Not That You Asked: #YesAllWomen

There is nothing that I’m going to say that hasn’t been said already, but maybe it’ll reach someone’s eyes who hasn’t been following this UCSB killings and the #YesAllWomen hashtag.

I think I’ve known for a really long time that there was something inherently “less than” feeling about being a female.

The inequality was pervasive and yet, I had no idea how to combat it.

I was obsessed with the the Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas hearings so much so, I clipped articles from the newspaper and followed the story closely. I was only thirteen.

It took until a couple of years ago when I met Alicia Swiz that I started really thinking about feminism and what it meant to be a woman in this world. An educated and outspoken feminist, Alicia brought so many things to light that I had never thought of or could properly identify and articulate.

And so a floodgate was open.

I see the world through different eyes and I’m grateful for her knowledge and activism. She’s a huge reason why I wanted to create a female-centric live lit show.

But these eye opening moments have been painful and sometimes helpless feeling. All of these things that I’ve been reading about, things like women in the videogame, tech and music industries, have ALWAYS been an issue. It’s just that now more women are talking about it or their words are spreading further thanks to the Internet.

We are still being paid less for the same work. We are still expected to stay home and take care of the house and family. We are still being assaulted, raped and killed in staggering numbers, most often by men we know.

We are still objectified, sexualized and treated like lesser human beings.

I can’t believe I’m only now hearing other women talk about street harassment. You just start believing this is “how it is”. I walk outside wearing a dress and some guy is going to make a comment, or honk their horn or leer at me.

And there’s nothing I can do. You know why? Because I put myself at risk of escalating the situation. I put myself in harm’s way by sticking up for myself.

Every night when I walk home alone I’m aware that this could be the night something terrible happens to me.

This is not paranoia. This is reality. 

I will stand at the bus stop and hope the guy who’s approaching me is not going to try and talk to me. I will not make eye contact with the guy who’s walking in my direction. I will think about crossing the street if a group of men are on the same side of the street as me.

Sometimes I hold my breath when I pass men on the street hoping they will ignore me.

I should be able to walk outside naked and nothing should happen to me. But I’m willing to bet your response would be that I was calling attention to myself, that I was “asking for it”. And that’s the problem. Instead of telling perpetrators to stop, we tell women to not put ourselves in “questionable” situations. We’re not supposed to wear certain clothing, get too drunk or walk down alleys at night alone.

WE SHOULD BE ABLE TO DO ALL OF THOSE THINGS. Do you get it?

“That’s just not the world we live in.”

WHY ISN’T IT?

Men: We just want you to try and understand our truth. We aren’t accusing you of being the bad guy when we ask that you hear us out. And we’d really love for you to stick up for us. We’re not here to destroy you, we’re here to stand alongside you because we’re all humans just trying to make it in this world. Imagine leaving your house everyday and assessing the risk of being harassed or at worst, killed.

We need your empathy and support, because #YesAllWomen.

-Carly

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