I want to keep going with this theme a bit longer, and then maybe we will get around to my health minister's russian-inspired hangover...
So in sum up to the responses to my post about the disrespect that some men showed to me and my friends on Saturday night:
Firstly, it must be realised the hour & the state the post was written in – late late night, more than slightly toasted, following the period of several hours being confronted with several men from Craighall to Melville who brought back angry and/or hurt memories. Obviously this will mean it is irrational, generalised, and have bad phrasing in various parts(!), but it also shows the raw anger & hurt that I felt. And that I know other women feel, but for each girl’s own reasons, quietly suppress it, or maybe lets go of it in more healthy ways.
Yes, of course this anger is neither rationally directed at nor are these examples of ALL men.
But the men who I was attacking and shouting at do not stay in one dingy pub at only the late night hours ready to pray on the silly women that chance upon that spot. These men are everywhere, of every type. The examples I spoke of are true and the following types have been experienced in my life or my friends’ lives: Some men are now or will one day be SA’s top businessmen. They are your older family friends. They are your friends. They went to school with you. Your work mates. They are top schlebs. They hang out at bars. They hang out on sports fields. They run their hands up your female colleague’s leg during a break in a lunch meeting & make suggestions. They have approached your mother about having an affair with them. They have molested your sister while she slept on a friend’s couch after a big night. They have whispered disgusting nothing’s in your fiancé’s ear, and she grins & bears it rather than causing a scene. They degradingly regard their girlfriend when she tries to be part of the conversation. They take a chance. They take a lot of too much ungiven sometimes. They think that because a girl has a certain outfit on, or acts in a certain way, or is in a particular vicinity, this girl deserves less respect than the normal human standard.
They and their attitudes and actions of gender disrespect vary considerably. But cause damage and pain, to whatever degree.
I do not actually like to bring this topic up often, as many men immediately go on the defence. It is not meant as a male bashing pursuit, to satisfy some twisted fetish in me. It is a situation I have become acquainted with through my life’s experiences. I hope to raise awareness and stir our thoughts and acceptance of this. Bringing the subject up does exhaust & drain me. Rereading the post saddens, rather than reignites anger in me. I have to shake off its memories, effects, thoughts and search for strength to push on with it.
Several times I did want to delete what I posted on Sunday, and even decided to post it on Sunday so as to maybe publish something on Monday, then not having many people read this post & rant & cry for change. I sat throughout Monday wanting to post something else, completely change the topic, “let’s gloss over it and move on”. It was not an easy Monday, emotionally.
I currently am being taught to put my needs out there. And this is one of my biggest needs. And so I ask for it: For men to respect women. For those men who do already, and some do so incredibly well, to help us change the current status quo. For me not to have endured what I have, to have had to work so hard to heal many confused thoughts & emotions, to have lost out on potential wonderful relationships, to have fought endlessly, to come to nothing at the end of it all. That another girl will not have to feel the anger I have felt in my life towards ALL men, because she could no longer see the difference of a loving touch versus a skanky touch versus a manipulative touch versus an insulting degrading comment versus care and love and respect.
There are incredible men in my life, who I am sometimes amazed I get to know so well, be such good friends with, and be loved incredibly by. Men that will open their front door at 3 in the morning to hear me rant & hug me. Men who will phone me and order that I be taken out for brunch by them, just for a few hours of my company, nothing more. Men who will not take advantage of a drunk me, a sleeping me, even a me begging to be treated like shite cause that is all I thought I knew for awhile. Men who make me laugh, who tell me I am beautiful, who treat me like I am their best and most darling friend and companion. Those who I can be open and honest to, and discuss a problem between us or a scared perception of mine with complete respect & concern. Men who put an arm around me and let me snuggle under it, feeling protected, even when they know for me to allow myself protection is difficult. Who I phone first thing on a Sunday morning, because I need to laugh and who will say “yes honey, and how’s that working for you” and who will tell me time & again I am a fool, but still be waiting at the other end of it to remind me of how much I deserve and how much love I can get.
It is because of such men, and their enduring love& respect for me despite my sometimes refusal to recognise it, that I have been taught at what standard women can be treated.
There are sicknesses in our society. And we need to work hard to change these. To not just accept them & turn a blind eye to them because it exhausts us. With our country currently being head over heels in confusion of where it is, there are currently too many things to focus on, but I hope to keep fighting my chosen fights, and that in raising awareness about their issues I can cause one step towards positive change.
I also would like to go where I wish to, look how I want to, act as who I know myself to truly & complexly be, because I do not think I am a bad person or a person who is seeking out pain or trouble, and not be punished for it.
One fascinating aspect that did come out of the commenting was “Boundaries”. We are all learning and making mistakes. I do not want to write off a man simply because he said one misplaced comment and because I have issues & am on defence about these. This perhaps has meant I have allowed my boundaries to be too wide & so landed me in more extreme examples of disrespect. Perhaps. What now seems so simple & logical to write, was enlightening to me – the phrase “That is not Ok”. For women to say that politely but firmly to men, and so the boundary has been established. Should he cross it again, then, ^%”$%^$”^%!$”&!$. Who knows. I have yet to put this to the test. Or gain all your opinions, as yet.
But also, that some of us women ask that the men who are respectful say this line to other men they see being disrespectful or disgusting to women. “That’s not ok”. Leave it at that if you want. Beating the shite out of a guy has never actually taught him a lesson, and it also stops the girl from telling you in future when some incident has happened – most of us do not like to be the cause of an ugly scene. But we would appreciate you helping us change an attitude in our society that is not healthy, and is upsetting many of us.
Thanks for reading these past two posts, and for commenting.