It’s not really a secret that there have been, in recent years, a huge surge in efforts for female empowerment in relation to tackling larger-level social problems. The thing is, these problems aren’t just at the larger social level — we are affected often just as much in our daily, mundane lives by the conditioning of a society that largely overlooks women. We get this, but it seems not everyone does. And the fact of the matter is that most of the time our everyday behaviour is a product of “lessons” taught — even unspoken — over YEARS of forced learning and caution.
There is nothing that would make me trade the fact that I am a woman, but there are so many things that, in the space of a moment, I would change if I could. So, here are 29 times I’ve hated being a woman:
A disclaimer: nothing here is meant as an attack on men, but it IS meant to outline the female experience or my personal experience with it — and a lot of that has come from guys.
1. Crossing the street because there’s someone walking towards me and I can’t tell if it’s a guy or not. Or they’re sitting on the curbside. Or sometimes if they’re literally just walking out of their house because I can’t be sure about anything anymore.
2. Walking fast to the point of almost-not-quite running when a car seems to slow next to me for no reason.
3. Constantly looking behind me to make sure nothing and no one appeared since I last checked.
4. Avoiding parking lots when no one else is around.
5. Doing a mental inventory of everything I have on me for what I might be able to use as a weapon. And no, it doesn’t feel badass. It feels like a I’m a knock-off Jason Bourne wannabe, who can’t do anything with their “weapons” but is desperate enough to try.
6. The fact that kidnap vans” are even a thing and worse: a thing we have to be worried about.
7. Checking the corners and trees when walking home at night, like I’m in some kind of convoluted thriller movie and someone might jump out at me.
8. Being told I shouldn’t go certain places without a man to go with me. I wasn’t raised to need a protector, but the world has decided I’ll need one anyway.
9. My chest tightening when I’m alone and a group of men walk by.
10. Having to leave that area because even if they’re not going to do anything, my stomach is sick worrying that they could.
11. Wanting to call a friend to feel less alone, but worrying about getting distracted and not noticing a nearby threat.
12. Guys thinking it’s okay to touch me because I’m friendly or a friend. And yeah, boys get that too, I’m sure. But are you genuinely afraid of how far they might try to push you?
13. The split second of hesitation on telling someone “no” or “stop” because I don’t want to be “The Bitch” and somehow, their pride is more valuable than my comfort.
14. And when that split second lasts more than a second and I don’t know how to say anything at all.
15. The concerned look on my parents’ faces if I so much as mention hanging out with a group of guys alone because even though they’re friends and I trust them completely, there’s still something to worry about.
16. Dressing sexy, even when I’m not feeling it, because “that’s just what I’m supposed to do,” to the point where it blurs the line of whether I’m doing this for me or I’m doing this for them. The answer should always be me.
17. Seeing those guys at clubs who seem to think it’s okay to take full advantage of a girl who is CLEARLY too drunk to push them away.
18. Hearing about my friends who were followed home because they talked to someone a little too nicely — and apparently, that means sex.
19. When people crack rape jokes just because they think it’s funny, not at all realizing how damaging that can be. Or worse, use me as the butt of those jokes, as if that somehow makes it more okay.
20. Not wanting to take an Uber or a taxi because I’d be nervous alone with the driver, so I just don’t go out in the first place.
21. Taking an Uber and instantly tracking the route on my phone to make sure I’m not being taken anywhere I don’t know.
22. A random stranger pressing up against me at a bar or a club and pressing further even once I’ve moved away.
23. Straight up saying “no” or “back off” and still being ignored.
24. Knowing that by going to a club, any of these things will probably happen and being forced to accept that that’s just what happens to us, instead of them learning it’s not f**king okay. Which is so many kinds of wrong.
25. Having to use the “I have a boyfriend” excuse even if I don’t because: wow, surprise, there’s more respect for this unnamed, nonexistent man in my life than there is for me.
26. Guy friends teasing me or even just not understanding if I tell them I’m afraid to walk somewhere alone because that shit doesn’t happen anymore, right?
27. Freaking out that a friend might like me for no reason other than being worried about what they will do if I turn them down. Apparently, when guys “friend-zone,” it just is what it is, but if a guy gets “friend-zoned,” I’m the bitch who led him on.
28. When, knowing how I won’t agree and knowing I’ll be uncomfortable, they just have to make a move. “Can’t blame a guy for trying?” — Can’t blame a girl for being pissed if you do it.
29. Not being able to get away with anything ever because, apparently, my reputation defines me — and if it’s so much as being touched the wrong way, suddenly I’m a whole different person. A guy can do whatever he wants with minimal consequence since the whole world will protect his name. But I’m the only one protecting me.