The Ramblings Inside My Creative Mind: The Burden Of Woman At The Privileged Hands Of Man

         I am not the first nor will I be the last or the only one. Us women have to go through too much to be able to live comfortably without some sort of wall up.
        I am writing this frustrated at the fact that a customer in my store today took it upon himself to invade my personal space, lean over me to stare for an uncomfortable amount of time at my name tag only to chuckle and say “Just wanted to know what your name was” when he noticed the look of disgust on my face. Why not ask my name? If you’re not asking for assistance why is the need for my name necessary at all? It isn’t. He just wanted to lean close to me because as a man he can and if I speak up I’m labeled “moody” or a “bitch”. We all are. As women we are expected to take unwanted touches, gropes, conversation, and googly eyes with grace. Why does society think that this is normal? On a daily basis at my job I have to deal with elderly men feeling the need to brush up against me or touch me to ask a simple question. I have to deal with men twice my age asking me if I’m single or saying other inappropriate things to me at my workplace leaving me in between a rock and a hard place because they know I can’t respond accordingly. I have seen coworkers run from customers to pretend and be busy to avoid being pulled into a hug by a complete stranger. Note to all men who do this: Just because you may be a regular at a business and the employees are nice to you and may even be on a first name basis with you, trust that you are still a complete stranger.
        As a woman I know I am not the only one who, if bent over to reach a low shelf, immediately rockets back into an upward position when a man walks by. It’s protocol. It’s a unwritten rule that we live by daily basis in order to not be violated by a man that “didn’t mean any harm.” At what point does a man go, “You know what? I don’t know her it’s probably not cool for me to just touch her out of nowhere or pry into her personal life. I wouldn’t want someone to do that to my daughter/granddaughter/mom/sister/aunt/etc.”? At what point will we all stop this “boys will be boys” mentality?
        I am tired. I want to be able to go out in public and not have some strange man ogle my breast like they’re the last supper. I want to be able to go to work and not have some man in his 60s feel the need to brush his hand up against my lower back just to ask where the toothpaste is. I want to be able to be friendly with a man and not have him say “If I weren’t married I take you out right now.” I’d like to not have my kindness or customer service taken for flirting. I’d like to be able to work without feeling eyes on me only to turn around and see some creepy dude standing there staring and when I ask “May I help you?” He snaps out of it, declines, and walks away. Do you have any idea how all of this can make a woman feel uncomfortable? Do you know how much this makes us feel less than human? I feel like an object. There’s a way for a man compliment or make small talk without coming off predatory. It especially rubs me the wrong way because I may be very slightly haphephobic. I don’t like to be touched unless I allow a person too. Anyone who takes it upon themselves to touch me without approval causes me anxiety. This is not strange as I have friends and loved ones who are the same. So for a man to think it’s okay to invade my personal space and touch me puts me into hyper defensive mode. 
        I don’t want to seem like I’m bashing and now here I come with the going back on all that I just said, but the encounters I have like this I don’t believe they are all bad people. With the older men I don’t blame them because that’s the era they grew up in. They could grab, caress, touch, or touch a woman and it was seen as flattering. What I do blame them for is not evolving with the times. Nowadays to smack a young girl on the ass is not flattering. It is harassment and will most likely get you punched or at least a good cursing out.
        We live in a society where women are not 100% safe. We live in a society where women are seen as objects first and as people second. We live in a society where if a man gropes you you should take it as a complement and if you feel some type of way about it then you’re just being a spoiled sport. Our society is backwards. We give life and yet we can’t 100% live ours without hazard. Us women have to forever watch our backs, watch how we react, and watch what we say. There’s no complete freedom in that. Yes, boys will be boys, but what about us? Wheres our excuse to be reckless because “girls will be girls”? Let’s get to a point where in society we can all respect each others boundaries and level of comfort. Let’s get to a point where we don’t feel that the opposite sex owes us something other than respect. It’s high time that this should be the normal.

-Asia Aneka Anderson, 2016©

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