Since I started realizing and becoming aware of how little I matter to society, and to people around me. How as a women all signs point to me being less than, and only being assigned value as I related to someone else. How my body is not my own, but how others (typically white men in a position of power) get to have more say over my body and what I get to do with it then I do, and have the right to access over it. How I can’t enjoy a solo bike ride without a man yelling at me from his car window “nice tits” as if I asked for his commentary on my body, and how I have to qualify that experience by saying “I wasn’t every wearing anything low cut” to prove that I wasn’t “asking for it.”
This week a man whose name was Elliot Rodgers killed six people, and sent seven more to the hospital because he wanted to seek retribution against women who had rejected him. I’ve read a bunch of thoughtful and articulate articles on the issue and I’m not going to attempt to write my own. I am angry, ANGRY, that in 2014 this is still going on. That there are people sympathizing with him, posting comments, tweets, responses stating that it was the fault of the women who rejected him and that at least one of them should have slept with him and not been so stuck up. As a women I shouldn’t have to sleep with anyone who wants to sleep with me, or anyone at all, because my body (and what I choose to do with it) is MY decision. I shouldn’t have to say “I have a boyfriend” to ward off unnecessary flirting or advances, I shouldn’t have to have three alternative escape plans running through my mind while walking home alone at night, I shouldn’t have to politely listen when men tell me that “you’d be prettier if you smiled” or worry that the dress I’m wearing might bring unwanted attention even if it’s the dress I want to wear that makes me feel good.
I’m enraged that my generation (and many others) denies that misogyny is an current issue, and denies that we continue to perpetuate a “rape culture” of violent masculinity without addressing that as a society we comply to these standards. We chuckle with little boys are aggressive and domineering, we tell little girls to be dainty and delicate and that when a boy teases you or picks on you he likes you and allow these little girls and little boys to grow up into adults where the same holds true. Where my chances of advancing as a professional will be thwarted because of my gender even if I am skilled and talented at what I do, and where my individuality, safety and security will be compromised every damn day because I am a women.
This is not the world I want to live in. This is not the world I want my sister to live in. Yesterday my heart was so heavy, my mind to frustrated about the INJUSTICE that continues to be perpetuated in our ‘civilized’ society that I wanted to give up fighting. But I can’t. Because I am strong enough to say no, courageous enough to call people out, and determined enough that I will not accept this treatment…on the streets, in bars, in my workplace, from neighbours, friends or strangers…and hopefully by speaking out, and showing other women and girls, men and boys that this behaviour, this way of thinking is completely unacceptable they too can speak loudly, step in when it is happening, and we can move towards a society that values women as individuals, a society that protects and advocates women's rights, and act as allies against those who don’t.