Most men have no idea how terrifying it can be to be grabbed by a stranger who then refuses to let go. Or how fast a heart can beat when a man hollering at you from his car decides to pull over and get out of his vehicle. In the twilight hours, most men will not discreetly but desperately grapple with the contents of their purse until they find their keys, then hold fast to them in their fists—just in case an oncoming confrontation requires them to have some small advantage.
To be clear: this is not a feminist rant.
Recent events in my personal life gave me pause to think of the different ways men and women live out their typical nights and days. It was a rather mind-boggling exercise and I can’t help but think, at its conclusion, that there should be no place for these differences in an advanced, first world society like ours.
Chicago comedian Ever Mainard puts a humorous spin on the problem, but her words are unfortunately spot on:
The problem is that every woman has that one moment when you think—here’s my rape! This is it! OK, it’s (checks watch) 11:47pm, how old am I? 25? Alright, here’s my rape! It’s like we wait for it, like, what took you so long?
(Above quoted bit starts at 2:10)
I have absolutely had such moments in the past, and I’d hazard a guess that too many other women have, too. Over a late dinner with a male friend, the subject was brought up. He was genuinely surprised to hear this angle of the story. That same evening, another male associate related how he never understood what it must feel like for an attractive woman every day until he was in Chicago’s Boystown neighborhood. (Boystown is home to a large portion of Chicago’s LGBTQA population, particularly the men).
In her fantastic and thought-provoking article, “A Letter to the Guy Who Harassed Me Outside the Bar,” Emily Heist Moss accuses poignantly:
You probably don’t even remember Friday night, and if you do, your memory is the sound of your friends laughing.
But that is not all that happened. (Emphasis, mine).
In a world that prides itself on the fact that its women are doctors and lawyers, judges and single-parent households, construction workers and business owners, I truly believe this is a hurdle we should be over. This double standard should be offensive to men, as well, since it says that they are such crazed animals that they can’t control themselves. It is one of those mindsets that contribute to the propagation of rape culture: teaching women not to get raped as though it’s an inevitability instead of teaching men not to commit rape. It isn’t right that for women:
For additional reading regarding the rights rapists retain as parents, click here. Sources: http://www.rolereboot.org/culture-and-politics/details/2012-12-a-letter-to-the-guy-who-harrassed-me-outside-the-bar http://wondergressive.com/2012/08/31/rapists-have-the-same-parental-rights-as-any-other-father-in-majority-of-states/
“You can’t have people look at you and listen to you at the same time.” —Gina
Barreca,Professor of English Literature & Feminist Theory, University of Connecticut