Back Off

Remember those Yosemite Sam mudflaps that said ‘Back Off’?

We need to resurrect that, only we need it as a handy little sign women can flash when they feel threatened.

Let me back up a little.

I find the aging process a mostly enjoyable and interesting process. I’ve never been more self accepting than I am now and I am totally digging the person I am finally becoming.

That being said, this didn’t happen until relatively late in life and I have been finding myself questioning beliefs that I’ve held and wondering if maybe I am becoming one of the clueless older people who stubbornly hold on to antiquated ways of thinking.

I don’t want that. I want to always be open.

I had a shift in my thinking that has been coming along slowly. Part of me is embarrassed that it was so long in coming and part of me is just grateful that I’m not shutting myself off from examining life through different perspectives.

I’ve been reading more and more about how school dress codes objectify and sexualize our daughters. I viewed the whole ‘no booty shorts and provocative clothing’ as smart. We should respect ourselves more than to put ourselves on display.

Where is the logic in that? We’re all just people and we have our body parts. This is not a revelation.I shifted my thinking. I have been complicit in the sexualization of our daughters by not protesting the dress codes that ‘protect’ our sons from the siren song of girls.

I didn’t know that I would be a grandmother and still learn things like a child. But I am.

I feel like we women are making leaps and bounds toward finding our power. I feel like we’re moving forward. Maybe not our laws, but as humans, we are looking around and saying ‘Okay, this is bullshit. We’re done.’

As we continue to find this strength, we are going to need some help from men.

Back the fuck off.

Seriously.

I’m not saying that it’s all of you. It’s not. I’m sure it’s a small percentage of men who behave in the following way, but it is enough to make a goddamn difference.

Too many of you use coercion and aggressiveness when attempting to connect with women.

There is a meme going around facebook that is a quote from Kendra Wells that says If you think women are crazy then you’ve never had a dude go from hitting on you to literally threatening to kill you in the time it takes to say “no thanks”.

This is the kind of shit that has to stop. If y’all won’t stop then we have to start calling you out on your bullshit. 

Except it’s not all bullshit, is it? I don’t think it is. I think that when you hit on someone and your words are dripping sugar, then that is general, catch-all bullshit. When you’re being a threatening dick, however, that’s real. That is when you are showing us who you are.

I work with this young woman named Cassie. Cassie is thin and blond and has ridiculously huge blue eyes. She is stunning.

Last week, over the course of three days, Cassie suffered through two incidents where she was frightened by a strange man.

She had to appear in court for a traffic ticket. While in the courtroom, Cassie noticed this man staring intently at her while she waited her turn. After she finished with the judge and walked out, this man walked out with her. She ducked into the bathroom and stayed in the bathroom for 10 minutes to wait him out. When she left the bathroom, he was standing there. Just staring.

Cassie parked herself on a bench and decided she would just stay there until he left. No way she was walking out to her car with this guy stalking her.

The police officer who wrote her ticket noticed all of this going on. The cop approached Cassie and asked if she knew the man who was showing so much interest. She said that she didn’t know him and that she was afraid of him.

The police officer offered to walk her to her car and when they passed the stalker, the stalker yelled “I can’t get your number or anything?”

Seriously? Fuck that guy.

Two days later, Cassie was followed by a guy who pumped gas at the car next to hers. He followed her from the gas station to the parking lot at our work. When she got out of her car, he asked if she had a boyfriend. She said she did and he left.

He scared the shit out of her.

I mean, I guess the second guy was polite and all but did he even think for a goddamn minute how threatening his behavior was?

My husband, Randy, likes to walk early in the morning. My husband is large and imposing. He hasn’t had a haircut in over two years and is one ponytail holder away from looking like crazy homeless guy.

If he sees a woman walking toward him, he will cross the street so that she has the sidewalk to herself. If he is on a stretch where there is no other sidewalk available, he will raise his hand and say ‘good morning’ in a strong voice and then averts his eyes.

He does these things because he is aware that he could be perceived as a threat and he wants to do what he can to mitigate the trepidation a woman walking alone might feel crossing his path.

I am not saying that all men should feel obligated to be as considerate as my husband. Although, it would be nice if you would at least fucking consider it. But could you at least not go out of your way to do things that are going to freak us the fuck out?

We’re figuring shit out. Give us our space. Let us find our strength. This will benefit all of us, I promise.

Back the fuck off.

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