Not that long ago, I wrote a blog about the ignorance of people in relation to feminism. In that article, I targeted the specific need for feminism, and the ignorance of those that belittle the movement.
Many women who oppose feminism and the feminism movement are under the delusion that we live in a society where women aren’t objectified, or demeaned, or harassed by men.
I don’t know who these women are, but I have not met one woman who hasn’t been objectified, or demeaned, or harassed by a man at some point in her life. Not one. And I’m not even making reference to the terrible, awful, almost unspeakable evils that happen to women in places like Iran, Iraq, Syria, Papua New Guinea and Egypt (just to name a few examples).
I’m talking about women in Australia. Women in a western, developed country. We’re talking about the so-called “privileged” women here.
I’m talking about the fact that if you honestly think, as a woman, you’ve never been objectified – how!?
Because I’ve been objectified, harassed and demeaned for not giving certain men what they want. And I say certain men, because it’s not all men. I know plenty of men who are lovely, who mean well, who would never do any of those things to any woman.
I think my most memorable example of being harassed and demeaned (or, at least the one I’m most willing to share) comes from a man nicknamed Crazy Coat Guy. One of my closest friends named him that due to the extreme creepiness of his messages (which sadly I don’t have any more to entertain you with because this was a few years back). Regardless, he reminded everyone I showed the messages to of the guy from Silence of the Lambs – not Hannibal Lector, but the one trying to make outfits out of skin. Hence, Crazy Coat Guy.
Anyway, I technically “met” Creepy Coat Guy on some internet dating website (well before the evolution of Tinder – although I lied to my friends about this fact and said I met him in a bar one night).
Anyway, after conversing with this guy over the internet, I decided to give him my phone number. Which, at the time, was very rare for me. After a crazy, stalking, abusive I was a little paranoid about just giving out my number.
It quickly became clear that I had not been paranoid enough.
I gave him my number, but asked him not to call because I’d had a rough (and long) night with parent teacher interviews, and I had to get up and repeat the same process tomorrow. I was exhausted, I told him in the email, and would speak to him another time.
He called me seventeen times.
Seventeen times before I finally answered, and angrily told him that I needed sleep, liked I’d first told him. He apologised, and then sent several texts.
He then asked if I wanted to go on a date with him. I said no, partly because my cousin was coming to stay with me and we were going out. But, my instincts were already telling me I needed to stay away from him.
Anyway, after messaging him briefly, I went to shower to get ready for my lunch-date with my cousin. And my shower broke. Seriously, it broke. The tap-thing came off and I couldn’t stop the water. Once I fixed it so it became more of a slow trickle, I returned to my bedroom to dress and I saw that I had several messages and missed calls from him.
Apparently, Crazy Coat Guy wanted to know why I hadn’t replied to him in the past thirty minutes, and was freaking out.
I explained to him that my shower had broken and I was not ignoring him (although by this time I was trying to work out how to not piss off the psycho).
He said he could come around and fix my shower. I replied that Dean would (you know, the cousin I had told him I was getting ready for?). He went crazy again; I was silly for not giving him a chance, but I was such an amazing woman, and how could I have already found someone? Apparently, the connection that Dean was my cousin wasn’t as easily made as I’d assumed.
I explained Dean was my cousin and then blocked his number.
Unfortunately, my phone only allowed blocking of calls, not texts, which there were numerous of.
I ignored them all.
And then he changed his number, and called me.
Once I realised it was him, I blocked that number, too.
And then, a few months later, I was at the races, and he messaged me saying he was “watching” me from afar. He said the guys I was currently talking to were his friends.
My friend and I left the races.
He changed his number again. I didn’t immediately realise it was him – another man by the same name had been asking me out, and I first thought it was him.
Halfway through the conversation I realised it was Crazy Coat Guy. I worked it out when he started badgering me to go on a date with him. It was just a date, he said. I was acting like he was proposing marriage, and he was just asking for a date. Why was I being so difficult?
I continued to say no before I decided to hang up on him and blocking a third number.
He then started sending a bunch of messages, including pornographic one. And not nice ones.
I finally told him that if he didn’t stop, I’d go to the police. Not that I was entirely sure they’d be helpful – when my ex broke into my school to read my emails and steal my SD card from my phone, they suggested it was one of the students. (Because kids are more interested in my text messages than the $1000 brand new phone ‘they’ had clearly found.)
However, I hoped it would scare him into leaving me alone.
It didn’t. He became very abusive. He said I couldn’t stop him from “seeing me in the streets” and changed his number for a fourth time – so he could call me again and abuse me.
That’s when I changed my number.
Why am I telling you this story?
Not for sympathy or pity; please don’t give it. It has zero effect on my life currently and has had zero effect for a very long time.
I’m telling you this story because this all happened over a guy I had never met before. He’d seen my picture, and we’d talked a few times, but that was it.
So don’t tell me you aren’t, nor have you ever, been objectified. Or demeaned. Or harassed. Because chances are, you have. I don’t know any woman who hasn’t been treated that way, at least once in her life (maybe not as full on as Crazy Coat Guy, but you know what I mean).
Not all men.
But yes, all women.
So I raise my head up and say no. No. No to the men that treat women this way, and no to the women who are so ignorant that they think his behaviour’s okay.
No to the women who keep dismissing the hard work of those people that are trying so desperately hard to strive for equality in a messed up society.