Monday, May 18, 2015

Single and NOT Wanting to Mingle

The guy in the white is definitely plotting something.

Being a female that makes the brave decision to sometimes leave my house and venture out in public I have come to (sadly) expect a certain level of creepiness to happen at bars or clubs or any area where males are allowed to be. While this is certainly not okay, we have to learn to deal with it as we learn to fight it.

So when one of my girlfriends and I decided to have a fun night of dancing in the Power & Light district we had already assumed that we would have to deal with some level of unwanted male attention. This generally includes but is not limited to have guys grab your hand and try to pull you away or sneaking up on you and thrusting their nether regions on you. Typically a quick elbow to the chest and turn can get you out of the situation so you can continue what you're doing. That was not the case this past Saturday evening.

Over the course of about 3 hours, we were repeated groped, touched, called bitches, flipped off and just generally harassed by every male in the metro area. I will highlight just a few of these instances though I would venture to guess we had been approached by at least 30 guys by the end of the evening.

Harassment #1 Two guys asked us to dance Rachel said no thank you and the guy proceed to stand there just to make sure she didn't dance with anyone else. It took me asking the linebacker looking guy standing nearby to go pretend to be her brother to get her out of the situation.

Harassment #2: Rachel saw a guy trying to reach around and grab her butt while dancing near us. She smacked his hand away from her and we moved away. Later on the guy came back and shoved her in the back of the head. And if that wasn't enough he came back to grope her backside with two hands. At this point, she shoved him away from her hard (LIKE ANY PERSON DEFENDING THEMSELVES WOULD DO) and he proceed to flip her off and scream that she was a bitch.

Harassment #3: A large guy, easily pushing 250 and heavily intoxicated came and put his arms around both Rachel's and I's necks and then tried to tell us to loosen up and dance. We both squirmed away and told him no thank you, we're fine, we don't want to dance. Clearly, we misunderstood that refusing to let a stranger touch you wasn't an option. The guy came back SIX(!!!) times. He was a mixture of angry that we didn't like him and wanting to explain himself (I think, it's hard to understand slurred gibberish). Beyond the point that I in absolutely no way have to talk to him, I may have let him say his piece if he didn't need to also touch me while doing so.

Obviously, doing once again what any logical person would do, I shoved him off of me and told him to GET THE F*** AWAY. I also grabbed onto the scrawniest kid in the whole place and stood behind him at one point. A not surprisingly, as soon as he said leave her alone the guy backed off.

It's also important to note that everyone else, mostly other men, saw this all happening and did absolutely nothing. I understand that I'm a stranger and they probably didn't want to get in a fight with the big dude, but when you see a girl clearly feeling threatened and screaming go away maybe your human decency should kick in.

I was going to write about two more examples, but this is getting lengthy and I'm getting pretty worked up so I will stop there.

Hopefully, by now you get the picture. We were apparently battling a hydra in male form. But I didn't write this just to let you know how much being a girl can suck sometimes. No, instead I hope that this illustrates just how dangerous male entitlement and patriarchy can be.

Not only is it bad enough that these men tried to touch us or grab us repeatedly, but their reaction to our rejection is my real concern. Saying no opened us up to more violation and harassment than simply going with what they wanted.

No incited anger, aggression, and a strong desire to prove us wrong. You don't want me to dance with me? Here let me convince you through intimidation and physical force because that's how you win a woman's heart. I know some of you must wonder why we stayed as long as we did despite everything.

Leaving would not only limit our own personal freedom, it would also turn us into abusers of ourselves. Letting their actions shape our choices and decisions means that we are accepting the harassment as inevitable and not fighting back for our right to be in public places without a male accomplice. It's important to note though, that I would not put myself in danger just to prove this point. That is why even though I don't want to limit my freedoms I still wait in the bathroom until the club has cleared out and take a winding way back to the parking garage to avoid and disgruntled men that we may have upset inside.

When people ask me what is feminism? Why are you a feminist? Or tell me that there is no need for feminism I can't help, but have a strong desire to slap them.

Do you want to know why I need feminism? I need feminism so that I can go in public places without a male chaperone and still feel safe. I need feminism so that I can say decline attention from a male and that be the end of the conversation. I need feminism so that I don't have to flinch when someone brushes past me because I'm afraid they're trying to grab me.

I need feminism because I never want my beautiful niece to have to feel scared or violated or dirty simply because she dared to go out in public. I never want her to have to feel the way myself and so many other women do on a regular basis.

I think that a quote by Edmund Burke sums it up well, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to stand by and do nothing." If you are not a part of the solution you are a part of the problem.

If you made it this far, you're probably just my mom. In which case I will note that there were cops everywhere and that neither Rachel nor I had anything to drink the whole night. So please don't panic.

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