Sunday, March 1, 2015

So, I saw this post that my younger sister shared on Facebook recently.. I think a year ago, or maybe even a few months ago part of me probably would have liked this. Now, however, it kind of irritates me. To me it just perpetuates this culture of a woman not being able to tell a man no. Think about it, why should a female, of any age, who is being harassed/followed, whatever by a guy, have to find an excuse to remove herself from him? Why can't she just tell him no, ask him to leave her alone, tell him she's not interested, etc. If someone or something is making you feel uncomfortable, leave. Extract yourself from the situation. (Now I want to clarify that I am not talking about situations that are growth opportunities. Just because speaking in public makes you uncomfortable, doesn't mean you should just run away from every opportunity to speak in public.) I'm talking about that uncomfortable feeling you get when something is wrong, or bad, when a situation is making you feel that discomfort in a very negative way.

Guess what, YOU can tell people no. You can tell that creepy guy that you aren't interested. You can tell that guy no, you won't give him your phone number. You don't have to give him your number, or a fake number. I have told guys no when they ask for my number. You know why? It is MY phone, I pay for it and it is something personal that I do not just hand out to anyone who asks.

We live in a culture that tells us, especially women it seems like, two different things when it comes to situations like this. A. It isn't polite to tell someone no. Or to ask them to leave you alone. "Nice" people always tell others yes. B. You, as a woman, might be in danger if you tell a man no, refuse to give him your number, etc. Therefore, it is YOUR job to appease this dangerous man, lie to him, give him a fake number, etc. to keep yourself safe. Apparently men cannot be trusted to behave like a mature adult if a woman refuses them. "Try harder" is what a man who is turned down is hold, or so we are told.

Somehow  it all becomes the woman's responsibility to protect herself from these "out of control" men. First, while i do not doubt that there are some men who will react negatively when told no, I will not give you my number,etc. I have never come across one. I've come across men who do not treat women the way the deserve, but when I have told a guy I am not comfortable giving out my number they are completely understanding. Second, why is it that it is becoming the responsibility of a woman to make sure that the man she is interacting with does not harm her or flip out on her because she said no? If this is a real issue, then shouldn't our boys be brought up to accept no for an answer? To not pursue a girl so much that she feels she has to fake being friends with someone just to get away from him? Shouldn't she be able to politely tell him that she appreciates his interest, but she is not interested? Shouldn't she be able to do that and not fear retribution?

*ETA* I originally wrote this post for my other blog, Inspiring Women to Empower Others.

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