I experienced a very scary moment last Saturday. On my way to work around 10 p.m., I was walking through a back alley in Athens, Georgia. Right as I stepped on the sidewalk, slowly moving closer to more people, a car speeds up behind me and rolls down its window. The man yells at me, “Excuse me miss, could you help me with something real quick?” I stood there frozen for about 3 seconds until my instincts kicked in, and I replied “no,” – I immediately turned and quickly walked towards more people. He commented through his rolled down window just loud enough for me to hear: “Wow. What a pretentious bitch.” I could only keep moving forward.
What was me being a “pretentious bitch,” was a subconscious action I’ve had drilled into my head since I have been able to walk. A strange man comes up to me at night, with a dark car and tinted windows, as I walk alone in an isolated area, and asks for something – anything – to get me near or into his car. The solution is to run. Always run. Get as far away from a possible predator and around more people as soon as possible. To a man, what seemed like a stuck up girl was a survival instinct most women are taught their whole life to survive in this world.
Misogyny is present in our society and the desires of feminism are relevant and necessary for women to survive in this day and age. Feminism is for safety, not women complaining or being high-strung. The average man will argue feminism is overdoing it, but of course men don’t understand our stance – they live in a completely different world. Men don’t understand the terror of walking alone at night or the frustration that owning pepper spray or a firearm is a necessity to feel safe. They don’t know the paralyzing fear of being backed into a corner by someone bigger than you. Even if you have never experienced this, women do every single day. Women stand behind a push for more women in positions of political influence because we live in a nation where 80 percent of Congress is comprised of men, and women don’t get a fair say in issues like gun laws which affect our safety.
Misogyny is real and it has allowed a violent culture against women to become common. Most people don’t realize how deeply present it is in our society. The terms, “you throw like a girl,” and “grow a pair” have become a common part of our patriarchal society and it is an assumption that anything related to women is weak or of lesser value. These subconscious phrases and assumptions put women at a lesser value and continually place women in threatening situations more than men will ever experience or understand. One out of every five American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime and over 63 percent of women who reported being raped, physically assaulted and/or stalked since age 18 were victimized by a current or former husband, cohabiting partner, boyfriend or date.
This is why everyone needs feminism. No one should be scared to walk to their car or dress the “wrong way,” and live in fear of getting attacked or harmed because of their gender. The continual violent misogyny against women is a hate crime and feminism is what will bring light to this situation.
Coombs, Robyn, and James R. Oelschlager. “PROTECT YOURSELF: KNOW THE FACTS ABOUT DATE RAPE.” Florida Institute of Technology. Accessed July 18, 2016. https://www.fit.edu/caps/documents/daterape.pdf.
“FACTS ABOUT VIOLENCE.” FACTS ABOUT VIOLENCE. Accessed July 18, 2016. http://www.feminist.com/antiviolence/facts.html.