Tonight I found myself screaming as I ran down a street in semi suburban London. I was chasing a car. Said car had pulled up to the corner as I was walking, honked at me and as I looked into the window I saw 3 young men with their tongues hanging out of their heads and smiling at me like I was juicy steak.
How did I get here? How did I get to the point that I couldn’t just ignore it and walk behind the car? Could it have been that the night before at a well known London nightclub in my first 20mins through the door I had one guy think he could put his hands on my waist, another try get in my line of sight for 5mins before also trying to touch my waist and finally had another guy think that just because he could see my bra straps he had the right to snap them? Could it be the 2 years I lived in Tottenham where I couldn’t walk down the high street without having a man treat me like a prostitute with my ‘favourite’ example being when the guy followed me into a particular fast food chain, tapped me on the shoulder forcing me to take my ear phones out and told me to hurry up with my order because he wanted to talk to me? Or could it be when I first moved to London and I gave my number to what I thought was a nice guy who lived down the street. 10 phone calls a day made it obvious he wanted to be more than just a friend till early one Saturday I morning I spent about an hour of my life on the phone trying to let him down easy because I didn’t want to date anyone at the moment and why would he want to date someone so adamant about not dating him?
And there in lies why I was screaming down the street, or at least why I kicked the 3 guys in the nightclub. I don’t have the time to stand there and play the polite girl card and say, ‘um, I’m sorry but what you just did kind of makes me feel like a piece of meat and I’d really just like to walk down the street/ dance in peace.’ I want to get on with my life and it’s near impossible to do over 115 dBA sound system or through a closed car door so a kick in the shins or screaming down the street gets the message across a lot faster.
The unfortunate thing is that any man who’s made it this far though my writing without thinking ‘feminist victim crap’ isn’t the issue here. Someone like my husband who didn’t understand why I didn’t dress up more to go out until the time a guy hit on me while he was holding my hand. However, even my nice guy husband described an encounter with one previous sexual partner like this:
I was drunk at a club I saw this blonde girl walking past me and I grabbed her hand and started dancing with her till I suggested we go back to my house and we never really spoke till the morning after.
If my husband had grabbed my hand on the dance floor before I knew him he would have ended up with a punch in the chest.
So what’s going on? Who’s to blame for the current state of the cultural milleu? Is it the way these men are raised? Have they been conditioned to see all women as objects? There’s multiple newspaper, magazine, blog, vlog, whatever else articles on that subject. Or is it these girls that allow themselves to be objects? Like the married woman who told me she wished someone called out ‘hey baby’ at her as she walked down the street. Or the other woman who tried to reassure me that being in a strip club isn’t as sad as I think it is because you see the girls in the bathroom and they have as much cellulite and wrinkles as the rest of us. My body image wasn’t the issue. Just in case it’s still not clear, it’s the objectification of women.
Part of the reason I don’t feel so bad for shutting these guys down so quickly is it gives them more time to go and find someone else that meets their needs. Even though it does hurt their pride for a moment, and let me tell you these guys have A LOT of pride, I’m doing them a favour. Then in the morning he can tell her about the crazy girl that kicked him in the shin at the beginning of the night. That’s assuming he’s till there in the morning.
Take home message: doing crazy things when men objectify you starts out as fun but after awhile it will become your reflex action. Trust me you don’t want to go there. Practice zen. You’re better than this. You’re better than them. I’m preaching to myself here
We’d love to have you contribute to the conversation by leaving a comment below or by filling out the Christian Female Sexuality survey here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeRria-Rnln3g6-oq0PlkZZXd3i-kimjZ_gddh0ytzd7sL4PA/viewform?usp=sf_link
Thanks for coming on the journey.