Women’s right to say no

“Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.” ― Margaret Atwood

On May 23rd, 2014 the Isla Vista killings occurred in California. Elliot Rodgers a 22 year old planned to enter a sorority house in UCSB, all because women weren’t showing him sexual attention and were rejecting him. His rage is tangible in a chilling video he released sat in his car planning his “retribution”. Sickening things were said such as “If I can’t have you girls, I will destroy you”, he is repulsive and his ignorance towards women’s right to say no disgusts me.

“I don’t know why you girls aren’t attracted to me. But I will punish you all for it” these disturbing quotes from his now deleted YouTube video are outrageously unsettling and highlight the extremity of issue of rape culture in today’s society.

American politician Jimmy Carter stated “violence against women is the most pervasive human rights violation in the world”, so why does it take a massacre such as the Isla Vista killings to emphasise the issue. Racism has been a problem for hundreds of years and is something that everyone is heavily made aware of in the media, whereas women’s rights have been along for an equal amount of time and yet are still constantly overlooked. From rape culture to everyday sexism, women’s rights are overlooked despite the extremity of the consequences.

It shocks me that a man’s perceived “right” to have sex is more important than a woman’s right to live.

I am a feminist, many people mistake feminism with hating men but feminism is the belief in gender equality. Women are human beings and don’t owe anyone anything, we shouldn’t have to fear for our lives and be pressured into saying yes due to this apprehension. Why is lying and saying “I have a boyfriend” more effective then saying you’re not interested? It’s because men respect other men more than they respect women. I have been in the situation multiple times where men have shown interest in getting my phone number and I have lied about having a boyfriend to avoid the hassle and pressure from a man. Women have a right to say no yet they are fearful of expressing that right because of the potential risk they put themselves at.

We teach girls to dress decently instead of teaching boys to act decent. There isn’t a problem with showing a little skin but there is a problem with men over-sexualising normal female body parts such as our legs. We as women shouldn’t constantly have to feel like we need a man’s approval in what we wear and how we act because it might tempt them.

I will stop talking about the rights of women when we get those rights. When we can dress however we like without being harassed by men shouting sexual comments at us and when we can be outside at any hour without the fear that we will get raped. However most importantly I will stop talking about the rights of women when men finally understand that there is no excuse such as “she asked for it”.

“Slut” is attacking women’s right to say yes and “friend zone” is attacking women’s right to say no.  Women are not toys that are made to be played with, we are human and we are equal. I’m sick of women being treated and talked about like meat, it is 2014 and this needs to change.

We need to create a future where women can dress as they like and can express their right to say no and most importantly live without fear.

Equality matters.


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