*Before I begin, it needs to be known that my father, my man, my uncles, my godfathers, and any males in my life, have my highest honor. This is not a post to belittle the men of the world, because I would not be here without one. It is to shed light on a very controversial topic in our society, as well as, give you an inside understanding of what it is like for women on a daily basis. I am speaking from experience.*
Spring 2014, I got the opportunity to join an academic course called, Women and Genders Studies. From the name of the course, I’m sure you can guess what it was about. Additionally, we got to speak about race, privilege (or lack there of), and how men have the privilege to make more money than women, have a sense of dominance over a woman, and unfortunately for some, have a “no” means “yes” type of attitude, when it comes to women being uninterested in them.
To make matters worse, we have to live in a world where we have handcrafted a saying to justify unacceptable behavior. To deepen your knowledge on men a little further, the phrase “Boys Will Be Boys” was created long ago, as a way to give a reason for why a male was acting a certain way. For example, if a little boy was destructive, playing in dirt, or was caught fighting, the reaction to that is usually along the lines of, a shoulder shrug followed by the saying, “ boys will be boys.” Now, reverse it to a female doing those things mentioned, the reaction would be,” don’t be so rough” or “only little boys do that” or (my favorite) “that’s unladylike.” I’ll take it a step further to the toys and costumes as a child; a little girl as an assistant or a nurse, the boy as the doctor. it is taught from a young age, that the male is the dominant, he shall do as he pleases, and the woman has to fall in line.
Now, for those of you who are biblical and even to those of you who are not, we know Adam was the first man on earth. God created him for a special purpose but God knew that man could not be alone, so he crafted a partner for him. He crafted a woman for him; Eve. If we go deeper into more of these biblical families, my personal belief is that we knew the woman was the caretaker of the home and the kids, and the man did the hunting and dirty work. But they worked together; the woman was no lesser than the man. there would be no success without the other; a partnership.
I say all of this to say, without the woman, there would be no balance. Hell, without the woman, there would be no you ! So, to continue on such a disrespectful, degrading, and victim-blaming path, is very detrimental.
To provide an example, I had to deal with being followed outside of my job, being made uncomfortable by someone who kept unwantingly touching me. Who chose to ignore every sign of an unwanted interaction. Who ignored me telling him, “Im on my break, you can walk back in and get help with someone who is working.” And then if the interaction wasn’t uncomfortable enough, asked, “Are you married?” When confronted about it, decided to say, “She needs to stop being childish.”
On this same lovely day (international women’s day, might I add) I had another man continue to make inappropriate comments about my personal appearance. AS I WAS IN WORK HELPING OTHER CUSTOMERS! Saying things like, “You’re so sexy”, “I want to marry you”, and “I just love you, you’re so sexy.” No matter how much I ignored it and gave signs of being uncomfortable, he continued because you know, “Boys will be boys.”
Unfortunately, all of this happens because we live in a world where unwanted and unwelcomed interactions by men towards women, are the norm. All signs are ignored because a woman being standoffish and showing every sign of not wanting to interact, means that she does want to interact, you just need to try harder. When confronted about those situations, it’s not their fault, it’s the woman’s fault, for looking the way she does, for dressing the way she does, and for living her life the way she does. It’s sad, untrue, and needs to change!
So men, I challenge you. I challenge you to be more mindful of your approach. I challenge you to be more considerate of our space. I challenge you to think of how you would feel if your mothers and daughters ran into a man like you, who is inappropriate. I challenge you to hold yourself accountable. Lastly, I challenge you to research the rape culture and domestic violence against women by men, and understand why women always walk around, guarded and afraid, thinking that at any moment, turning down a man could be the end of her life.