Dear Society: Women Do Not Owe You Anything

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“Last summer while I was out for a run, a man yelled and waved at me from his porch. I had my earbuds in and my music on, but he was loud enough to stop me in my tracks. He looked upset, so my first thought was he was going to warn me about a bear ahead.

I quickly pulled my earbuds out and asked, ‘What’s up?’ He leaned forward in his chair looking quite annoyed, and said, ‘You run by my house all the time and you never say hello or even wave.’

Flustered, I said, ‘Oh. I’m sorry. Well, hello then.’ His expression changed and he said, ‘That wasn’t so hard, was it?’ and laughed.

This man was not in my viewpoint. He was set far back from the road. Though he’d watched me, I had never seen him back there. I waved and ran off.

I had a few kilometers left of my run to think through what had just happened, and by the time I got to my driveway, I was furious.

Here’s where some of you are going to think: ‘Oh, how silly. No harm done.’ Or maybe, ‘He’s probably just a lonely old guy. It can’t hurt to say hello!’

I challenge you to set aside those initial thoughts. I’m friendly by nature, I smile at people I pass and say a little ‘hello.’ I’ve thrown a ball back to a child, taken a photo for a couple, I’ve moved a turtle to safety, etc.

But what do I owe this man who is a complete stranger to me? If he’s lonely, is it up to me to entertain him? If he’s sad, is it on me to make him happy?

And If I were a man out for a run, would he have stopped me and spoken to me in the same angry manner?

I am a mother of five. I have very few moments in a day when someone isn’t demanding my attention.

These runs keep me sane. I lose myself in my music and thoughts. It’s as close as I ever come to meditation.

I was also working on my speed. Focused on taking seconds off my last run time. He stopped me from that. He believed his needs were more important than mine (a woman he doesn’t know but thought owed him something).

Well, that’s not new, is it? It’s not new. But it has to change.

How many times have I heard a man say, ‘Smile, sweetheart?’

How many times have I been polite to a man who was making me uneasy?

How many unwanted advances have I received?

How many times has a man acted nasty when I turned him down on an unwanted advance?

How many times have my ‘no’s’ been ignored?

How many times have I been violated?

Too f–king many.

These little things (the ones some will tell you are ‘silly’) become the big things.

The little things that we’ve been socially conditioned to respond to ever-so-sweetly, that we are often too nice to challenge, become the big things we can no longer ignore.

Women do not exist to please men.

Woman on run stands on side of road and takes a selfie
Courtesy of Right Brained Mom

Update: I’m also adding a photo of one of the many comments I have received on this post. It’s a great example of how some men behave when a woman acts differently than they think she should (his words are a validation of the topic of the post).

hate comment left by man on facebook post of woman explaining that she does not exist for men
Courtesy of Right Brained Mom


Update #2: Since sharing my thoughts on the topic with the public, I’ve been called every name in the book in the last 24 hours.

I’ve been called a Princess, a c–t, a spoiled brat, a b—h, a drama queen, and a sl-t. All of this is nicely tucked in between comments suggesting I be nicer, sweeter, kinder, and more ladylike. I’ve been called the antichrist and a horrible neighbor.

I’ve been told I shouldn’t be a mother. That my children should be removed. I could go on and on.

What an eye-opening response to my post and such a strong validation these things really do need to be talked about.

I’m going to keep on smashing. My daughters deserve better.”

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Right Brained Mom. You can follow their journey on Facebook. Join the Love What Matters family and subscribe to our newsletter.

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