Don’t Tell Me What to Do!

So, my apologies to the straight male demo that reads this blog because today we’ll be talking about sex…

…ism.

Wait! Don’t go!

Look, when I set out to write this blog its intended audience was supposed to be straight women and the gay men who love them because that’s my audience in life. Now suddenly it seems that I have some straight men who read this, and to you, straight men, I say: Welcome. This is a safe space for you. But every once and a while you’re going to have to bear with me and read a post where I openly complain about your kind. You might learn something, so be open, not like the stubborn jerks that you are.

Just kidding, you guys! I love you, straight men. Broad shoulders are my favorite. Don’t ever change.

But it wouldn’t kill you to call instead of text when you’re asking for a date. I’M JUST SAYING…

Anyway, this sexist thing I’m talking about is street harassment. Now, I don’t think any of my readers or male friends/acquaintances are the type of men who would cat call a lady on the street, but maybe you have some friends, or friends of friends that do. Or maybe your middle aged dad is the kind of guy who tells girls to “smile.”

Literally, nothing drives me crazier than when a strange man tells me to smile. Or that “a pretty girl like you should be smiling!” Now, I think these men have no idea that this is actually totally sexist, it’s not like some jerk who yells, “nice jugs!” to you on the street. Like, obviously that’s hostile and sexist. Maybe you’re thinking that asking someone to smile is hardly street harassment, but I’d say it falls under the category. It probably doesn’t make a woman feel unsafe (like catcalling often does) but it pisses us off, so I’d say anything that elicits a negative, unwanted emotion can fall under street harassment.

I can’t tell you how many times a strange man has said this to me in my life. Never once has a woman said it to me. And I bet never once has that man ever told a young man that he’d be a lot more handsome if he smiled. At first when guys said this to me I was just annoyed in a “you don’t know my life!” kind of way or I would get self conscious and think, “do I look miserable? Am I supposed to be smiling while I walk around the mall? I don’t see anyone else walking around by themselves smiling. You’re walking around the mall alone, what is there to be happy about?”

Now some guys might make the excuse that these guys are just making up a reason to talk to you. Middle aged strangers, you don’t need a reason to talk to me unless I’ve dropped money on the ground or the mall is on fire. If you’re a young guy looking to talk to a woman you’re interested in, my greatest advice is think of something else to say. Telling a stranger to smile is none of your business and totally patronizing, and will only annoy that girl.

So if you have a dad or an uncle who says this kind of thing to young women, tell them to knock it off. And if you have a friend that catcalls women on the street, you should tell them to stop and don’t be friends with them anymore–they’re awful! Frankly, I’m now skeptical of your judge of character.

And guys, maybe you’re reading this thinking I’m being my regular, critical, possibly pain-in-the-ass self (which I believe is a synonym for charming, no?), I can promise you that this is a very common school of thought amongst women.

Where my ladies at??? Back me up in the comments section! Woop Woop! “I’mmmm every woman it’s all in meeeeeee… Chaka Khan!”

 

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3 thoughts on “Don’t Tell Me What to Do!

  1. I totally agree. I very much dislike the “smile” comments. Another one that bugs me is practically anyone (besides my husband) calling me “Honey”. Especially if you are a much younger girl, do NOT call me Honey!

    I think you are correct, guys who tell you to smile are just looking for a conversation starter or something. They need to get a new line because that one does not work!

  2. I agree that telling someone to smile because it makes them look more approachable is rude, because one doesn’t know why they’re not smiling.

    But what’s worse than that is when someone comes to you, persistent in getting your number and getting to know you when you just want to be left alone, and when you speak up and tell them to not bother you anymore, they become irate because you, of all people, turned them down, and they do everything in their power to put you down and embarrass you for doing that to them. That’s happened to me at a bus stop, and I’ve heard and read stories where similar things happened to the point of the upset party getting violent.

    People, especially men (not all), believe the world revolves around them, and they assume that because they’re even talking to you that you’re obligated to give them something in return. Again, this isn’t all men, because there ARE men out there who have respect for women, especially those in their families and female friends who they wouldn’t want the same incidents to happen to.

  3. Pingback: Apology (Of free will and submission) « Shafiq Haider Virk

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