It’s hard not to feel like I’m repeating myself when the same shit keeps happening over and over. And over. And new and different douchebags keep cropping up to defend other mens’ shitty behavior, but it’s my responsibility to “delete and block” and not “over react.” Except that I do delete and block, and I am definitely not overreacting. Am I supposed to block roughly half the population? Because believe me it’s tempting at this point.
I am not overreacting when I have to endure some strange man’s unsolicited and very unwelcome sexual advances. Repeatedly. I’m exhausted and pissed the fuck off. There’s a difference. No, I won’t ignore disgusting behavior from grown-ass men who do it because they think they can get away with it. And yes, I will react to that however the fuck I want. Because I did ignore it. For decades. I deleted and blocked. For years. Guess what? Doing nothing accomplishes exactly that. Nothing.
For as long as I can remember, I was shy and self conscious (IG followers stop laughing). I never felt comfortable. I never felt like I fit in. I certainly never felt safe around boys. I, for the most part, have never felt safe around men either. Every one of you motherfuckers who I don’t already know scare me. Every single one. That’s not paranoia. That’s my truth borne out of hard-fought experience. As it is for many women.
I am not just talking about the catcalling, the groping, the slut shaming, the insults, the harassment and even the assaults. I’m also talking about every prick I dated or even just knew casually who felt entitled to sex. Every man who tried to talk me into something I told them I was not comfortable with, but they pushed forward anyway or tried it again later. Repeatedly. For every man who ever tried to pull a fast one. Repeatedly. And you guys know exactly what I mean, too.
All of these assholes add up, and all of it, I mean all of it, becomes imprinted into your memory and part of your personality. Where you have to constantly look over your shoulder and question the intentions of the “nice guy,” because you know all too well what happens if you don’t. You regret it. If you’re lucky, you’ll make it out okay. If you’re lucky, you won’t be too scarred physically or emotionally, or both. If you’re lucky.
But not everyone is that lucky. Fuck, not even all of us are going to make it through the next hour let alone the night. Because of unchecked rage from grown-ass entitled men. And we’re too emotional and irrational? Right.
It took me 40 years to be comfortable in my own skin, 42 years to stop censoring myself around men and on the internet in a vain attempt to minimize unappreciated advances. It took over 40 fucking years to find myself and express that on my own terms without fear of reprisal. Forty years!!! I’ll be god fucking damned if I’m going to walk that back now or apologize for it.
So take the “you’re overreacting” and the whole “this should be expected” kind of bullshit and go fuck yourself with it. What you’re really saying is two things: “Boys will be boys,” (again, grown-ass men so fucking stop it), and, “She’s asking for it.” Ah, every dirtbag’s go-to reason for why they can’t control themselves and shouldn’t be expected to. Both of those are nothing but lame, weak, pathetic, punk-ass excuses for men behaving badly and will no longer hold water. And if you’re going to try that shit on me, you’re fucked.