Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Hands Off!

      Can anyone please explain to me why feminism is still an issue? Humans have been around for thousands of years, and yet somehow, despite all the the developments and breakthroughs regarding feminism, we still do not have gender equality. Now, I'm not going to explore every aspect of this topic, or this post would be a million miles long, but rather I'm going to focus on one aspect, that I think is overlooked at times. The best way I can think of to state this is inappropriate physical contact, and I'll explain what I mean by that.

       I got started thinking about this topic after something that happened to me recently. I was walking along the street - not a street I would go along alone at night, but I regularly walk along it in the day, and it was 10am when this happened. Anyway, I was walking along when I suddenly felt a hand touch my bum then run up my back. Naturally, I was startled by this and turned around to see a complete stranger grinning at me, a guy in his mid-20s I'd say. I looked at him in disgust and carried on walking, speeding up to try to lose him. He tried again however, basically attempting to put his hand up my skirt. I hit his hand away, told him to eff off, and walked off as fast as I could, changing course towards what I knew was a busy street. This was the first time anything of this sort had happened to me, but it got me thinking about this sort of thing. What threw me though, was if he had tried to be forceful with me, it was the middle of the day and I cam across another person less than a minute after getting away from him, so he would easily been caught. And if this wasn't his aim, did he really think that was the way to charm a girl? He failed completely, unless his goal was to come across as a complete pervert.

       But that idea of trying to charm a girl stuck with me, and got me thinking about other times guys exhibit this behaviour. Obviously in the street in the middle of the day is never appropriate, but what about in bars and clubs? Once I thought about it, I realised this has happened to me before in these scenarios, but I hadn't quite thought about it in the same way before. Often people are out in these places, looking for some sort of flirtation, or are 'on the pull' (looking to kiss someone, for those unfamiliar with the expression), in which case physical contact of some sort is the goal. It's certainly something I've done myself before, kissing a guy I've just met, for no other reason that it's a bit of fun and I felt like it. And generally, if you make it clear you're not interested, guys will leave you alone. Sometimes I'm not in the mood for it, or I'm having a girls' night - whatever. Which is fine when the guy does leave you alone, but that's not always the case.

        Some guys need to learn to take no for an answer - I didn't get all dressed up to impress you, I did it because it makes me feel good, because I happen to like this outfit. I'm drinking and dancing to enjoy myself, not for your benefit. And some guys don't even look for a sign of consent, they just grab you - dancing behind you, touching your bum, any sort of physical engagement - and this is what really gets me, because what the hell makes you think you have the right to touch me like that? It's my body, my personal space, so back the hell up unless I say you can do that. Quite frankly, it's just disgusting. And ok, sometimes if I'm in the mood I will kiss a stranger for fun, but I would never get involved with someone I met like that. It might sound a bit hypocritical, but it's not a great first impression to make, as if you're kissing me knowing nothing about me, then it's nothing more than physical attraction, which is clearly all you're interested in. If both parties just want harmless fun, then never want to meet again, that's clearly fine for them. But I've pulled guys, then they've given me their number - I don't know what their hopes are, but I certainly will never, ever use it, for the reasons given above. I want to meet a guy who gets to know me first, who likes me for a lot more than my appearance.

        Now just to clarify, for all this is a post about feminism and women's rights, I'm not saying that it's just guys who do this. I'm well aware that there are girls out there who are very confident and forward, and who will make inappropriate physical contact with guys. However, I'm writing from personal experience; I have been felt up without my consent, and I am most definitely not one of these girls.

        So sure, we've had plenty of advancements in women's rights. And I'm certainly glad that women are now allowed to be more promiscuous, to have a bit of fun, rather than stay an untouched perfect little princess until marriage. But I do wish there were still a few more gentlemen and a bit more chivalry going around. So yeah, sometimes I'm up for a bit of fun - but guys, please learn when to keep your hands off!

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