By Ngozi Cole
Do you realize that, as a young woman,I stand the risk of getting raped and assaulted if I reject a man’s sexual advances?I stand the risk of getting KILLED if I reject a man’s sexual advances?Do you know why? Because we live in a misogynistic world,a universal society where male entitlement is not just prioritized and celebrated,it is also protected and normalized. A universal society where a man decides to go on a shooting spree in California because he was rejected by several women,and he is excused as being “mentally ill”. A society where we feel the need to protect his actions as a man,but no need to address his sickening sense of male entitlement ,and call him what he truly was-a cold-blooded misogynist.
If we are going to tag him as “mentally unstable”,are we then going to say that only women and a few men,are the only mentally stable people on earth? Because the last time I checked,a sense of entitlement to sex,women’s bodies and women’s “performance”,was a predominant thing,seeing as we live in predominantly patriarchal societies,where misogyny,sexism, and femicide are seen as terms invented by “crazy angry” feminists,and not real issues that affect women daily all over the world .
If you are active on social media, especially on twitter, you might have seen the trend #YesAllWomen,a response to the California shootings.This trend has become a platform for women to share their experiences living in a predominantly sexist and patriarchal society,and for men to tell their fellow men to do better.Although I am not necessarily a fan of hashtag activism,looking through the feeds and posts,I identify with so many of the stories that women all over the world are sharing, from being judged by appearance first rather than intelligence,to being expected to perform in front of men in a certain way,even when we do not feel like it.
Women who speak against misogyny and sexism are not just “a bunch of angry women”.We speak out because we experience REAL issues,DAILY,just because of our sex.So shouldn’t I care? I care because as a human being,I do not owe anyone my sexuality,my body,my personality,my life,and no one,especially a man,should not expect it.I care because I am tired of performing in a “culturally appropriate” way that erases my dignity and edifies masculinity.I care because women’s rights activist have been fighting long before me, for the same things I am fighting for now,and I don’t want my daughter(s)(if I happen to have any) to have to have to fight for that too.I care because as Jessica Valenti rightfully put it-misogyny literally kills.And a huge part of misogyny is a sense of entitlement by men.The feeling that women owe them ,by virtue of them being men.
Men,women do not owe you anything.Don’t expect us to thank you for asking us out,for dating us,for marrying us,for having sex with us,because you are not entitled to those things . Women should be free to give those things out of their free will,if and when they want to and feel like it.