100 Women

Woman 8

Name: Phoebe

Age: 22

Mixed race :Jamaican/ English

Lives: South East London

What does Feminism mean to you?

As far as I’m concerned, a feminist is a person who respects women and believes that they are and should be equal to men. A person who realises that without the equal workload for both parties when it comes to the creation of new humans, none of us would be here. Technically, when you really get down to it, women work way harder in the birthing department but for arguments sake I shall digress. 

Whether male or female, a feminist is accepting and open minded. A feminist accepts that women come in all shapes and sizes. A feminist understands that some women were born with XY chromosomes and welcomes them with open arms. A feminist doesn’t discriminate or ostracise because a true feminist knows what it’s like to be viewed as a second class citizen

I experience all kinds of “anti feminist” behaviour from men all the time. Whether these men think they’re being charming or are genuinely trying to make me livid is unclear to me. But what is clear to me is that something needs to be done about educating them in how to properly approach a woman. 

I have been made to feel furious and extremely uncomfortable by men. And this is unacceptable. 

Earlier this year during lockdown, I went for a walk in my street. I was about to take my friend’s online dance class so I used the walk as an opportunity to warm up. I wore shorts, a tshirt and flip flops, I was only going to be out for 5 minutes. 

As I got to the end of the road, I became aware of a man in a car staring at me. He rolled down his window and shouted to me in his low, deep voice “Come here”. 

I wish someone had taken a picture of me in that moment because the look I gave him was scathing, I know that for sure. I was just absolutely disgusted by this display of hyper masculinity. Being addressed like a dog or a naughty child made me sick to my stomach. I promptly ended my walk, shaking and went back to my house and wrote a strongly worded Facebook post about it. As I expected the comment section was filled with responses from my female friends, telling me of their similar experiences. 

This is disgusting. 

A couple of months later, I was walking down the street after having a sports massage. I was wearing leggings and a long sleeved jumper, completely covered. I was startled by a car horn honking and turned to see who they were honking at. Surprise, it was me. A middle aged white man leaned out the window and leered at me. “You alright darlin?”  Again I was fuming and what made me even more upset was what I saw in the car’s back seat. A young boy no older than 11 looking out the window at me with a huge grin on his face. No doubt the son of one of the asswipes in the car. It saddened me so deeply to see it because this child will never learn that this behaviour is inexcusable. He will go on to do the exact same and think he’s being clever. 

These are just two examples of MANY. I started receiving unwanted attention from men when I was just 16 years old. I’m now 22 and I know I won’t see the back of it for a very long time. Something needs to be done. 

Another thing that really grinds my gears about this other than the dismissal of the female target’s emotions is the complete dismissal of the question of the female’s sexuality. I am not straight. I do not like men. I am sick and tired of men thinking that because they are male and I am female, I will throw myself at their feet. It’s old. It’s outdated. You know that lesbians, exist. You should know that bisexuals, asexuals, pansexuals and so many other types of sexualities exist.  Stop making this all about you. 

There is nothing awkward about approaching a woman politely and asking her if you can talk to her. If you get a positive response, ask politely what her sexuality is. If it’s one that includes attraction to men, carry on. If it’s one that doesn’t, simply wish her a good night and be on your way. There is someone out there for you. She isn’t. Leave her alone. 

I can 100% guarantee that no matter how strange the question feels to you, the woman will appreciate it. If she’s not into men she’ll politely decline and you can both move on. If she is into men, she’ll be impressed that you were gentleman enough to ask and you’ll probably be off to a good start with her. What’s so bad about that?

Normalise asking these questions. Get your head around the concept of pronouns. And for God’s sake, brush up on the topic of consent! 

For a species that was put on earth to “protect” women. You sure are capable of doing the exact opposite. 

Stop it now.

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