A few months ago, I was in a thrift store just checking out the furniture selection for my newly single lifestyle when a dude decided that he deserved some space in my life. “How are you? How ARE you? HOW ARE YOU?” He asked more and more frantically and loudly as I continued to ignore him. As is typical for me, I had my headphones in and zero interest in beginning a conversation with a middle-aged straight white man (who also happened to be shopping with his wife/female partner).
“Hi,” I said, after his third obnoxious proclamation in my direction. I wanted to continue looking at what I was interested in, and in order to do so, I had to stroke a man’s ego. You can’t ignore men. It drives them insane.
Here’s my argument to you today: Let’s make them insane.
And while we’re at it, let’s make men afraid.
Women are always taught to make ourselves smaller, to not take up too much space, to let others cause a ruckus. There’s fear for our safety, fear for our likeability, and most importantly according to society, advertising, and media, fear that men will not want to fuck us if we are too. Too loud, too confident, too bold, too hairy, too masculine, too muscly, too anything. We have to stay in our lanes, in our boxes, don’t push, don’t question.
I’m here to say: question.
Why do men think they can call us “sweetie” as we pass by on our way to class or look us up and down as if they are planning on consuming us? Why do we let them?
I’m not arguing that all situations are safe or easy to push back in. If it’s late at night, you’re alone, and in a non-public space, that’s maybe not the best time to get in someone’s face.
If you feel safe, but pissed, violated, frustrated, sick of men’s shit – tell them. Tell them that they can go fuck themselves. Refuse to be smaller. Reject their attempt to make you fell lesser. No one can do that without your consent (paraphrasing my girl Eleanor).
The next time some dude gets too close to you in the grocery store line, hit him with your bag “accidentally,” tell him you need more space, start to act real weird and loudly burp or fart – just remind him you are human and he needs to back. the. fuck. up.
And when you do this, don’t apologize. Even if it’s insincere. Men are never sorry. Don’t give them your apologies. They need to earn it.
One of my favorite things is bumping into men and having them apologize to me. Try this experiment: every time you walk past a man, don’t move out of the way. Most of the time, he’s not going to either. He’s used to people catering to him. This is going to lead to you bumping into each other. Trust me. Almost every day I bump into a man.
And you know what? Sometimes it leads to a hurt shoulder. But you know what else it leads to? Satisfaction. Own. Your. Space. You matter. Act like it.