We call ships ‘she.’ We call our war machines ‘women.’ We compare women to black widows and vipers. And you’re going to tell me it’s not ‘lady-like’ to scream, to take up space, to fight and demand respect and do whatever the hell I want. You’ve looked at nuclear bombs and been so in awe that you could only name them after women. Don’t try to down-play my power.
I hate the system of patriarchal dominance that we live in. Yes, those are two scary words and when I first heard them, I thought it was an overreaction. But it’s not. Because little boys are told that if they wear dresses or like the colour pink, they’re gay. Because men are consistently conditioned to not show emotion, because that’s too feminine, or to never cry, because god forbid a male with an actual penis cries. Because the strict confines of masculinity and gender roles is killing mens confidence, empathy and humanity.
I have been sexually harassed since the age of 11. I have been groped on trains, and been told by my boss when a 85 year old man told me that I had a ‘nice chest’ that maybe I should stop wearing revealing shirts to work and I won’t get those ‘compliments’. When men would yell from a car while I was walking my dogs to ‘show me your tits’, or when men would ask a thirteen year old me in a bikini to pull up my top, I thought it was a compliment. ‘Oh, men are paying attention to me - they’re complimenting my body and that must mean I have some worth’. That is literally what I actually thought when men would harass me. But that’s not the truth - the truth is that girls do not deserve that harassment. Boys do not deserve that harassment. No one does. And they certainly do not deserve to be treated like meat in a butchers shop.
I am seventeen now, and I’m a feminist. Yep, I’m a feminist - I know that’ll ‘scare a lot of guys off’ as one of my friends put it, but fuck it I want social, political and economic equality of the sexes. I’m seventeen, and for the first time in my life, I am comfortable enough to criticise terms like ‘boys will be boys’ or rape culture or the constant bullshit women are expected to swallow. I’m seventeen, and when I walk to my car at night, I have to hold my keys in my hands - ‘just in case’. I’m seventeen, and I understand that we live in a society that inherently breeds the view that men are superior and women are inferior.
I don’t think this is a rude ask, and I’m sorry if this answer will offend you, because that certainly wasn’t my intent - I’m sure you were just curious as to why I say the things I say. I don’t hate men. I love men. But I shouldn’t have to make this clarification when I speak out on how damaging terms like ‘boys will be boys’ are. Because no, ‘boys will be boys’ is not an excuse to make comments on women’s breasts, or to catcall from a car, or to rape someone.