Sunday, January 13, 2013

"Could you please turn your misogyny down? I'm trying to study!"

WARNING: I'm on my period, and I speak the truth, though I would say this whether or not I was (I just thought I'd tackle it early to avoid "she's on the rag" comments). Do not comment calling me a man-hater. I fully recognize that this may have been an extreme case, but nevertheless, this is a true story.

I'm sitting at a table in Pollock Commons doing my homework, minding my own business. 

I'm sitting at my table. A group of four guys congregate about 15 feet from me. They're speaking loud. Guy says, that last night he was "breaking down those girls' self-esteem." Friends laugh. Guy keeps telling friends how he told this girl she wasn't his type when he met her at the club. He told another girl she has a nice nose for a Jewish girl. Guy refers to girls as "slutty-ass hoes." He says he doesn't mind being mean, it's what girls deserve. He said he didn't care-- he was drunk. He actually said these things.

My adrenaline was rushing. I could feel the heat rising in my face. I didn't say anything, though my mind was racing. I wish I had said something. I was very close to getting up and going over, but four against one is not a great ratio.

I wish I could have yelled over, "Could you please turn your misogyny down? I'm trying to study!"

How dare anyone make a comment to a person with the intent of breaking down their self-esteem. As a person, I know that comments matter. It's hard just to brush it off. It's hard to recognize that you are worth something when someone insults your most public version of yourself-- your appearance. In high school, a group of girls began referring to me as "Beaky" (heh heh, so creative. My name is Becky and I have a nose. So much win.). I knew their comments didn't mean anything, and that ultimately I don't have a big nose. However, it definitely made me insecure. It was hurtful, especially because it was meant to hurt me.

It is hard enough to be a person in this world, so why do we make it harder for each other? Girls, especially, do not live in a girl-friendly world. We're constantly told we're not good enough from the media-- not smart enough, not attractive enough, why don't you have a boyfriend yet?!, not fit enough, not stylish enough, I could go on forever-- why should we be told the same thing from the people in our lives, much less strangers?

What I experienced today was not okay. This was a blatant display of misogyny. The guy speaking knew what he was saying. He admitted his intentions very clearly. What I don't quite understand was his need to say he's drunk. Was that an admission of guilt-- the alcohol made me do it? Was it his way of justifying it to himself because surely, he had to know he was wrong? I don't know. I do know it was hateful towards women.

Where does this stop? Literally nowhere. Misogyny is in our museums...
our advertisements...

even on our clothes!

So don't tell me I'm making a big deal out of nothing.

Don't tell me that I am overreacting.

Don't say that I should lighten up.

Do not tell me I'm a man-hater or a female supremacist.

To the men in my life that are supportive, caring, and respect women, I LOVE YOU. I wish everyone had you in their lives. Thank you for being the wonderful people that you are. 

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