9 Things I'm Tired of Dealing With as a Woman (#PeopleNotObjects)

Four years ago, I came to college unaware of what to expect. I was incredibly excited for this new chapter of my life to begin, but also anxious about making any mistakes. This anxiety and fear was the reason I let myself be objectified by a professor. Attempting to rationalize this to my freshman-self, I made excuses for him because he was in a position of power and dealing with it internally seemed easier than speaking up, but also because this behavior appeared to be frequent in daily life. As a late teen, how was I supposed to know this man was completely out of line when women all around me are catcalled on the street, hypersexualized in the media, and preyed on at parties with no consequences?

Well, I'm tired of letting it go, brushing it off, and making excuses as I have in the past. Today, I am able to recognize that this frustration I feel is not uncommon. In fact, if you mention any of the following situations on this upcoming list to a group of women, I can guarantee you will hear collective groans of agreement and understanding, countless personal anecdotes and creepy stories. I’m not trying to stereotype whatsoever, unfortunately I am only speaking from experience. So ladies, join me in venting about nine things I am tired of dealing with as a woman:

1. Being called "babe" or "sweetie" in a professional or strange setting

While the 1960s may disagree with me, it doesn't make me feel warm and fuzzy inside to be condescended.

 

2. Being asked "Why I don't smile more" because I "look so pretty when I smile"

As awkwardly specific as this statement may seem, it's crazy (and disgusting) how often this pathetic reason to interrupt my day is used. I am actually a very bubbly, kind person - I didn't know it was required to plaster a grin on my face in order to show that as I check my emails at the bus stop.

3. Apologizing for speaking up or having an opinion

Notice next time you're in a meeting, group conversation, or even typing an email... Try and see if you can catch yourself starting sentences with "I'm sorry, but..." and "I *just* wanted to know if..." I bet that not many males have developed this passive habit. There is no we shouldn’t be confident.

 

4. Pretending to be on the phone walking by strangers at night

I understand the importance and need to be alert and safe while walking alone, especially at night. But even during the day, I don't think it's right that I have to pretend to be distracted so that the man who owns the parking lot by Rite Aid won't tell me I look pretty, ask about the weather, and stare at my butt when I walk away. I don't think it's just my roommates and I that have a daily unsafe occurrence like this...

 

5. Being insulted for not accepting "compliments"

It's interesting that a guy who appears to be so "nice" when talking shamelessly about my physical attributes can become rude within seconds. I'm pretty sure your mother would not appreciate a stranger commenting on her chest in public, and "hot chicks at the bar" are no different than her. 

6. Being stared at like a piece of meat

Obviously it feels good to know all the effort you put into your outfit paid off, or that your new haircut looks nice. However, there's a difference between genuine compliments and glaringly obvious intentions.

 

7. Getting blamed for being harassed because of my outfit choice

It's not that I want to go out wearing lingerie and pumps (and hey, if that's your thing - no judgement!) but the stigma that objectification and sexual harassment of women is a woman's problem needs to end. Playing the blame game on either side is not productive. This is everyone's problem and nothing could cause any human being to "deserve" that treatment.

 

8. Feeling self-conscious at the gym

Believe it or not, I'm not stretching, squatting, running, or crunching for anyone’s entertainment. Yoga pants are comfortable and I’m not trying to “ask for” anything. The gym should be a positive environment where you don’t compare yourself to the standards of others; a hope I have for everybody, not just women.

9. Justifying why I don't want to go home with you

While nobody likes rejection, it's baffling how many girls feel they have to use the "boyfriend card" in order to avoid confrontation. A polite "no" should suffice... but for some reason an explanation always seems necessary.

 

Many men, though, may even be surprised at this list! I know tons of great guys in my life that are angered by these instances - which is why a group of students (male and female) and I decided to take action with the #PeopleNotObjects project. There is hope to expose the perpetrators. Help us shed light on this issue and join the movement by sharing the video below:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79nNszkbp_Y

 

HCXO

 

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