In light of the recent sexual assault victims bravely coming forth with their traumas, I have a little something for you men, who haven’t physically assaulted a woman but daily harass with your unwanted “compliments” or looks. 

I am a woman

The strongest being that withstands much more than any man could ever comprehend.  

On a daily basis. 

And my struggles are not imagined but rather imposed by a society that attempts to fit, in the newsstands, a variety of body shapes into one prototype:

a 26-inch size waist, voluptuous breasts and bums, with hair iridescently shiny. 

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And what about the rest of us? 

When we are constantly pressured to believe these standards are the wanted ones and our bodies are the wrong puzzle pieces. 

How do we love ourselves then? 

Many of us have managed to slowly remove the gangrenous roots out of our pretty little heads, 

to begin accepting what a unique genetic composition we are.  

To go against all beauty lessons we were taught.

And it isn’t easy, there are fallbacks

There are moments where a slight frigid comment regresses our progress to our brainwashed state of mind.  

But for the sake of time, let’s say we’ve moved on. And we love ourselves for who we are. 

Who we are. 

Tall, short, round, square, triangular, green, scaly, or fluorescent. 

We dress however we want because style is a form of self-expression. 

Because one day, a low cut blouse is what matches our pants. 

Because one day, a mini skirt is what happens to be the latest trend. 

Or because we simply decide to not wear a single thread of fabric. 

Me, me, me. 

Not you. 

I don’t dress pretty for you, sorry to break the news. 

I don’t flaunt my curves or lack thereof, for you. 

My burka or bikini is not an invitation for your preying eyes or lewd words. 

I don’t do anything for you. 

So why do you cat call me? 

Why do you demean me for expressing myself? 

You may have been taught that a wolf whistle or a comment on my being is seen as a flattering remark. 

You may have been taught that your words are a praise, that they are received with gratitude and that I need to be reminded of how attractive I may be. 

And if you’re honestly unaware, let me tell you as gently as possible. 

You are wrong. 

Stop making me feel like a piece of meat when I walk just a block down my street to buy a loaf of bread. 

Stop ogling at me, eating me alive with your hungry eyes, disrobing me without touching me. 

Stop telling me to smile for your viewing pleasure. 

And definitely, stop blaming me or my clothes for your primitive impulses. 

Do I have a right to be upset? Yes. 

Am I menstruating? No. 

Stop. Harassing. Me. 

Understand that “no” means no. No matter how coy or flirtatious it may sound, my coquettishness is not an invitation for your sexual advances. 

Respect me. Respect me for the great and tough human that I am. 

Judge me by my thoughts, by my morals, and what I have to say. 

Give me and all the women in your life a shred of respect.  

Your friend, your sister, your wife, your mother, your daughter.  

Respect them. 

Respect. Us. 

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Sara Meadows, “GIRLS UNITE”

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