Stronger Than I Look

“This isn’t a bra,

it’s body armor.

And this isn’t make-up,

it’s war paint. – Iliza Schlesinger

 

“I don’t see your husband here.”

“You were asking for it in those leather leggings.”

“I would totally date you if I wasn’t married”

“Your husband is a lucky guy.”

“It doesn’t matter that you’re married.”

“Do you ever think of leaving him?”

No exaggeration. These were all comments said to me from random guys in the past year. For girls, we still haven’t gotten used to comments like this. Especially being in our 20’s now. Boys, you should still read this blog to have a little more understanding about the daily life of 20 year old girls. I’m married and I don’t know if the comments have gotten any better. I have a few real scenarios that are based on what has happened to me in my 20’s:

  1. You leave the bar where you were grabbing drinks with your friends. You have to cross the room by yourself and head to your car because your friends are still having a good time. Your car is parked across the street just a few blocks down. Is this a big deal to you? Probably not, for a guy. For a girl, I have to somehow manage to get to the door by myself without some dude approaching me because he sees a girl by herself for a brief moment. I have my purse and have to now walk by myself, in the dark, to my car… this is absolutely terrifying. I am walking quickly, but not too quickly to make me look too anxious (don’t want to look like easy prey). On my way to the car, I check behind me multiple times to make sure no one is following me. I am also mentally preparing if that weird looking man with a red hat who’s walking towards me tries to attack me. I haven’t learned self-defense because I have a busy life and probably should have learned this but I’m 25 and can only attempt moves I have seen on TV. *Exhales deeply* Because I made it to my car. I immediately lock my doors and drive home.
  2. You work at a job that is mainly all women. There are a few men who work in your field, but not many. You talk to them just like you would with your women co-workers. You talk about work, being tired, and how you’re already ready for the weekend. One man starts to chat with you more and more. Small talk. He hangs out in your office at the end of one day talking about how his day went and asking about yours. No big deal right? You’re just having a conversation with another human. Suddenly, he begins bringing up personal things about his life. Your guard immediately goes up because this is turning into something that is more than what regular co-workers talk about. He then asks about your marriage. *Nervous breathing* You tell him you are happily married and while you’re telling him this you can see his eyes are no longer staying focused on your eyes, but going elsewhere than back up to you. Then he says a comment that hits you like a ton bricks, “If you weren’t married and I wasn’t married – I would totally date you.” *What? Why is he saying this? Why does he assume he would “date me”?* Now, you realize you’re alone in a room with this man and need to make your quick escape without it being too sudden. I don’t know what he is capable of or is expecting from this weird conversation. *Exhales deeply* You made it to your car and you drive home.
  3. You are out having fun at a bar with your husband. It’s a friend’s birthday and you’ve really been wanting to wear your leather leggings and a new tank-top so you’re rocking it this night. The birthday is mix of girls and boys. You’re sitting with your husband and another girl when 2 guys approach. They start talking to you asking what you do for a living, what school did you go to, etc. You’re having a good conversation. Your husband is off talking to another group of people while you’re remaining independent talking to a different group. We’re in a new state. We want to work on making friends separate and together. Suddenly, one of the guys from earlier starts rubbing his hand on your lower back as you’re sitting talking to a new girl friend. *Whispers to girl friend that he is rubbing your back and you are going to get up an leave* You’re in shock. You don’t know what just happened or why. You weren’t even talking to this guy. In fact, your back was turned to him while you talking with some girls. A few minutes later, this same guy tells your husband that he is going to “take you home tonight”. Husband tells him, “I can guarantee you won’t be taking her home. Because I am. She’s my wife.” Love my husband for this! You try to continue having a fun night despite the weird guy, but the night just keeps getting worse. You’re starting to regret wearing your leather leggings because apparently you have a sign that says, “Creepy guys, who don’t care that I’m married, please approach me!”

*Some girls aren’t so lucky to have experiences like these. Some girls have had way worse things said or done to them. I am in no way comparing these to those.

The point is that, I can only speak as a 25 year old woman who is married, that we still live in a world where some men think they have the power to do these things. They think it’s okay to say comments like this, touch your back when you didn’t ask them to, grab your butt “accidentally” when you’re trying to get through a crowded room, and find you being married just another challenge. I can literally be standing next to my husband at a bar and guys will be “checking me out” from across the room or will even approach me. Here’s a little hint to guys – stop the creepy way you look a girl up and down when they’re talking or from across the room. It is super creepy and just feels like I’m on display. Maybe that’s just me. We all have the freedom to look wherever we want, but I hate the feeling it gives me when a guy does this. Anyone else? The worst is when you are literally being nice to a guy for 2 seconds and while you’re talking he is just looking at your lips then down your body then back up to your face. What makes you think that that’s not obvious?

I know some men would respond this by saying things like, “Well, then don’t wear leather leggings”, “Don’t talk to guys by yourself”, “Don’t go to bars”, or “Don’t be nice to random guys.” So basically, don’t be a normal human. I can literally smile to a guy while pointing directions to the bathroom and he immediately thinks he can take me home that night. It’s just not okay. With what is going on in the country and what we continue hearing about in the news involving this subject just sucks. Because there’s never immediate changes being made. I’m a big football fan! I love watching football, but it can feel wrong to watch when there are so many times a player was caught abusing a woman, but still gets to play a sport for a living and make way more money than me. A teacher. A person who changes the lives of young people every day. It disgusts me that it will make BIG NEWS and yet this man is back on the field the next game or in a few games.

I know that the world isn’t perfect. I know there are many systems still messed up today. Women still don’t get equal pay and we’re in 2017? What is that!? I know that this is a reality that women have to live with still. But why? Why do we just treat it as a norm? Seriously, I was telling my husband about how I feel I’m treated as a woman and I literally said, “It’s just the way it is. It’s normal for me.” That is not okay! I should not be “okay” with this. No girl should. No matter what age. Whether your married or single. We should not be okay with this. I can’t imagine having to explain any of this to my future daughter. I won’t know what to say if she asks, “Why does this happen still?”

The truth is, I don’t know why. Women are strong. We are tough. But we are sensitive. We can be naive. We aren’t physically stronger than most men. But we’re smart. We are smarter than we look. I know some girls can give us a bad name because they sadly grow up in a world where they think it’s okay to be abused by men. But that’s not their fault. It’s the world we’ve been living in. “He’s teasing you and being mean to you because he likes you.” – Remember being told this at a young age. It may have been your parents, your sibling, a friend, or even a teacher. But every girl was told this at some point in your life and we believed them. I believed it so much I chose crappy guys as boyfriends in high school. I gave zero attention to the actual nice, normal guys. I was taught that “bad boys” were fun to date and that I could change them into “good boys.” And I was wrong. By the time I started college, I luckily learned that I deserve better. I shouldn’t let boys treat me wrong and if they do, I need to walk away. Some girls don’t come to this realization and are still dating boys who treat them wrong in their 20’s. I guess I was lucky to go through the bad experiences that I did in high school. I wasn’t strong then. I didn’t know how to just walk away. I met my wonderful husband my first week of college, and I still sometimes don’t feel I deserved him. He is a genuine man. He is a true follower of Christ. He has made me a better person since the day I met him. He would move heaven and earth for me. He makes me stronger. But I’ve also become stronger because I wanted to. I chose to know how much I deserved. I chose to not let guys treat me poorly. I chose to speak up. I chose to walk away.

Girls, it’s a tough world. I am definitely not the spokesperson for women, but I am trying to be the strong woman I know I am every day. Some days are harder than others, because no matter how much you tell yourself how strong you are, there will still be those days that a man says something inappropriate or hurtful to you. But when we have daughters, what do we want to teach them? How can we change the world before they have to see the world like we have? Is it even possible to change it?

Here are some positive changes that I’ve seen:

  • Girls are being taught that they can be whatever they want to be.
  • Teachers are starting clubs and programs where girls can practice being engineers.
  • Remember that “Women’s March” a couple of months ago? Remember that there was absolutely zero violence and zero trouble with the police?
  • Wonder Woman! Our generation finally got a superhero movie with a woman and the movie broke records!
  • There are so many programs helping girls be strong and kind.
  • Boy Scouts are apparently going to start allowing girls join.
  • We did almost have a woman president! I mean despite who she may be to some people, that’s still a big accomplishment.
  • The fashion industry is celebrating all body shapes. Being skinny isn’t what “makes you beautiful” anymore.

Girls, I also strongly suggest watching Iliza Schlesinger on Netflix. She makes fun of girls wanting to be mermaids, jokes about how we lose things in our purses, and the differences between men and women. She’s one of the best girl comedians, in my opinion. Here’s a clip from one of her older stand-ups:

I know this week’s blog is a little heavy, but I like to write about very real things to me. I am in no way trying to be a spokesperson for women. I know that there are unfair things that happen to guys too. I also know that there are worse things in the world, but it’s a topic that is very important to me.

Hope you enjoy reading (and watching) my blog this week! Feel free to share!

 

xoxo,

Tori

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