When the Me Too movement started I knew I wanted to write something. It has taken me this long to truly collect my thoughts. Unfortunately, I don’t know many women who cannot say that phrase. We all have dealt with objectification to unwanted advances over the years. We all have a story to tell. There should not be a time limit on that story if it’s one with no resolve. I say this because over the years society has created a stigma when it comes to saying anything to anyone for fear they would have to face a trial.
A couple of years back I had a guy make me feel so uncomfortable I bought a whole new wardrobe. I knew he wasn’t going away anytime soon so instead of continually confronting him I bought new clothes. I bought clothes that kept me super covered up. I no longer wanted to lose weight because I had gained attention I didn’t want. What hurts the worst though was feeling like I wasn’t supposed to be upset by the remarks made about my body. I had to navigate the awkwardness and the many times I caught this man staring at me.
I’m not giving a name in this case because thankfully I no longer have to worry about this man. He is no longer in my life, but he caused many issues and arguments in my world for a very long time. And unfortunately, we live in a world where it is up to us sometimes to find alternative ways to avoid people. Instead of merely addressing the issue, have that person respect how we feel, we have to go out of our way not to be alone with that person. Not to even be near that person in a group setting.
I bring the latter part up because when we are around others and the person who has crossed that line we are left explaining why anger is there. We have to explain why we have taken ourselves out of the situation and not blow it up into something more. I know this because I have a friend who has faced this fear and feelings for some time now. She has not even wanted to go to HR about it because she has learned women who go to HR get passed over for promotions. Women also get deemed trouble makers who go to HR.
What? Isn’t that the whole point of HR? We are supposed to be able to go to someone. Men and women alike if something is happening that has crossed that line. If someone continually makes you uncomfortable by posing a hypothetical about a desert island with you and sex in the workplace, you should have someone to go to. We should not have to endure hearing I wish I had a picture of you in your car so I can look at it all the time. We should be able to voice our concerns.
Honestly, it shouldn’t be that hard. It really shouldn’t, but for some reason or another people have gotten to the point where it’s like well, I’m comfortable and it’s all about my comfort. No, no it’s really not. Is your life all about you? Yes to a certain degree. You have the right and responsibility to take care of yourself first so you can help others when needed, but to continue making someone uncomfortable after they have actually made it clear or gone out of their way to avoid you….like just fucking stop.
Don’t be that person. Do not continually make remarks. Do not make it about you. Just accept you’ve messed up and apologized. Don’t do it again. Boys will not be boys. Some boys will be whatever they can get away with. Some boys will continue getting away with it because their privilege allows it. There’s such a thing as white privilege, but there’s also a thing known as male privilege. As long as there continues to be a hierarchy where women are lesser than, we much continue to fight for what is right and what is wrong.
If a woman is treating you this way then you as a man need to say something too. You don’t deserve to have anyone treat you like that either. No one deserves to feel uncomfortable in their own skin. No one deserves to feel uncomfortable in their own home. No one deserves to be uncomfortable while working. NO ONE DESERVES TO BE UNCOMFORTABLE. Period. Trust me when I say our body language reveals that uncomfort. You’ll always know, but it’s your choice to be better than that by looking in the mirror and making that change.
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