Dear Men of the World,
This letter goes out to those of you who are ignorant. I’m not writing this because I’m a man-hater, or because I’m crazy, or because I’m overly sensitive. I’m writing this because I am tired. I am tired of your ignorance and your arrogance.
I am tired of you thinking that you can call me and my friends bitches and whores. I’m tired of you telling us to ‘chill out’ because it’s ‘just a word’. Words are a system of signs with very powerful meanings. And those meanings hurt. Those meanings make women like me afraid to speak my mind. They terrorize us on a daily basis. This is your fault, not ours.
I am tired of you thinking you can stare at my ass in the gym. I’m tired of you touching me without my permission. I am tired of feeling like I’m in a warzone every time I pass a group of men, and I’m tired of mentally preparing myself to take verbal or even physical abuse because I dare to walk the streets alone.
I am tired of seeing you post demeaning bullshit on the internet and I’m tired of your companies playing the same images on TV. I’m tired of seeing an endless progression of plastic bodies, fake smiles, and I’m tired of seeing sex that reeks of rape.
I am tired of living in a world where I would never want to raise a daughter.
To those of you who do none of the above, I thank you, but that is not enough. Please tell your friends when they are wrong, and if you ever have a son, please teach him how to be a man who treats women, and other men, and those who identify as neither, with respect and kindness
To those of you who do these things, who do not realize that your actions cause women to live in fear, I hope you’ve gotten this far before clicking off the screen in anger and disgust. I hope you take a moment to think about your actions and consider changing them. I’m sorry if you feel that your privileged existence is threatened. I’m sorry if you’re angry because I dare to tell you what you’re doing is wrong. I am sorry that you think power comes from the ability to laugh at the girl standing at the bar who dares to wear tight jeans even though she doesn’t look like a porn star. I am very sorry that you think you deserve to treat others this way. You do not.
Men of the world, if you do these things, please stop. I do not believe you are irredeemable. Nor do I think you are beyond blame. I hope you will seriously consider your actions. I hope you can become a man who loves and cares and treats other human beings with respect.
To the men of the world who actively speak out, campaign, and fight against the above, I sincerely thank you. I thank you for being willing to take on the abuse of men who don’t understand you and that of women like me who don’t always want your help. I’m sorry that I sometimes refuse that help in the service of my own pride. I only ask that you respect the fact that sometimes I need to stand on my own two feet.
Dear Women of the World,
I don’t know what you have been through. And like a good feminist I know better than to speak for you, I know better than to imagine that I have felt all that you have felt. I know better than to call for a universal sisterhood. All I ask for is that we treat one another with respect. Because all too often it is one of you who is laughing at that girl in tight jeans.
All too often I too perpetuate the emotional violence which I have just finished deriding men for committing. This is my promise to you. I will do my best every day to treat others with kindness.
I hope you will too.