Awesome Tresna’s Burning Question: “What the hell is it with everyone trying to scare people with vaginas out of going places alone?? I don’t even like to tell anyone where I’m going or what I’m doing any more because I know I’m going to be subjected to this onslaught of negativity about all the dangers that are lurking out in the world just waiting for me to wander by. How come people with penises don’t get reminded about all the dangers that are lurking in the bushes waiting for them?? Most importantly, why does it feel so fucking awful when these people try to warn me about all these dangers that I’m going to be in if I go do what I want? Also, why isn’t my spell-check recognizing the word “vaginas?” You got a problem with the plural form of vagina, spell-check??”
Thank you for your awesome question. It’s a big one. And extra points for making it entertaining (take note all you question askers! This is how it’s done, ha, ha. But no pressure…).
I read an article the other day about a transgendered woman who caused a major upset (ok, she offended one woman who happened to make a lot of noise about it) by using the women’s locker room at her gym. This sparked a discussion about whether or not transgendered people should use the restrooms and other facilities that correlate to their birth gender or could be free to choose. Many women, who were not coming from a place of hatred or prejudice (they were not attacking anyone, just stating how they felt), admitted that they would not feel safe being in the restroom (not the stall, just the room) with what they considered to be a “man”. Putting the issue of gender identity aside (that’s a whole different post), I found it interesting that the idea of sharing space with any person with a penis brought up so much fear and insecurity. Why, after all the strides we made with feminism, equality, and yes, gender identity, is this still even a thing? Why are we so threatened by the proverbial schlong and/or whom it’s attached to?
Another article I read told the story of someone (not the store) who had posted a sign on a shop’s restroom wall that any boy older than 6 must use the men’s facilities. This, understandably, sparked outrage by parents who didn’t feel safe letting their six year old go into the restroom alone. Again, this was interesting to me, because it wasn’t just the idea that this child might get scared or end up wreaking havoc with toilet paper and liquid soap. The fear that came up was that a man, some horrible dangerous pedophilic man, could harm their little boy. Because, obviously, predators are everywhere.
Women feel unsafe walking down the street, being in enclosed spaces with men they don’t know, letting their children play in the vicinity of men, leaving their children alone with men, being in the room with a male doctor without anyone else present, even sitting in a boardroom with men. And while I want to make it very, very clear that I in no way blame the victims, ever, I do think it’s time we get down to the root cause of our fear, take responsibility for our energy, and begin to manifest a different experience. It’s time to stop being so goddamned afraid.
What are we really afraid of?
When I ask that question of women, the first answer that generally comes is “I’m afraid of physical harm”. We are scared that men will beat us up or rape us. And while rape culture is definitely a thing, I don’t see it as the cause of our problems, but rather as a reflection of them. Men are bigger and stronger than we are. They can physically overpower us. When a man becomes aggressive and begins to scream, it’s scarier to us than when a woman reacts in the same way. The threat of physical danger is ever present. And, of course, the more we focus on it, the more present it becomes. The “evidence” that our fears are warranted are everywhere. Movies, TV shows and the media consistently remind us of just how vulnerable we are. What’s worse, they also tend to underscore the idea that this danger is simply a given, that we’re completely powerless to change it, and that the best we can do is to avoid it by dressing conservatively, never going anywhere alone, not going out at night, and essentially never trusting any man, ever. If a woman breaks these rules and dares to live her life the way she wants to and ends up being assaulted, it’s obviously, at least to some degree, her own fault. She should’ve known better. She shouldn’t have gotten drunk. She shouldn’t have been wearing a short dress. She shouldn’t have been out alone. She shouldn’t have trusted her friend of two years not to rape her. Even women who consider themselves feminists will often harbor this judgment to some degree.
Sure, they say, we shouldn’t have to be afraid, but the “truth” is that predators are everywhere and since we “know” this, we can’t be stupid about it. We have to be “realistic” (yes, I’m aware I’m using a lot of quotes. Deal with it.) Otherwise, we’re just asking for it. And this reality, this assumption of ever present danger, this idea that we are constantly surrounded by predators and that all men are potentially feral animals just waiting to go for our jugular, is what I take issue with.
Men are not predators
Men don’t do themselves any favors in this arena, either. Whenever a man makes a comment about a woman wearing a slutty outfit, or that she should be careful, or that what she was wearing or doing had any impact on her getting assaulted, he’s doing a HUGE disservice to his entire gender. Think about it: do we really want to perpetuate the idea that men are simple-minded creatures who are unable to control their urges and impulses? That they are always just a bloody steak, mini-skirt or chest pounding challenge away from being violent lunatics? And that the only way to mitigate the danger is for everyone to tip toe around them, doing their best not to provoke the always present beast within? And if this really is how we see men, then how the fuck do we allow them to be in charge of anything? Shouldn’t we be locking them all away somewhere on an island, where they can beat and assault and destroy each other, leaving us the hell alone? Why are these blood-thirsty creatures even allowed to roam free?
Our view of men in this society has become very, very dim. The more we excuse men for violent behavior, the more we make it about them being men, rather than simply about the individual, the more we dig into this fear inducing paradigm. We simply cannot accept the idea that men are dangerous as a given. It’s disrespectful to men and it harms women.
Men are not inherently predatory – not any more than women are, anyway. They are subject to their belief systems, just as women are, just as we all are. The men of the world who don’t harm women are not constantly suppressing the urge to lash out. They are not just barely controlling their violent tendencies. They are not just a breath away from beating someone to a pulp. The grand majority of men and women would never hurt a fly and never do. If our society was inherently violent, there would be a lot more of it than we currently experience.
Does gender actually have anything to do with it?
But don’t men and women have different belief systems in our culture? And doesn’t that shape our gender identities and reactions? Yes, and yes. Men, in general, have not been taught to feel as physically unsafe as women do. They do, however, feel more emotionally unsafe and this is what actually causes a lot of the lashing out. Whenever you suppress emotions, and the men in our culture have certainly been taught to do so, you’re going to have some kind of explosion, eventually. This is not a gender based issue, it’s an energy based one. Because men (again, in general), feel safer expressing themselves physically, and feel more secure in that form of expression, their blow ups will often come out as violence. Take any woman who feels safer expressing herself physically and she’ll release her pent up emotions the same way.
Violence and aggression are not inherent male traits. They are symptoms of an underlying belief system, a set of definitions and behavior rules that govern what it means to be a man or a woman (and that we have to be either one or the other). Of course, homosexuality, tansgenderism and androgyny are all challenging those definitions and forcing us to revisit what being a man, woman or other really means to us. They are giving us the opportunity to connect with people, not on the basis of their gender, but on an individual basis. The fact that you are a man or a woman or whatever, means nothing. Show me who you are, let me hear your words, let me view your actions, let me get to know YOU. We cannot know anything about someone based on their gender, culture or religion. And while the culture, race and gender we were born into certainly shaped our experience – they gave us a belief system to start off with, they in no way lock us into any kind of journey. We always have free will to be who we really are. In other words, if someone is being an asshole, it’s not because they’re black or white, or gay or straight, or male or female, or Christian or Muslim. It’s because they’re being triggered by something in their reality and they’ve been taught that aggression or bullying is the only way to keep themselves safe.
Making sweeping statements about “all men”, or “all women”, or “all anything”, just doesn’t fly anymore. We don’t all have the same energy; we’re each unique and must approach each other that way if we ever want to truly connect.
What are you attracting?
So, let’s not blame the men, and certainly not ALL men for our fear. Let’s not look at isolated incidents (no matter how many of them there are) and use them to make sweeping judgements about an entire gender (or religion or race or whatever). And, most importantly, let’s not forget that everything always, ALWAYS comes down to our vibration. We are in a holographic reality and our manifestations are simply mirrors to our energy. That includes the good, the bad and the ugly.
When we see men as inherently dangerous, when we see anything as inherently dangerous, we are giving away all of our power. We are saying “bad stuff happens and there’s nothing I can do about it.” We are disregarding the control over our reality that we actually have. Do violent people exist? Yes. Are there men out there who will rape and murder? Yes. Of course, there are women who will do that, too. But, the fact remains that those people cannot come into your reality unless they are a match to you. This can be very hard to hear for people, especially if they have been assaulted. It can sound like victim blaming, which couldn’t be further from what I’m saying. And no, I’m not coming at this from a theoretical point of view.
I’ve experienced violence at the hands of men, both physical and emotional. I’ve been sexually assaulted. I used to feel terrified walking down the street at night. I’ve experienced sexism and prejudice. I’ve hit the glass ceiling, hard, several times. And what’s more, I know gobs of women who have had the same types of experiences. So, I know exactly what it feels like to be utterly powerless. I know exactly what it looks like when you manifest piles and piles of evidence to support that powerlessness. I used to be a freaking master at it.
And yet, I can tell you that in hindsight, it’s incredibly clear to me that all those ugly experiences were mirrors of my fearful, powerless vibration. I did not feel safe and therefore I wasn’t. It wasn’t the other way around. How do I know? Well, as soon as I began to shift my vibration, the “danger” went away. I didn’t learn martial arts; I didn’t start travelling with a body guard; I didn’t get a gun. I didn’t put the emphasis on protecting myself from the danger that was “obviously” there. I began to focus on how safe the world is, on safe I was. I began to look at people, particularly men, differently. I connected with the best part of people, instead of the worst part. And my reality changed.
Men respected me, were kind to me, supported me and stood up for me (when I no longer needed them to). They showed me their warm and gooshy center, the part of themselves that they often protect at all costs. I realized that they are just as afraid of us as we are of them, just for different reasons. I saw how disconnected we all are, and yet how desperately we want that to change. I flowed love and compassion towards them, seeing how this horrific, animalistic view of the “dangerous man” was harming them even more than it was us. I saw how this view kept them emotionally isolated, how it demeaned them (and women, as well), and the powerlessness that this was reflecting back to them. I saw how we were using this shield, this definition of what it is to be a man, to keep us from truly seeing who they were on an individual basis. And I saw their yearning, their desire to be seen, to connect, to be given permission to relax and just be themselves. Very few men in our society feel that freedom. They are just as much in prison as we women are.
Don’t buy into other people’s fears
As you change your view of men, yourself and the world in general, you’re going to go through a time of instability. You’ll be moving out of one belief system to another, and any fears you still have will manifest, often in the form of other people warning you of the dangers they still assume are just a given. They’ll bring you stories and examples of how hostile the world is, and will, in an attempt to keep you safe and make themselves feel better, advise you to protect yourself at all costs. Even if it means not doing something you really want to do. It’s better to be safe than happy. And this belief system makes sense, if you buy into the idea that random, negative manifestations can and simply will happen, with no correlation to anything you can control.
If, however, you want to take the more empowered view that your reality is a holographic mirror of your own vibration, then this idea of safety over happiness no longer holds water. If the danger is not simply a given, and isn’t random, if it must be invited in in some way, then you begin to shift the belief systems (that you were not previously aware of) which invite it in, and begin to attract awesomeness instead.
So, when your family and friends begin to bombard you with stories of danger and protection, you’re simply manifesting an opportunity to choose love over fear. You can buy into these stories, or you can decide to shift your perspective and sit with it until it feels comfortable (you have to actually feel it. Simply chanting – “I’m safe, I’m safe, I’m safe” when you don’t feel safe won’t work.
A few words about catcalling
There’s been a lot of attention in the media lately on women being catcalled on the street. Most, if not all, of this attention has been focused on the idea that we have to teach men not to do that, often from a “men are so disgusting, and we have to teach them to control themselves” point of view. This very much buys into the damaging paradigm of men being raving animals which I described earlier. Of course it’s valuable to dissect why men are behaving this way, what is making them lash out at women they don’t even know on the street, but from the women’s point of view, the experience they are having, the way it feels to them, is their manifestation. The catcalling men are simply serving as a mirror.
Why do men catcall? This behavior can have several different causes. In general, it’s because they don’t feel emotionally safe. It’s because they feel powerless in some way, and this display of chest pounding and intimidation is a way for them to get their power back. Remember, men are just as afraid of women as women are of men, just in different ways. Men want to be accepted by women, want to be validated by them, want to feel that they are valuable, too, and deeply and often desperately want to connect. And when they can’t, for whatever reason (limiting beliefs), they often blame women (just as we blame men).
When I first moved to San Francisco at 19 years old, I had a lot of experiences with being catcalled. If I walked by a construction site, I got to listen to wolf whistles and all kinds of statements about what various men would like to do to me. Men on the street would yell out random crap. And it used to scare the bejeezus out of me. I’d put my head down, shove my hands in my pockets, and would walk faster attempting to escape the torture. I’d often end up shaking and terrified that one of them would come after me. And then, one day, something amazing happened. I was walking with a friend (who happened to look like a model), and we passed a construction site. The suggestions and “compliments” came quick and fast and LOUD. But instead of running away, my friend stopped. I was horrified, but stopped with her. I was physically afraid, and if there hadn’t been a fence between us and them, I would’ve never been able to tolerate sticking around. My friend began to ask the men (admittedly, in a confrontational manner) if they spoke to their mothers, sisters and girlfriends that way. How would they feel if someone did? And that’s when I saw something that I had never expected to see: these men were afraid.
Where I had expected there to be aggression, hatred and power-mongering, I saw little, damaged boys, doing their best to seem strong. I saw shame and guilt and insecurity. And fear. Loads of fear. It stunned me. These big, strong men who had seemed so threatening, were actually just as scared of me as I was of them. They mitigated that fear by catcalling, a form of “You don’t threaten me!!”, shouted from a safe distance. That incident changed everything. I began the journey of looking at men differently, of shifting my perspective, and started giving them the benefit of the doubt. It had never even occurred to me before that day that men had these emotions, too. I hadn’t been looking at them as human or equals, really. And of course, my manifestations had to mirror that view back to me. As soon as I began to change my energy, I began to attract a very different kind of man.
Mind you, this took a while (I did not know then what I know now). There were still plenty of assholes in my reality for several more years to come, but the physical threat went away, for the most part. Once I learned how to set boundaries successfully, it went away completely. For example, when I first moved to Barcelona, I had two incidents where men followed me on the street at night. The first time it happened, I panicked and ducked into a bar. It took me half an hour to stop shaking. There had been three men and they were making threatening noises, clearly enjoying the fact that they scared me. The second time it happened, I was coming from a party in the middle of the night and was walking towards a taxi stand. A man began to follow me making “Psssst! Pssst!” noises behind me. I finally got mad, turned around and yelled “I can hear you, I’m just ignoring you!” And wouldn’t you know it, he mumbled “I know…”, and slinked away. I had taken back my power, unwilling to run from my fear. I’d stood up for myself. That was the last time I ever felt threatened in that way. I hadn’t beaten him up, I hadn’t even cursed him out. I simply said the equivalent of “I see you. I’m aware of you. And I’m not afraid of you.” This acknowledgement was enough to brake though his false bravado.
So, what should women do?
There’s no one technique that will solve this issue for all women (or men), since everyone is an individual. But in general, we can all make a start by refusing to continue to see men as raving animals who have no responsibility for their actions or reactions. We can honor them as individuals, most of whom are a lot more benevolent than we’ve given them credit for. We can focus on their kindness, compassion, love, desire to connect, and vulnerability. We can embody that same kindness and compassion when it comes to how we interact with others.
We can also remind ourselves regularly that our reality is a mirror of our vibration. This means that you have to pay attention to how you feel. If you feel apprehensive about going into that dark alley alone, don’t. It doesn’t matter if your apprehension is a sign of danger (as a warning), or if it’s fear (which will then manifest, too). Don’t do something that you already feel badly about. I used to have someone walk me to a cab when I was out at night. I recognized that I didn’t feel safe and this was how I mitigated it. It’s not wrong to take such action, but understand that you’re taking it in order to feel better, not to protect yourself from the sure to be there danger.
If locking your doors and windows at night makes you feel better, do so. If parking in a well-lit garage rather than an alley makes you feel safer, great. If taking a Krav Maga class gives you a feeling of comfort, yay. None of these actions are “wrong” or “bad”, as long as you approach them from the perspective that their sole purpose is to help you feel safer, NOT to protect you. Your focus must be on feeling safer, not on the danger you’re trying to get away from.
This is also how you gauge whether or not a situation calls for you to stand up for yourself. Does the idea of it terrify you (for example, I was far too scared to stand up to the three men who followed me), or does it scare you a little but also make you feel exhilarated and empowered? Are you acting from a place of anger (which is empowering) or fear? Are you aware of your emotions and reacting deliberately? Are you truly setting a boundary or just trying to control the other person? Is whatever you’re doing actually making you feel better?
The world is not a hostile place. The world is a fearful place and that fear will manifest as hostility. The dynamic that’s currently coming to light more than ever before, the idea that men are a danger to women and women are somehow inherently more unsafe than men is based on a false belief system; one that needs to die already. We can take our power back. The men never took it. We gave it to them and we’re continuously giving it to them, while simultaneously harboring the belief that they aren’t worthy of it. Let’s stop looking at men as feral animals who can’t help themselves but do damage, and begin to connect with each other individually and authentically. Let’s acknowledge that we’re all afraid, and soothe that fear for everyone, starting with ourselves. Let’s also stand up for ourselves, not in an attempt to control anyone else, but just to give voice to how we feel. Let’s give men permission to do the same. Let’s stop defining ourselves so rigidly by what it means to be a man or a woman, and instead ask ourselves, “what does it mean to be human?” and “what kind of human do I want to be?”
It’s time to let go of the fear. It’s time to let go of the anger and rage and resentment. It’s time to uncross our arms, take down the barricades, and stride into the future arm in arm, not as adversaries, and not as homogenous globs of agreement, but as individuals coming together to connect in authentic ways. It’s time to accept each other and look at each other not through the eyes of fear, but through the eyes of love. It’s time. Are you up for it?
Question about the Bullshit Fairy: Is what the Fairy says a bunch of bullshit or does she bring up bullshit topics. I’m guessing the latter, but I may be wrong. A good bullshitter always leaves one guessing! As far as the bullshit topic is concerned, I think that too many people are just waiting to be insulted or offended so they can use their own version of Gestapo tactics to shape others into their mold of approval. So what if someone says something which you may find offensive? The fact that so many people today are thin-skinned, out-of-shape, unproductive slackers is offensive to me, but you won’t see me crying about it!
Brilliant, brilliant post, Melody!!! Amazing job you have done in tackling your own and beginning to tackle the remaining mankind’s beliefs! 🙂
Hugs from Moldova 🙂
Every thing is cool.
When the I you are referring to does not exist…
William Wallace agrees with me also…
How fast does the earth travel , well that is how much energy now is traveling into the bunny hole. See what you started.
I think we better talk.
You are so amazing ! To create all of the following people
including yourself.! It take an energy to do this kind of thing.
If you think I am wrong. You my dear, better give It another
I am feeling so much energy coming from you now.! Wow…
Hey, Melody! Thanks for this post! After I sent you this question I totally stopped even paying attention to any of my issues on the subject because I felt helpless to change them. And then recently I started looking again at why I felt so anxious when I thought about going out in the world on my own and doing what I want, and I realized that I just have these really deep seeded beliefs that I cannot take care of myself and that I’m going to be harmed or killed. Anyways, the conclusion I came to was that I was actually subconsciously trying to gather evidence to justify not doing what I really want to do. Because, I truly believed all these awful things were going to happen to me! So its not like my subconscious is just gonna sit by and allow me to wander into a disaster scenario! Anyways, manifesting all these gender issues and the people trying to convince me that I’m going to die or whatevs, was all in an effort to give myself no option but to stay in this place where I’m not happy, but I’m also not dead or raped.
To add a litte….I never bought into this men/women thing. To me everybody is a human being first. You can’t talk about that with a lot of people. Most have to join a side and want to be defined by what it stands for, no matter if it is being a man, woman, transexual, member of the golf club, angling club, car club, this religion, that religion etc. Never made sense to me. We are all individuals and should not throw others on heap according to their chromosomes, looks or whatever. Bless you!
Exactly!!!! Enough with grouping people into all these predefined boxes, let’s see each other as INDIVIDUALS.
The picture here is…
Are we men or are we women !
I feel like Mel Gibson in Brave Heart.
Believe his last words were Freee domm!
I know away off !
Just want to get all of your vibes on track !
Thanks Melody for listening.
before we talk about unsafe, lets define what safe means first.
what does “safe” mean to women?
what would it take for a woman to feel safe?
can a woman can truly feel safe, ever (even in her own home)?
once we dig a little deeper, it’s a different picture.
it’s not really about the men.
Society is twerkin on mah last nerve.
When I was in college someone was raped by 5 guys. She tried to report to the local police ( Bathurst, nsw australia) but the head cop would not accept the report. She was at college and ALL college girls are sluts… And you can’t rape a slut.
As a student at the college at the time I still remember the feeling of humiliation of when I learnt about what had happened. Scared cause I sort of knew the guys, scared to realise that by trying to get an education I had somehow accidentally become a slut and could therefore be justifiable raped if I went to the bar and talked with guys.
A LOT of people are negatively triggered by women expressing their sexuality in the same way that men can. They’re offended, outraged, shocked, and believe that it’s just more evidence that the world/this generation/whatever is morally bankrupt. I personally think these beliefs, and hopefully victim blaming as well, will be gone in a couple more generations. Each generation is more sex-postitive, more equality minded than the last, and I really don’t think these negative beliefs around sex will hold up for much longer 🙂
Very true Natalie! I like to read history, and one of the ways I’ve found that it helps my LOA practice is by making it so clear that there really is a long, slow, but consistent evolution away from hating and fearing women and female sexuality – and sexuality in general! It also seems to me that the pace of change is speeding up: for all that you periodically see people having panic about “teens sexting teens! let’s put them in jail for sex crimes”, you also increasingly (I think) see people calling this stuff out and asking for different attitudes. I imagine that by the time our current crop of very young people who are exploring their nascent sexuality are of an age to be, say, national politicians, you’ll see a big cultural shift to accommodate the fact that many of these respectable middle-aged people shared nude photos of themselves when they were young. So maybe what was once worthy of a scandal will, within a couple of decades, become kind of “eh”. Sort of like how, in the US, we’ve seen an evolution in how political candidates respond to “have you ever smoked weed”? Eventually, things are less of a big deal.
And you think it would be different for the men?
lets say the victim was a male and he was tied up and raped by 5 women.
if he reports it to the police, do you know what they will do to him? they will ignore him. If he keeps complaining, they will lock him up to shut him up.
now if he insisted and bring the case before a judge, the women would say he kidnapped and raped them then lied about it.
The judge would side with them.
He will rot in prison.
and while rotting in prison, he will be harassed by other inmates.
Thank you for this post Melody, this is one of my favorite that you’ve written. Such an important topic.
I live in a big city, and street harassment used to be a big source of stress and bitterness for me. About a year ago, I began an experiment where each time I got on the bus, I tried to consciously notice when people treated me the way I *wanted* to be treated, being civil, giving me space. It was very eye-opening! And humbling. One of my first big-time experiences of the law of attraction at work. Since then it’s a rarity that anyone bothers me. The relief is tremendous.
Recently a woman was murdered randomly in a Melbourne park in daylight. Australia was shocked. The police Man said women should not walk alone in parks. (Victim was doing something “wrong”.) but here’s the thing. The man who stabbed her… What was HE doing in the park? He was out on bail for a shitload of offences. Why was HE allowed to roam the streets and parks?
Also, when I first had this “news” enter my reality (I don’t have a TV and don’t read MSM, but this one still found me, ) when I first heard this report, I was waiting for the “what was she wearing” comment – because it is OK to murder women when they are wearing clothes – or not-. (And murdered women can usually be accused of wearing something). Eventually it came – yep she was wearing …….. HEADPHONES!!!!
I loved this post so much and I really resonated with so much of it. Before I started on my world-travel journey with Ryan four years ago, I traveled alone all the time. Many people would ask me if I ever felt unsafe or would remark how as a woman they would never do that.
I honestly never felt unsafe anywhere I went and the fact I was a woman alone never really factored into my decisions. Obviously, I exercised the general common sense advice given to any traveler, but other than that, I just did my thing.
I totally agree about the view of men being kind of insulting and that there is some growing traction on that dimmer view of them as uncontrollable animals from whom we must ‘protect’ ourselves. I also agree that their behavior is a symptom of simply reflecting what they are taught is ‘manly’ and how a man is ‘supposed’ to act.
I think this post will be really helpful for a lot of people.
Pls. Sorry to go away then come back. Point is clear
here like Melody says. We absolutely draw in all of our
attentions we focus on, but the bigger is just about
to begin here. What if we are all the same but we do
know it yet. I am speaking in terms of other focuses
of your own being here. I know I am sounding far from
your believes here. But I promise to show you how to
realize who you truly are !
Love this topic… Just hit the spot…more to come !
Do not go away…
The key is to see each other as individuals, not as groups. Also, while we’re on the topic of feminism the word “slut” should be extinguished as well. A lot of really nasty beliefs are tied up with this one, including the attacking of female sexuality, double standard of expressing sexuality, and most dangerously the common belief that a “slut” is worth less than other human beings and therefore “deserves” to get raped, assaulted, catcalled etc.
Hi Melody, you are absolutely right. The way you feel about men is definitely what you attract from them.
As for safety, a couple of things happened years ago that made me realise that safety relates to the vibes you give off. I’ve never been afraid of men (I love them!) so when I was really young and got catcalled, it just irritated me rather than scaring me. As I got older I just took it as a compliment that they thought I was worth catcalling to and moved on! I was never bothered by men in that way. But one night I was with a friend who had a real issue with men, she was aggressively resentful towards them. We were walking in a dark street and some men started calling out to us in a drunken way. Even though I wasn’t afraid and just ignored them, she turned around and started aggressively abusing them, and then things became a problem and the energy turned dangerous until I got us out of it.
At around the same time I started taking martial arts for fun. The feeling after those classes was that I could take on anyone – and win! I almost wanted to try out my skills on someone if they bothered me. Needless to say that situation has never come up.
Such an interesting post!
I think that allowing yourself to actually feel anger about how you’re being treated is soooooo important in making these shifts. So, so many women have been talked into this place of fear (men are terrifying, the world is unsafe) and lack of power, and the only vibrational way out of that is to get mad. But so many women are taught very early that they are not allowed to feel/be angry, let alone express anger, let alone to a man. So it’s a very tidy trap many women don’t even realize they’re in. I think that trap leads to a lot of what we erroneously think of as the default communication problems for hetero couples – the woman nags, the man ignores, everybody is miserable. I think “nagging” is basically what happens to a human who has been taught that it’s unacceptable – unfeminine! – to express dissatisfaction directly. I’ve been untwisting this recently in my own brain and have been totally amazed to see how hard it currently is for me to just express displeasure in a straightforward way. To honor my own desires and just say “No, I don’t want to do that” – so many powerful beliefs I barely realize I have instead insist that I need to protect male egos, not rock the boat, keep sweet, help myself last, etc etc etc. It’s bananas!
IMO, the way women are policed into passivity, suppressing their anger, and being “sweet” is a huge vibrational cause of the disempowerment of women and ultimately a pillar supporting rape culture. So I am totally into seeing examples of women (or any oppressed group!) getting super pissed and demanding change. It’s not that I think that marching and posting on Twitter actually causes change, but I think it can be an action step for people who need action to allow themselves to shift their vibration. And particularly helpful if the person is vibrationally aware and so willing to shift out of anger when it has done its job.
Also, sidebar here, this whole thing made me think of Girl with a Dragon Tattoo, wherein (I don’t think this is really a spoiler, but look away now if desired) there’s a scene where someone asks someone in for a drink, and the invitee has all of the bad vibes and still says yes so as not to give offense, and then things do not go well and the bad vibes were justified. The scene involves men, but is the perfect metaphor of this stuff for me. Many women are so socialized to please others, to be pleasant and passive humans beautifying the streets, that it’s often hard for women to get to a place where they give weight to their own instincts. Many of us (I had this more when younger – now I’m approaching 40 and my fucks are wearing off) literally feel, even if we understand on an intellectual level that this is crazy, that it’s more important to not give offense or seem bitchy than to listen to our own instincts and refuse the “come in for a drink” offer made by someone who makes you feel uncomfortable.
I find that this kind of thinking is sometimes unsettling to me, because I realize how much stuff I do (because someone has to do it, and aren’t women often that someone?) that I am not actually willing to do, and then I think about how the world would look if women actually en masse felt full empowerment. Because I don’t think it would necessarily look exactly like this world, but with less cat-calling. I think it might look quite radical! So I get squirmy feelings I have to sit with as I work through my fears that by standing up for my own needs, somehow I might accidentally set the world on fire. (Maybe belief systems fight back when you try to shift to other belief systems?) This quote neatly encapsulates both my anxiety and the possibility for great change:
“What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open.”
-poet Muriel Rukeyser
For me – I don’t know if others share this, but I suspect this is somewhat common – part of the fear of female change is the fear that nobody will be soft and gentle and kind if I stop doing it. I read somewhere once that women have been “taught to absorb all the pain in a room”, which I think is true for many. Ironically, it seems to me that women are taught to believe both that they should fear men because they are stronger than women, and that they must protect men because they are so easily wounded.
(My thoughts may be all over the place in this comment. You know how it goes when you’re working something out!)
Thanks, Melody, very inspiring stuff!
Fantastic comment Cordy! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
I think you’re right – women think that standing up for ourselves means becoming aggressive and leaving our feminine traits behind. But there is nothing weak about the divine feminine (and there is nothing violent or oppressive about the divine masculine). We get to be women, girly, feminine, fun, soft, nurturing, loving AND strong. And so, of course, do men.
Interesting post. I actually had some little flare-ups of stress while reading it because it triggered memories of being bullied by men (more verbal than physical although I’ve experienced that too). Then I calmed down and reminded myself that I’m not that person anymore. I don’t attract that treatment anymore, and if I did I’d know how to counter it.
I DO happen to train in martial arts, but I didn’t start it because I was afraid of being attacked. I did it for other reasons, namely, to bring myself back from the brink of a very deep depression. Does it make me feel safer? Sure! More confident? Yes. Do I put it on a pedestal as the ONLY thing that keeps me safe? No. My safety comes from within, not my ability to kick someone’s ass.
I wonder if we will see changes in how children are taught (or un-taught) traditional gender roles and norms in future generations. Maybe one day there won’t be the assumption that all men are violent perpetrators who must be avoided and all women are helpless victims who must be sheltered at all costs (or are objects who can be harassed and assaulted at will). It’s a vicious cycle of hate and fear perpetuated by both sides.