So, it was International Women’s Day recently and, as a result, the interwebs has been inundated with responses to women’s stories. #notallmen and #toomanymen and #notallmenbuttoomanymen. I’ll admit, I am really struggling finding a voice for my thoughts on this matter…. because I agree with aspects of both sides (surprise!).
I appreciate that many women are needlessly victimized, assaulted, and sexually harassed and that there needs to be changes to our culture. On the other hand, feeling uncomfortable just because a man is talking to you (politely and respectfully) is also a problem, and it’s not fair to expect men to change their behaviours to cater to this.
I see all this helpful “advice” to women, such as:
- Don’t walk alone at night
- Don’t dress in revealing clothes
- Don’t wear heels when you are walking alone
- Stay home if you feel unsafe
- Don’t listen to music when you are walking alone, especially at night.
Let’s break that down. Don’t walk alone at night? Fuck off. I am a grown adult I am going to do what I want. Also, sometimes that is just impractical.
The next two… you know my thoughts on revealing clothing ut does not mean you are ‘asking for it,’ but it does increase the risk. As for heels, practicality says u agree because it is awfully hard to run away in heels. Realism says, I am not bringing an extra pair of shoes. Now, my controversial thought… I would say no one should walk alone on heels (for the practical reason) male or female, but, it just happens that men wearing high heels isn’t socially acceptable.
Don’t listen to music while walking alone at night. Personally, I don’t think this is advice for women, it is advice for people. I don’t think anyone walking alone at night should close off one of their senses, I think it is extra important to be aware of your surroundings when alone at night – male or female.
Then, I have seen the advice to men. Ways for men to change their everyday behavior towards women, in order to make them feel more comfortable. The only one I will speak to here is the advice for men to cross the road when walking behind a woman who is alone so she doesn’t feel like she is being followed.
What the actual fuck? This is the most goddamn unreasonable thing I have read in a long time.
Men are not responsible for the way a woman feels. If she feels like she is being followed, she can cross the road to determine if that is true.
I feel like this is an area where we need to empower women. Empower women to feel confident in their ability to protect themselves if need be. Empower women in standing up to men. Empower women, not expect men to cater to the victim complex of the female gender.