I'm a 26 year old woman and feel that something has to change if once again, I've woken from a night out with the girls to feel my self worth has taken yet another knock.
I'm engaged to be married to a wonderful man, one who loves me and treats me with the utmost respect. He trusts me, and I him; we've been together for 10 yrs (true childhood sweethearts I guess!) and I'm massively fortunate. So for the last ten years of my life, I haven't been out "on the pull." I regularly go out with my friends to dance, relax and shake off the little day to day stresses. Attracting the attention of men is far from my mind. Yet for my entire adult life and worse, for a large portion of my pre-adult life, men have felt invited to view my body as something to be leered over, stared at, touched, grabbed and even kissed, simply because I'm a slim, blonde, female. When I come to think of it, the slim and blonde have got nothing to do with it... Because I'm a female.
I have something to say in response to the years of being wolf whistled at on my way in to work despite crossing the street to avoid attention, the years of having car horns beeped at me whilst out for an evening run and men shouting profanities out of their car windows, the years of being inappropriately touched/grabbed even kissed on nights out whilst I'm with my friends/my fiancé...
My body is my body, but it is not me. You do not have a right of passage, for being male and I female, to view me only as a sex object. You are NOT invited to stare, to touch, to grab, to kiss me because I'm wearing a skirt/dress, because I'm dancing with my friends nearby you, because I'm enjoying a night out, because I have long blonde hair, because I'm slim, because I'm tall, because I'm wearing lipstick... None of those things are an invitation.
Let me make it clear that this is NOT a Meghan Trainor No rant. I don't like the song and I don't like the concept. With this letter, I do not mean to belittle men in anyway, I do not mean to laugh at you or make you feel small for being interested in me. But BE interested in ME. Instead of staring, touching, grabbing, Why not talk to me? Please, let's have a chat! We might laugh, I might enjoy getting to know you, heck! You might even enjoy getting to know me!! Isn't that what socialising is all about? If you went on to ask for my number, or made it clear you liked me, I would ofcourse politely tell you I have a fiancé but maybe both our nights will be that bit more interesting for meeting and getting to briefly share it with someone new? In a platonic way... In a friendly way... In a polite way... In a human way... After all, I'm a person too. I'd like to be treated like one.
So next time you find yourself staring, to the point of leering, at a girl whose enjoying herself on the dance floor from across the bar, or wanting to grab a girls arse, or worse put your hand up her skirt (yes that's happened to me!), because she happens to be dancing nearby you, or kissing a girl without her permission while she's at the bar and then disappearing into the crowd (you'd think I must be making this shit up!) remind yourself that she is NOT dancing for you, she is NOT dressed that way for you, she is NOT out on her night with her friends enjoying herself, FOR YOU! She is doing all of that FOR HER... Please respect that. Please take a moment to remember that none of those behaviours are a way to express interest. It's sexual harassment, plain and simple. Don't do yourself, your male friends and my male friends the disservice of forgetting that she is a person beyond her image.
If you're interested in getting to know her, please do not let stupid, narrow minded songs like Meghan Trainor's No put you off (and girls, please don't allow her short sightedness be an excuse to treat someone, who has the courage to approach you in a respectful way, badly).
Why not politely approach her and start up a pleasant conversation? Most girls will be happy to have a chat, I know I certainly would.
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