Before I start, please know that this is not an ‘I hate men’ article, in fact, in all three situations there was a man sticking up for me. I just want to highlight that being a woman in the 21st century, while substantially easier than our ancestors, is not necessarily an enjoyable stroll in the park.
Painful Reminder 1 | The Bus Incident
On Wednesday I was at Cultural Centre waiting for my (consistently late) bus, thanks Translink. There was a very very intoxicated man stumbling around, being annoyingly boisterous. Now, bus stations are no fun to be at during peak hour but with this man drunkenly stumbling around you could see a lot of women actively pull into themselves and hold their handbags that little bit tighter. This man was making a lot of us uneasy, we knew we were safe in numbers, but we were uneasy.
He then got into the Translink lady’s face and yelled something obscene like “Call the fucking bus number when it arrives,” “stupid bitch,” and even something with the words “respect” in it. The irony was real.
My bus pulled up. I hopped on. Had to walk to the back. No seats available. Standard stuff. But you can imagine my horror when old-mate-drunk-dick hopped on my bus. It was fine I thought, he would be stuck down the front for the time being. Jokes. He pushed through all the standing people to get to the back of the bus. Anyone who has caught a bus ever could imagine how annoying that is. Anyway, he got to the back of the bus, stopped at me and put his hand around my waist and said “hey there lass” – I froze. I didn’t know what to do. Here I was, in a bus literally full of people and I had this man’s hand on me.
Here I was with a stranger 100% invading my space, putting his hand on me in a bus full of people. It is scary to think about what this situation could have been like had it been in a different, more secluded setting. He stunk. A putrid mixture of alcohol, cigarettes and an unshowered odour. Why did this man feel like he had the right to touch me, let alone put his arm around my waist?
And to be honest I am pretty angry at myself. Why did I freeze? Why didn’t I stand up for myself? I talk the talk of women’s rights and here was my chance of walking the walk but I was scared of make him angry. I think everyone on the bus was. It was just a hold-your-breath-and-pray-he-walks-away situation.
Drunk-dick took his hand off me but then sat on the floor directly behind me, not exactly ideal. A beautiful guy touched my shoulder, let me know he was there and even stood in my place meaning the drunk-dick got to be face-level to his ass and not mine.
To the beautiful man that made me feel safe in a moment where I was really wanting to shrivel up and disappear, thank-you!
To the drunk dick that made me and countless other women withdraw and feel unsafe (even if only for a split second), fuck you!
Painful Reminder 2 | Misogyny in the workplace is still very real
I am very very lucky that in my job I have incredible co-workers and we are all paid based on merit and not gender #21stCenturyWin however, as great as our work environment is, we are not immune to external forces.
I do not want to go into this much detail, however, please trust me when I say that some 40-year-old men are perfectly content sexually-objectifying women and having them answer the phones but they are not so comfortable with having women responsible for accounts/making key decisions. I already knew this but for some stupid reason was shocked to learn it first hand this week.
Painful Reminder 3 | The Not-So Charming Squire
On Friday night, I met up with some girlfriends at the Charming Squire. I went up to the bar to get a drink. I was ordering my drink when, surprise surprise, a white-middle-aged-bald-fuckstick-of-a-man literally pushed in front of me (no easy feat as I was standing at the bloody bar) and began to talk over me to the bartender to order a drink.
The bartender, very obviously confused, said: “sorry sir, I am currently serving this lady.” White-middle-aged-bald-fuckstick-man, did not even look at me and continued to order. The bartender just decided to ignore him, pull my drink and continue with my transaction.
White-middle-aged-bald-fuckstick-man would not let me get my drink and I literally had to get on my tippy-toes to try and pass my card to pay. He friends kept telling him to move and stop being a dick and even apologized to me stating “we are very sorry, what happened to being a gentleman?”
White-middle-aged-bald-fuckstick-man finally moved, well more accurately his friends pulled him, out of my way so that I could grab my drink to which he said: “you have got your beer now so shut up and off you go.”
Now, I have no doubt in my mind that this interaction would not have occurred had I been a man. In fact, he confirmed my suspicion because when it was his actual turn to order he turned to the man next to him and said: “have you ordered yet mate?”
Full disclaimer: I am a white, 22-year-old, educated, white collar, heterosexual woman living in Brisbane, Australia. As far as being a woman goes I have it bloody easy. However, this week definitely served as a reminder as to how far we have to go in the realm of women’s rights as a privileged society.