I’m pretty sure all these shitty experiences (and trust me there are many many more) caused my low self esteem and anxiety disorder (which I’m pretty sure I have). I’m always nervous, afraid what people think about me, I’m scared of people in general because I’m afraid I’ll be treated like that again. Whenever I’m with my friends I feel nervous for no reason. Whenever I do something I keep thinking about it and how stupid I feel for doing it. I feel like I can’t ever succeed and that I’m destined to fail, etc, etc.
We laugh at the stories of “awkward encounters” and the measures I take. But sometimes, I get so angry just thinking about how much I personally have to go out of my way to avoid unwanted advances (read: sexual harassment, that’s really what it is).
I have two fake engagement rings and one fake wedding ring that I wear when I know I’m going to be among a lot of guys my age. I carry pepper spray around. I walk with my keys stuck between my fingers in a fist at night. Running to my car, taking alternate paths to avoid groups of guys and having campus safety on speed dial have become a norm.
Call me paranoid all you want, all of the above measures have been in reaction to actual incidents. I’ve had people follow me around on campus, stalk me, harass me and chase me.
What pisses me off is that I’ve been told, “That’s the price you pay for beauty”, “Guys are gonna be guys, they’re gonna go after you before anyone else can”, and “Be grateful, they think you’re pretty and are attracted to you. You’re a popular girl!”. No. Unless you’re a woman and have been through these things, please sit down and don’t tell me how I am supposed to feel about being harassed. Unwanted advances are not flattering, stop demanding me to be flattered.
Bringing this back.
All of this applies despite Hijab, so don’t even say that Hijab is some kind of magic cover that saves you from any and all unwanted advances and harassment — it doesn’t.
Next, yeah pursuing a woman you like is all fine and dandy. But many men (acquaintances/friends/strangers) don’t know when to back the hell off and think that she’s playing hard to get when as a matter of fact she is just not interested and has made it known many times. Unwanted acts of kindness with shady ass ulterior motives don’t buy you rights to date her either. Regardless, she’s vilified and he’s made out to be a hopeless romantic, a misunderstood lover, such pure intentions but screwed over by an ungrateful “bitch”.
And honestly this whole rhetoric demanding women to be flattered by some kind of manipulative bullshit is so infuriating. A woman’s worth isn’t measured by the amount or intensity of guys pursuing her, demanding her to be flattered by it is reducing her to what men think of her. Stop.
the fact that i’m literally fifteen minutes away from MSG makes me even sadder…
I wish I was blessed with the ability to eloquently express myself in words like some people can.
I’m such an awkward turtle duck! lol