“Please, don’t grab my ass.”
“Don’t grab my ass.”
“Stop touching me.”
If you’re a woman, the chances are high that you’ve repeated those very words on multiple occasions. And that’s upsetting.
These words have led me to the sad realization that my body is no longer mine. My body is something I live in, and it’s something I take care of but not for my benefit; society has manipulated us into feeling that we need to do things for men. Could it be crazy that I am taking care of myself to, I don’t know, make myself feel better? Sorry, boys, but I’m not doing squats to have an ass for you to grab, but so I can feel confident while strutting down the beach in my bikini. And my cleavage-baring shirt was mainly purchased because it was on sale, but also because I felt confident enough to show a little skin.
Very often we forget that it’s okay to do little things to make ourselves feel better. Many of the changes I make to my appearance are for my benefit, and because I want to look good so I can essentially feel good. I do not dress up for men. I do not wear makeup for men. I do not curl my hair for men. And I most definitely don’t wear heels for men (I do that so I can tower over them). I do these things for ME. They make ME feel good. They make ME feel confident. I want to take care of myself for ME. I do not want to be a lustful object at the bar; I don’t want to be an object at all.
When I go out, I want to enjoy myself and not feel as though I am being showcased for the men surrounding me. When I go out I am trying to enjoy my time with my friends. I work two jobs and am a full-time student, so my nights out with my friends are my only nights out. I don’t want to spend these nights feeling objectified by drunk guys at the bar looking for the next fuck, and I sure as hell don’t want to spend my night smacking guy’s hands off my ass or hips because they felt the need to touch me as they passed by.
But, aside from the fact that I constantly feel uncomfortable at the bar scene, I am constantly gawked at by men of all ages in all public situations. I will be at school or work and I am constantly being objectified. Men stare at my long legs and (lack of) cleavage, hoping that I will feel proud that they found me desirable. But no, they’re very wrong. I am not flattered that these men are too busy fantasizing about unclasping my bra to even consider asking what my name is.
I am a woman, but most importantly I am a human. I deserve respect.
I should be respected enough that I shouldn’t have to ask three times for someone to stop touching me. The first time is one time too many because I shouldn’t have my ass grabbed without my consent in the first place. Imagine if I were to grab a guy’s dick in public. A travesty! How violating! A woman should never act that way in public and make a man feel uncomfortable by grabbing his private area! But, a guy grabbing a girl’s ass? Why even worry? She probably was asking for it.
Now, not only do we have to remind guys not to touch us but it is ingrained in our minds that we need to always be on our toes to fight off any creeps that grab us as if we are the last piece of pizza after their long night of creeping at the bar. We feel a constant fear of what’s hidden in the shadows, even during the day, because women will always be perceived as weaker and easier to attack. Numerous times I have been escorted to my car on a Tuesday night, because I am an easy target even at 8 p.m. in a dimly-lit parking lot. It is shameful to live in a society where I will never feel safe, no matter the scenario.
What is even worse than constantly being fearful of being grabbed and objectified, is men feeling a sense of empowerment. Casual conversation quickly becomes a moment for them to find ways for us to show our “titties.” And no, this is not even an exaggeration. A guy actually thought it was okay to ask to see my drunk friend’s breasts in exchange for alcohol, because her cleavage was not clearly enough for him to gawk at (it only counts if you saw nipple, am I right, guys?). Being the empowered, and slightly pissed off, woman that I am, I stepped in and did the ladylike thing: demanded he drop his pants so I could see his member. What was that countered with? He rudely called me a bitch, then continued to demand he see the “titties.” His reaction to my demand explicitly states the double standards in our society.
Now, I don’t want to seem like some man-hater, because it’s not true. I know there are many respectable men in the world, but unfortunately I haven’t encountered very many of them. When living our lives, we often get caught up in the moment and neglect our true values. Because of this we often tend to forget that people around us mean the world to their friends and families.
Just as these strangers are important, I am important as well. Before you grab my ass, think about your sister having to combat creepy men on her way to the bathroom, because even traveling in packs isn’t enough to scare them away. Stop looking at women as if we are sex objects, but instead try to look at us as people. We are your sisters, your mothers, your cousins, your best friends, your bosses, your coworkers, your teachers. The list can go on.
So, fellas, the next time you grab that girl’s ass imagine a random guy grabbing your sister’s ass. Angry, yet? Now you know how we feel when you grab our asses without our consent. For this objectification to end, we all need to work together and understand that our anger should not be taken as an insult, but rather as a reason for change. We should be working towards raising our future daughter that they do not need to live in fear of men, and we should work on raising our future sons to respect all women they may encounter.