I remember the first time i guy looked at me like i was prey, he glanced me up and down and told me that he "would defiantly give it to me". He thought he was being charming, i just felt sick. I remember getting changed at least 4 times before going out because i was scared that if i wore what made me feel good about myself, i would attract unwanted attention. I remember having to spend a night avoiding my boss at a party as he kept trying to pull me into rooms alone, and feeling so intimidated that i felt like i had to ask his permission to leave. I've had to pretend that male friends are my boyfriend whilst out, fearing that this is the only way to get other boys to stop harassing me.
I wake up each morning and wonder what catcalls i will receive today. I have been told to take them as a compliment before, this statement filled with me sadness. I have changed the way i walk home on many occasions due to fear of being shouted at and feeling so insecure that i have to hold back tears. Catcalling is not pleasant. To girls it puts them on edge, makes them feel in danger and honestly crushes their confidence. Its not nice to feel so small and helpless when you know you are worth so much more than that.
I'm 22 years old. I can promise you that every single one of my female friends has experienced similar situations. We have been groped, followed and realised that in many cases the word NO holds little meaning. We live in a world where we are told constantly that sexism is no longer a valid issue, that we have achieved equality. Yet women on a daily basis are having to work harder to be acknowledged, having their underwear held up in rape trails, having their outfit choices being brought into question to determine how much they should be respected. They are even having governments take away their rights over their own bodies and what they can do with them.
I consider myself a strong woman, i am proud of my gender and i am tired of it being used as something to down grade me for. The word feminism seems almost frowned upon these days. People have taken it and twisted it so it seems like more of a hate campaign. The definition of feminism from google is "the advocacy of women's rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes." The key word in this being EQUALITY. It has nothing to do with man hating, men can be wonderful. The men in my life are amazing and i love and respect each and everyone of them. I do not condemn an entire gender, i just wish to be treated as their equal.
We were not given the right to vote, woman fought and died for it. We were not given equal pay, we fought and continue to fight for it. We were not given the right to dress as we please, it was a constant struggle that we still go through and continue to get shamed for. This is my body and i will not be seen as an object. I want to take back my confidence that has be stolen from me. Women you are beautiful, strong and capable of anything you wish. We are warriors not housewives. If you are man reading this then i really hope i have given you an insight to what we still go through and what we will never stop fighting for. I hope that you understand and join us, working side by side to make a stronger loving world to live in.
I will no longer be seen as a victim of my gender, i am not weak or fragile. I am a woman and i have never been prouder of that. Now is the time we stand up and speak. We will no longer sit silent, we will be as loud and extravagant as we please and no one can take that from us.