Put up and shut the fuck up

Day after day after day.
Abusive messages, rape threats, threats of violence or death.
Sexist remarks, cat calling, insults shouted out of car windows, ‘compliments’ shouted in the street.
Sexually explicit comments and suggestions in pubs, in bars, in cafes, in clubs, at gigs, in the street.

Women are battling all the time to cope with it. To cope with the fear, the dread, the anxiety and panic it causes us. Trying not to internalise the insults, to remain calm & not blame ourselves. To not believe what they say, to convince ourselves that it’s not true, that no one is really coming for us, no one would do that. Would they?
But they do.
We are stalked, verbally abused, beaten, smacked, punched, slapped. We are harassed, groped, pushed, pulled, cornered.

Women are so tired. Tired of putting up with this. Tired of ignoring it, minimising it, laughing it off, pretending we don’t live in a frightening place all the bloody time.

We’re tired of risk assessing. Checking where we park our car, checking if it’s safe to walk along the road, checking who’s around, who’s behind us, in front of us.
Can we go for a run? Will we get harassment? Can we go for a drink? What shall we wear that doesn’t draw attention to us? What shoes shall we wear in case we need to run?

It’s constant. Every bloody day. A never ending stream of shit.
Women are stupid, brainless, worthless, inadequate, unimportant, useless.
Women can’t do maths, are no good at science, don’t have logical brains, don’t understand politics or economics, can’t talk about football or sports.
Women are good for cooking, cleaning, giving birth, looking after kids.
Women are good to look at. Breasts are there for groping (don’t breast feed in public), bodies are there for shaming.

But it’s ok. If you’re on twitter, use the block button. Lock your account.
Facebook? Block. Go private.
Don’t use Ask FM, don’t give your email out, don’t use forums where men might target you. Don’t encourage them, don’t give them an excuse, don’t let them hurt you.
Report it to the police. They’ll help. But they don’t. We don’t get help or support or taken seriously.
“Nothing we can do. You need to protect yourself.”
So we don’t report it. And it goes on.

Don’t run at night. Don’t run on a main road. Don’t go for a walk on your own. Don’t wear anything that might instigate abuse. Don’t make eye contact. Watch where you’re going, head down. Avoid places or situations where there might be drunk men. Drive with your doors locked, don’t stop for anyone. Make sure you have enough petrol. Keep your phone charged.
Sit near a door, keep your car keys handy, make sure there are no barriers to you getting away. Don’t walk home alone. Don’t catch a taxi you don’t know.
Don’t challenge, don’t argue, don’t raise your voice. Watch your language, your manners, your attitude.
Shut the fuck up.

Don’t drink too much, don’t leave your drink where you can’t see it. Don’t eat too much. Maintain your figure so it’s pleasing to men. Don’t have your hair too short in case people think you’re a lesbian.
Be feminine. Wear make up & pretty clothes. Smile. Don’t be angry.
Enjoy sex, but not too much. Don’t refuse sex. Shave your body hair. Everything must be smooth.
Don’t be sexy. Except when they want you to be sexy. Pose in your underwear to show how empowered you are. Celebrate your body; as long as your body fits the patriarchal fuckability test. Over a size 14? Shame yourself. Cellulite? Shame yourself. Don’t go to the gym? Why don’t you look after yourself? Don’t you care about your appearance? Tone up for summer! Tone up for the beach! Lose weight for Christmas, New Year, spring, summer, autumn. Lose your baby weight! Follow X’s diet! Lose weight fast!
Because you’re just not good enough as you are.

How dare they do this to us? How dare they police us, and shame us and dictate to us?
HOW FUCKING DARE THEY??

Normal
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17 thoughts on “Put up and shut the fuck up

  1. Hear fucking hear! This is EXACTLY how I feel. So sick of having to consider how I can best protect myself. We live in a world where things are supposed to have progressed – and perhaps they have somewhat, but today, it does not feel that way – no where near enough.

    We still can’t get off a train at night without being concerned about how we get from the train station to home because it’s already dark outside. I am sick of looking over my shoulder, sick of keeping an eye on my drink, sick of choosing my wardrobe around what men consider appropriate – worrying that something flashes too much flesh, or is too tight -I’m sick of having to be concerned about how men might perceive me. Or, if something does happen, how women will judge me – ‘well, she shouldn’t have been flashing her cleavage or been wearing something so short’.

    I’m basically just sick. Things have to change.

  2. This is fucking brilliant.

    I’ve started going for runs actually, and before I leave I do think ‘ Am I dressed acceptably’, ‘ Will I have any comments thrown at me’, ‘ which is the quietest route to take/ not too quiet incase I get attacked’. All of this, before I’ve even found the energy to run.

    Solidarity. Always xxxx

  3. Thank you. Thank you from someone who has recently started suffering panic attacks from potential dangers in every situation, from someone who is petrified of everyone, from someone who is overweight and judged.

  4. Oh God exactly THIS! After reading this week about how an overweight lady had eggs thrown at her for daring to run in public, I’ve been wanting to express how I feel about living as a woman but you’ve managed to do it so much more eloquently than I ever could so from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

  5. This is wonderfully written and so powerful. As a man I can never experience or truly understand the effect sexism and misogyny have on women. And that is why this piece needs to be read by men too. To make us understand and not be those apologetic victim blaming knobs.

  6. Thank you so much for this!! Well written and so totally true!!!
    I now hate going out with friends due to the level of abuse we are bound to receive, insane in this day in age.
    Keep fighting the good fight!!

  7. Thank you so much for writing this. When I see women trying so hard to get men’s attention or surrending themselves to gender norms (like performing “femininity” n shit), I feel an urge to scream “WAKE UP, SISTERS! Dont fall for this shit anymore! Its not worth it!”

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