It’s so weird being an adult and actually looking critically in how you were raised in this society, a society that has a tendency to look down on women. I suppose I never even realized the pressures and expectations and limitations that were placed on me until it really started to affect me. When I was raped, I witnessed for the first time how true rape culture was, and how against victims society really is. And I realized then too how many times I had called other women sluts and whores for their clothing choices and drinkin a lot etc and how I had lived so long as a part of the problem without even knowing it.
And I started looking at other parts of my life. Where else had I been a part of the problem and don’t even realize it because society had ingrained it so far into my flesh?
When I turned 13 my mother scolded me in the car for making a gesture with my arm for tractor trailer drivers to honk their horns as we drove by, as all kids did. When I asked her why I shouldn’t do it, since I only wanted to hear the horn as I had for so many years before without being scolded, she said to me “because they aren’t going to think that’s the only thing you want”. And when I questioned further it was one of the first times my mother had to have the conversation about how to keep myself safe from men. How to make sure I never travel alone, not come on too strong or seem too interested with strangers, if a man was persistent to be as nice as possible when turning him down so he wouldn’t become violent.. And above all I was to be aware of my surroundings because I wasn’t looking like a child anymore, I was looking more like a woman, and that would cause men to not treat me like a child.
I was 13. I hadn’t even had my first period yet. My boobs were just growing in, yet in that moment on the highway I realized that my childhood was in a way over. No longer could I ask tractor drivers to honk their horns in fear they would think I wanted their dicks and they might hurt me because of it.
And the older I get, the more I realize how true that speech was, and how terrifying that is. And the only way to change that is to change the way we teach our men and women how to respect each other. And that’s no easy task. The same goes for race, I realize much better now I’m a part of the problem.