Last September, XOJane published an article titled “Stop Saying ‘I Have a Boyfriend’ To Deflect Unwanted Attention” that’s been making the rounds again this week.
To quote the article (and sum it up nicely):
The idea that a woman should only be left alone if she is “taken” or “spoken for” (terms that make my brain twitch) completely removes the level of respect that should be expected toward that woman.”
And I fully agree. We should all demand the agency and the appearance of agency to make our own decisions about how we will and will not engage with our fellow human beings, regardless of relationship status, sexuality interests, etc. It should be a baseline that we never have to resort to some kind of ownership excuse in order to preserve our autonomy. That is some twisted logic, right there.
But here’s my problem:
Why is it my job to teach an object lesson in feminism to people that I really just want to leave me alone? I’m not saying that every man who enters the five foot radius I consider my bubble is a “creeper” who I do not want to engage at all. (I am saying that there are total creepers out there, though.) I’m saying that if other people don’t want to listen, why is it my responsibility to give a lecture on the harmful side effects of the patriarchy?
Is it because I’m a woman? Dammit, all the bad stuff happens “because I’m a woman.”
Look, people have multiple opportunities to learn about things for themselves. There is a whole world out there of, “I belong to no one but myself.” And, hey, if I’m having that conversation with someone, even a perfect stranger, over a drink, I’m perfectly willing to point out that my relationship status is irrelevant to my sexual interest in another person. (I mean, besides concerns of monogamy, etc.) But in a loud bar, when someone is invading my space and touching parts of me that I don’t even feel comfortable touching in public, and that person doesn’t seem to be getting the “not interested” or “go away” message?
Nope. Not above yelling “I have a boyfriend” or pointing to my (unmarried) third finger. My feeling of safety will always come before my commitment to ending -isms. Always. I am unapologetic about that. In many ways, I am comfortable with being a terrible feminist.
And if that doesn’t work, an elbow to the stomach with a look of, “Oops, sorry! Really into dancing!” works. Especially if you do it twice.