Women are beautiful.
It can be flattering to be noticed and appreciated by men, and even other women. All women to some extent want to be desired. We want to feel noticed. We want to be seen. We want to feel beautiful.
So when a man notices our beauty, it’s nice.
My whole life, even in middle school. I have been “noticed” by men. There was one day in sixth grade I was riding my bike down the street and at a stop light, an older man in a truck rolled his window down, whistled at me and then stuck his fingers on the sides of his mouth and stuck his tongue in between them.
At the time I had no idea what this symbol meant, but I knew it made me feel icky. I knew it was something sexual and when he did it, my stomach turned and I felt sick.
Things like that have happened on an at least weekly basis ever since.
It happens to all women, because for some reason, certain types of men believe we are here for their pleasure. Some men view women as things to be used.
And it’s disgusting.
I have learned over the years how to avoid eye contact with these men. How to keep walking as if I didn’t hear their degrading sexualized comments about my ass. How to pretend I’m not repulsed by their behavior and words about what they’d like to do to me if given the chance.
After I graduated high school, I was sexually abused on multiple occasions and this thing happened where I began believing that all I was good for to men was sex, and that somehow, that was my fault.
I have always been told I’m a sensual person. In a counseling session once, as I spoke about losing my virginity by being raped at a party, her response to me was, “Well you are a very sensual person.” I had no idea what to even say. I asked her what she meant and she said, “Well, the way you dress, the way you play with your jewelry. You just have a natural sensuality about you.”
So there it was.
Your beauty makes it your fault that men use and abuse you.
With men, I always felt like an item. An object. A means to an end.
No one ever makes cat calls about your beautiful soul or your compassionate heart. They don’t ever yell out the window how smart you are or that you’re a great mom. It’s never about thinking you’d be someone they want to spend the rest of their life with or even that they’d want to get to know you because you seem like a really cool person.
It’s always about sex.
It’s always about your body and what it can do for theirs.
It’s never about you. It’s always about them.
I recently had a married man express great interest in sleeping with me. Before it escalated to that and before realizing he was married, there was seemingly innocent flirting, and I have to admit, it was nice. It was fun to feel attractive and desirable after being nothing but mom for the last three years. It was flattering.
I got butterflies for the first time in many years, and it was cool to feel noticed by a decent man.
But then I realized he was married, and it became the same story as every other story.
It turned icky.
It reminded me of every other situation I seem to encounter with men where all they’re really interested in is how I make them feel and what they think I can do for them.
There’s this thing that happens to women where men often corner us into a losing situation where if you’re attractive at all or in any way call attention to that beauty, you’ve somehow invited whatever men want to do and say to you.
I work hard on my body. I take pride in how I dress. I enjoy dressing up and looking well put together.
I do it for myself because it makes me feel good.
I don’t dress to impress men. I don’t get ready in the morning hoping I turn married men’s heads. I don’t check the mirror before I leave in hopes of getting hollered at by men on the street as I walk into work.
But when it happens, I feel like I should cover myself up.
I feel like I should dress in loose clothes that don’t show my body at all. Like I should keep my eyes down and not call attention to myself in any way. And I feel guilty for holding any outward beauty that’s noticeable to men.
It’s a frustrating reality that there are men who are lead by their penis and their own sexual needs. They don’t care who is on the other side of their words or behaviors. They view women as things to be used.
Not all men operate this way, but the ones that do make it difficult for women to feel safe in their own skin.
So to the men who think women are here for your personal pleasure—we’re not.
Your cat calls are not flattering. They’re not cute. Your secretive attempts to get in my pants when your wife isn’t looking don’t make me feel good. It makes me sick.
I don’t want to have to cover myself in a moo-moo to avoid your degrading comments. I don’t want to have to walk as if I have no confidence so that I don’t call attention to myself. I don’t want to feel guilty for dressing with sexy class.
I don’t want to be your sex toy. I don’t want to make you feel good about yourself.
And I don’t want to be your fantasy.
My womanhood is not something to be used by you. My beauty is not up for grabs, and neither is my body.
This article first appeared on Scary Mommy and is republished on Medium.
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Sorry guys you are not real men by treating women and girls this way at all. Maybe you were taught this by your fathers or male figures in your life. Sorry it just plane wrong of you to do this to women at all. This is learned behavior by men, that starts in the home (Monkey see, monkey do). We the good men, have to stand up for Women when we see this happening, to tell the guy(s) who are doing this to stop, that its wrong. But we also have to teach our sons both in words and deed… Read more »
I simply could not get through all the comments by men either deflecting or excusing or even questioning why this article is published on GMP. Yes, presumably the men who actively objectify women aren’t the ones who will read this article. Yes, the men who do read it are less likely to commit some of the behaviors described or similar ones. But we must consider the following: 1. We Good Men can sometimes slip up, especially if we were raised in a certain way with certain beliefs. We may have overcome our more conscious prejudices and behaviors, but in moments… Read more »
Thank you for your thoughtful response, Erik. It’s easy to ‘go with the flow’ or remain silent: Your bravery to respectfully oppose the popular opinions expressed here speaks to your character. I’ve had much the same experience as Ms. Boley. I also feel like a means to an end, and have used those exact words to express myself. It doesn’t get any better with age. I’ve found myself back in the dating scene after decades of marriage. I am surprised and disappointed by how many men in their 50s don’t express any real interest in me as a person. Don’t… Read more »
I have to agree with Darren Johnson, that this article has no place on GMP. This is supposed to be a site about men’s issues and not about sanctimonious finger pointing and declarations about how evil men are and how things would be so much better if we followed Feminist rules. To JessiesGirl and JoansArc, I hate to tell you this, but not everything in a man’s life is about women. For some of us it is simply too much of a hassle to put up with, while others have been burned in divorce or bad relationships. We can’t control… Read more »
This is a man’s issue, how could it not be? if you have a daughter do you want her to go through this? My wife went through this as a little girl and was molested. She didn’t ask for it or want it. But it begins in the home.
I understand what you are saying but I believe it is a mans issue. This type of behavior needs to end and it begins with us.
I have learned over the years how to avoid eye contact with these men. How to keep walking as if I didn’t hear their degrading sexualized comments about my ass. How to pretend I’m not repulsed by their behavior and words about what they’d like to do to me if given the chance Learned? Pretending not to be repulsed? Why? Who taught you that? Yourself? Blame yourself then. Stop running away and learning to “pretend” and realize you need to confront the situation. If you don’t want to do that, you’re going to be running away all your life to… Read more »
What are you people still on about? Men are NOT stupid. They KNOW when you are not attracted to them and when you have zero desire to be touched and teased or asked out by them. If there is any doubt or confusion – SAY SOMETHING. CLEARLY. USE YOUR WORDS. I am a huge flirt when I am into a guy and its enormously rewarding and fun and there is absolutely no doubt when there is chemistry. A lot of men enjoy blurring boundaries because it is fun for them to test you. Thats fine if you have CHEMISTRY. Its… Read more »
Btw. Can the men get your assurance that at least one woman will do the same back when you get together with the girls and the carry comments about a man or men in general come out. We all know that that happens too. That would be a really good start.
Ok Kristen. That last P.S. is a simple but good start. I’ve chastised other guys who are so blatantly clueless about respect although I tend to drop them as acquaintances if they’d do that in my presence. I don’t hang with classless people. But I’ll remember your last comment. Fair enough.
I think this article may be missing the important postscript, so let me add one for all you guys. P.S.: Good men, if you have read this far, will you please, the next time you see another man behaving this way to a woman or girl, will you please just call him out? We are subjected to these objectifications from the time we are too young to do anything about it in our own defense. I’m not asking you to take over for where Daddy failed to protect me. But I *am* asking you to help *protect* me. Sometimes the… Read more »
Kristen, if I could make the world 100% safe for you, I would. It isn’t possible. Women need to know that there are people of both genders out there who would hurt you, or at best simply use you &.discard you. The truth is that men have a dark side that we need to learn to dance with. Few men have learned the difference between dancing with that dark side and embodying it. Unfortunately, this article is just a morality lecture. It adds nothing new to the dialogue, and it will never reach the men who most need to know… Read more »
@ Kristen “Good men, if you have read this far, will you please, the next time you see another man behaving this way to a woman or girl, will you please just call him out?” There are times when I have. I think those times and instances are often lost. To be honest there were times when I haven’t and maybe it’s just human nature that these are the times that stay with us. There are times it wouldn’t have made a difference. If the situation lends itself to intervention and in my estimation can be done “safely” (Not just… Read more »
If you have such contempt for men, why did you even get married?
Sadly I doubt the men she talks about will never read this, nor care. But we can educate men n women to be mindful of the comments they make, avoid staring, pay attention to body language. A good follow up might be a way to respectfully ask for casual sex/one nighters/whatever. Some people want casual sex with people they’ve just met, it’d be handy for them to know the best way to approach it without creeping someone out or making them feel like meat. Simply wanting casual sex with a woman doesn’t make her meat or objectify her. To me… Read more »
OK, so aside from reading this article and having total recall for memory how is a guy supposed to know your standards and boundaries before he talks to you?
Mutual dignity and respect knows no boundaries. There are ways to let a woman know you might be interested without a word. Smile. Say “hello”. Move in her direction but do not invade her personal space until she lets you know you can come closer—2 to 3 feet, at least arms length, or she moves towards you. Speak to a woman, even if you’re really physically attracted to her, like you would want a decent adult man, or any man to speak to your daughter or your sister, mom or grandmother….that’s a very good place to start. “Hi, my name… Read more »
This may surprise you, but more and more men simply have no interest in meeting or approaching women because it is too much effort. Or they are afraid of being treated like rapists simply for making the attempt. Some have been divorced or in bad relationships and are not looking to repeat the experience. You can only do the same dance so many times before it gets old. Women are not always a first priority. That is what MGTOW is all about.
@ Her But that’s not always the case at least for the author. “I recently had a married man express great interest in sleeping with me. Before it escalated to that and before realizing he was married, there was seemingly innocent flirting, and I have to admit, it was nice. It was fun to feel attractive and desirable after being nothing but mom for the last three years. It was flattering. I got butterflies for the first time in many years, and it was cool to feel noticed by a decent man. But then I realized he was married, and… Read more »
@ John Anderson,
You don’t need to know her standards and boundaries if you make it a point to always treat a woman with dignity and respect.
I do that naturally. Whether I’m romantically interested in her or just as friends or co-workers. Otoh because of that the nice guy but…routine has happened more than once. Maybe its better I didn’t invest too much of my time with those women. The ones that hung on to get to that point of which we speak I think were genuinely pleased with the results. I don’t say this to be egotistical. Its just an observation. But man I sure did miss out on a few that I wished had been not so much into the bad boy image to… Read more »
“You don’t need to know her standards and boundaries if you make it a point to always treat a woman with dignity and respect.” Dignity and respect are subjective though. There is no way to know if you will cross her boundary, it might be very much different to other people. Some will be offended by a man saying hello to them when most others won’t be. Best you can do is try politely, respectfully, and learn to read body language which should give the necessary hints. But it’s still gonna be a gamble to try elevate it to the… Read more »
You point is well taken Archy. That is a major problem here in America. Too many women have taken this too an extreme..It creates an unknown boundary (or an imaginary one).
All you can do Archy is take the plunge…It’s risky….I know it is a shitty deal for us men. But, is there really an alternative?
I basically am doing my best to ignore what is said in most articles. It ended up with me being too nervous to ask women out, too nervous thinking there isn’t a good place to ask them out and they they aren’t interested in being bothered. I basically just do my best to be polite, read body language, and I will only ask once. If she becomes offended at a man being nice, asking her out politely then it’s her problem, not mine. I see a lot of men so nervous to even approach women for fear of making them… Read more »
Spend time with men who give you as much or MORE pleasure than you give them. Spend time with men who you want to grab right back! Don’t let go. Be happy.
Unfortunately, the likelihood that those seedy types would ever read anything on this site is… low.
So when did this become HuffPo/Women? Did you have something of value for men or just how you think some of us are icky?
I would guess that Rachael was inspired by this massively popular Huffpo article.
It stirred up emotions in the gender warriors big time.
@ Nolan. You completely missed the point here. It truly saddens me as a man just how dismissive we can be about an article like this. I am here to tell you that what she is saying is not just true for her but for millions of other women. Yes, the percentage of men who do this sort of thing might be fairly low. But, it is indeed higher than you think! I too have actually seen 50 plus year old men salivating over high school teenage girls. Looking at them like they were a steak to be consumed. Just… Read more »
You know Jules, listening and expressing an opinion are not mutually excusive. If the woman who wrote this article and the other women like them just want to vent about their experiences without recieving any feedback, they should talk to their pets, or if they have none, a brick wall.
When you talk about a subject as volaitle as gender relations, there is going to be some pushback. Expecting people to just silently agree with and empathise with everything you have to say is childish.
I agree that listening and expressing an opinion are not mutually exclusive. Which is why sometimes I get the impression we are all more worried about expressing our own opinions then actually listening to the perspectives and experiences of others. We are quick to want to disagree, or deny or argue against. Even I fall into that trap. I don’t think this is a matter of not wanting feedback either. I think it’s a matter of women wanting men to respond to their experiences as they would respond to the experiences of other men. When I see men share experiences… Read more »
First, if you reat my comment closely you’ll notice I didn’t “disagree” with anything she had to say in her article. I don’t doubt for a second that there are men out there who treat women poorly, only a fool would believe otherwise. Second, there are plenty of instances of people on GMP responding negtatively to the opinions of other men. Pretty much every article written on the man box by other men has comments by other men claiming that it doesn’t exist, or is actually benefical to them, or something of that sort. Third, this is not a site… Read more »
“When I see men share experiences on GMP, I see very different responses then when I see women share their experiences on GMP. When men share their experiences on GMP, there is compassion, understanding, support.”
Erin, do you suppose that might have anything to do with the fact that this is a men’s website, and one of the few places on the Internet where men can read stories by men about the issues they face? There are so many other places on the Internet where men can read about how disappointing they are to women because of ______________.
@ Daren Johnson,
“Expecting people to just silently agree with and empathize with everything you have to say is childish.”
I think being able to empathize with your fellow human being is a sign of maturity and emotional intelligence.
So, do you really have no feeling for a 12-13 year old girl (a kid) riding her bike and having some older ass guy make an obscene gesture towards her?
You don’t have to agree with anything…But, you should be able to empathize with some of her experiences and the experiences of many women like her.
Good Lord, I wish people would stop misrepresenting what I say in my posts.
I did not say that empathy in itself was childish, I said expecting it to be given by others unconditionally is. As I said in my comment to Erin, the men who do these things do not empathize with women, and articles like this will not change that.
I’m going to say this one more time- this is NOT the place for women to be fishing for sympathy or venting about random men who have mistreated them.
“PS. Yes, I am well aware that the is shit we suffer at the hands of women too. But, that does not mean we men should not listen to her message.” Moreover, we don’t know, how often it happens to men. You have to know that even for women it is not always easy to tell her story. And when someone tells us, we have to LISTEN. People have to realize that it’s not OK to blame the victim, or say it’s no big deal. It IS big deal. In post “Reality All Women Experience That Men Don’t Know About”… Read more »