and over-reacting. These things are called “gaslighting”, and they are all a form of mental abuse that happen all the time. So, let’s be honest, it is MUCH easier to silence a woman than a man during an argument.

Any notion of “female privilege” is either bullshit or is perpetuated by different strains of sexism and patriarchy. I will accept, however, that cis women have more privilege than trans* women (also due to patriarchy and trans-phobia). I will also gladly take responsibility for and accept my white privilege, because I definitely have that.

I refuse to accept that I have any form of female privilege that is NOT directly perpetuated by sexism and/or patriarchy. Just because patriarchy and sexism can backfire and hurt men as well as women does not mean that women have any sort of dominance or privilege over men. Period.

Someday I will actually write something that is not a response to something else that is completely wrong, but today is not that day.