I am not always a very good feminist. I’m actually often quite a poor feminist. But, for as terrible a feminist as I can sometimes be, I absolutely believe that women have the right to live their lives however they choose without having to justify any of their decisions to men who seem to think that a woman’s attention is something they’re owed.
I went out to watch Chelsea/Burnley with a friend this afternoon. She’s dating my closest friend from the club and has shown interest in learning more about football, so I invited her to come with; it was the perfect opportunity to show her some non-Spurs football. Unfortunately, we discovered that my local — where we both prefer to hang out — isn’t open until 4 on Mondays, which led us to the clubhouse.
We watched the first half in relative peace. We bantered with my favourite clubhouse bartender, who, as a Liverpool fan, takes great glee in carving LFC into the collar of my Guinness every chance he gets (jerk!), cheered the excellent Burnley strike, bemoaned Burnley’s failure to account for Shurrle (because serio, especially after the World Cup, who doesn’t account for Shurrle?!?), and generally had a good time.
But there were a couple of guys sitting down the bar from us. We were half chatting to them about the music on the radio — they weren’t watching the match at all — but nothing to give them any indication that we had any interest in them. And then the second half rolled around…
Here’s the thing: I am not your property. I am not something to be referred to as “this broad here”, touched at your will, or bought with a pint. I am not gorgeous.* I am not your “baby” or your “mama.” I am not my tits alone, though they are pretty epic. I am not a bitch or a lesbian because I don’t want you. I am a person with a brain in her head who has every right to say “don’t touch me” when you decide that I am some sort of trophy to be had. I am a person with friends who has every right to hang out with them at the bar, undisturbed. And if you’d been raised right, you’d have known well before it came to me saying “don’t. fucking. touch me” that all of these things are the case.
But that’s what it means to be a woman, doesn’t it? This is not the first time, and it won’t be the last. But it should be.
Because I. Am not. Your property. I cannot iterate enough that I do not give a single fuck who you are,** what you do, or how much money you have; I owe you exactly nothing.
This story has a sort of happy ending: the friend who is dating the girl I was with, having heard the story of what happened, sent me a video of Tom Hiddleston continuing to be the awesomest at life. Because he’s a good friend, and he knows that the best way to make this particular girl feel better about pretty much everything is to send her videos of Tom Hiddleston being his delightful and charming self.
*Cute on a good day; gorgeous, absolutely not.
**Autobiographical story: I have told both a number one American football pick and first round baseball draft pick those exact words. The former was told “I don’t care who you are, that’s not my job”, the latter was told “I don’t care who you are, get your hands off me.” Both occurred while I was working for sports teams. To be fair to the baseball player, I don’t think it was a sexual thing; he was just drinking and being overly friendly at the start of the season trying to get me to like him. Needless to say, I did not. Because “but I’m [his name here]” was his way of trying to get away with pretty much everything, and again, I didn’t care that he was a first round pick. My refusal to fawn on him didn’t endear me to him at all. We had a rather rocky relationship that had to be navigated, shall we say…carefully…since he was a first round pick, and I worked in media relations. In the end we managed, but there was no love lost. As for the American football player, well, that was just a lost cause. We each had other people we could go to so after our initial encounter, unless we absolutely had to, we opted for general avoidance. That probably worked out better for both of us.