The Danger of Being Female in a Sexist World

By Kea Yoshinaka, TIWP Student

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

Recently, I’ve become strikingly aware of the fact that men really aren’t scared of much. Yeah, they get scared in the dark sometimes, or they don’t like being in deep water. Stupid things like that. But few I’ve met feel any sort of existential dread. Few I’ve met feel any sort of questioning of their possibly mundane futures. But more importantly, these men are not scared of each other. They don’t shiver when they see a man gazing at them across the street. They don’t get paranoid after a man follows them for a block or two, just to turn his own direction and be on his way. They don’t have to lock their cars as soon as they get in. They don’t know about the zip ties that sex traffickers put on the bottom of cars. This makes me angry. Why do they not have to worry when, as a 16 year old girl, I can barely look a grown man in the eye? They could run around butt naked and people would laugh, but I walk into the kitchen in pajamas at 10AM and am told to go back to my room and “put some clothes on.” Excuse my French, but WTF? They designed this pervy system, and yet they feel no regret? No fear? Where is our karma? I don’t want anyone hurt but, for once, I want to see a man get nervous talking to another man.

Women are not weak. We do not fear men for their strength. We fear them for their weakness. We fear them for the same reasons that our parents make us come home by dark. We fear them for the same reason that we are handed our first set of keys alongside a can of pepper spray, and the same reason that under no circumstance should we leave our drink unattended at a party. Congratulations men, you have scared us. But you have not broken us. We will fight back, and we will win. And all of you that have told us that sexism isn’t real anymore; I selfishly hope you experience the worst of it. That is all.

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