Dear Men

2 Nov

Dear Men,

Stop asking things of me. Just because you let me know that I have dropped my beach towel gives you no right to my name. I said thank you.

If I do not answer you once, do not ask me twice. If I refuse your offer of a drink once, do not ask me twice. If I refuse you once, do not ask me twice.

Do not get angry. Recognize that it is my right to withhold personal information such as my name, where I live, where I am from, and it is my decision whether or not I want to spend time with you. Recognize that there is no answer to the question, “Where’d you get those pretty ______ ?” Unless you are talking about my shoes.

The next person who makes me repeat a refusal or who asks an aggressive question twice is going to get cold-clocked with a long lecture on sexism and misogyny.


PS– And yes, thinking you have a right to answers, a right to lean in close, a right to invade my time and space at all, is a result of sexism. It’s representative of the misogyny pervading the United States today. It’s a belief that because I am a woman and I am walking/standing/waiting/grocery shopping alone I must want you to harass me. I don’t.

If you cannot understand how asking me my name twice in increasingly louder tones as I walk away feels aggressive to me, pay a stranger who is bigger and stronger than you to invade your personal space either verbally or physically and imagine a lifetime of rape/assault statistics.

PPS– Do not twist my words and claim that I said men can never approach women. Just don’t do it. Seriously. You have a chance today not to be purposefully moronic. Take it.

PPPS– Look, I am sure you, individually, are very nice. But aggression and assault on women in the United States is a very real thing. This is a nice user-friendly article on it by Bob Herbert in the New York Times. A woman is sexually assaulted in the United States every couple of minutes.

So if you are very nice, as I’m sure you are, take a minute to think about how you can contribute to the solution instead of the problem. My Favorite? If you’re walking behind a woman on a dark street, cross to the other side so she does not have to. It’s a small gesture, and one not made often enough. I have been yelled at after crossing to the other side, along the lines of “What, you don’t trust me?!?” SERIOUSLY, GUYS, SHAPE UP. It’s not about you; it’s about my safety; it’s about the fact that ONE in THREE women will be sexually abused in their lifetime.

PPPPS– Did you know that empowering women is one of the fastest ways to lift a developing nation out of poverty? True story. How wonderful is that?!?


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