It’s the little things women have to mentally *check* on a daily basis that show us how ingrained into our culture sexual harassment and abuse is.
Things like going to a gas station and instantly regretting what you wore that day because you’re terrified it will attract unwanted attention. That outfit that made you feel so stylish and confident that morning now makes you feel like a walking target and you just want to be invisible.
Things like going to a gas station in the most un-flattering and loose clothing and then getting asked if you have a boyfriend and “what, you’re not allowed to have friends??!!” And you brush them off successfully but feel panicky and uncomfortable until the moment you are in your car with the doors locked.
Things like walking in a Target parking lot alone with your keys clasped tight in your fist, putting on your best “don’t mess with me” persona as best as you can- and yet still get a comment that you should “smile” or have an unwanted comment made on your body.
Things like wishing you could run outside more but get anxious at being a target for people to honk at and yell at through cars so you never do it.
I don’t hate men.
There are amazing men out there. I’m married to one! Some are my best friends and colleagues! And I’m so grateful for every wonderful man who treats women with the utmost of respect.
But no matter how many awesome men there are out there, it will never stop the fact that I will feel uncomfortable with being alone in a public place with men present. That feeling of being a potential target always lingers no matter what. And that feeling like if somehow I was to get targeted it’s my fault somehow. (Hint: It’s not.)
Sexual abuse and harrassment does not just happen to women, obviously and I’m not trying to discount any man’s experience in any way. But I just wanted to shed some light, now that this discussion is out in the open a bit more, about the things I think all women feel on a daily basis. Or maybe it’s just me…