“I would rather everybody in the world think I’m a shrill bitch who can’t get along with others than spend one more second of my time with somebody I don’t know feeling so entitled to my time, space, body, or smile that they think it’s okay to yell in my face, to touch me, to follow me around a bar or concert, or to occupy any of my mental or physical space.”—
Sara Luckey, I Don’t Owe You a Smile or My Time
Tell me, why are we teaching women how to avoid rape when we should be more concerned with making sure that men don’t rape?
“Do this for me: spend one day—just one day—keeping yourself ready for rape at all times. When you walk out the door, look around for strangers. If you see someone who looks iffy, cross the street, even if it takes longer. Keep your keys pressed through your fingers if you walk alone at night. Look all around you every few seconds. You passed some guy walking down the street? Turn around to make sure he’s not running up to attack you but look fucking nonchalant about it you don’t want to cause a scene.”
Nice Guy Syndrome and the Friend Zone
I’m pretty sure everyone knows at least one “Nice Guy”. You know, those guys who think women only want to date assholes and just want be friends with the nice guys. These guys are plagued with what we call Nice Guy Syndrome.
Jeff Fecke of Shakesville.com explained Nice Guy Syndrome well here:
A Nice Guy® is a guy who tells you, in a bitter, resentful tone, that women don’t date “nice guys,” they only date “bad boys,” and because he’s “too nice,” women only view him as a friend.
Um… that doesn’t sound very nice.
One big thing I hate about Nice Guys is their implication that women who don’t want to date them, for whatever reason, are bitches, sluts, ugly, or whatever other nasty insult they can come up with. But the thing I hate most? The Friend Zone.
The Friend Zone is a bullshit, misogynistic, make-believe land Nice Guys have come up with to demonize women for not wanting to date them. They use it as an excuse to ignore the fact that there are Actual Reasons behind their decision to not pursue a relationship or have sex with this guy. You know, like not being physically attracted to them. Or not being able to connect with them. Or seeing through their crap and realizing that the only reason these guys are even friends with them in the first place is so they can get laid.
It’s honestly one of the biggest loads of crap I’ve ever heard. Nice Guys are arrogant, egotistical, selfish douche bags who run around telling the world about how they’re the perfect boyfriend and they’re just so nice. But you know what? If these guys were genuinely nice, they wouldn’t be saying things like “the bitch stuck me in the friend zone because she only likes assholes.” Guess what? If she actually only liked assholes, then she would likely be super attracted to you because you are one.
Honestly. Is it really that unbearable to be friends with a person? Women don’t only exist to date or have sex with you. We are living, thinking creatures who maybe—just maybe—want to date and have sex people we’re attracted to. And that doesn’t make any of us bitches. It makes us human.
I feel like Nice Guy Syndrome and the existence of the Friend Zone really exploded in 2005 when the movie Just Friends came out. The main character, portrayed by Ryan Reynolds, was always just a friend to the love of his life… until, of course, the end, when she magically fell in love with him.
Movies like this are really kind of poisonous. It puts the idea into people’s heads that if they wait out the Friend Zone, the woman responsible for their distress will just wake up one day and realize they’re in love with them. And they’ll tell themselves (and everyone else) they deserve it, over and over again. But you know what? You don’t deserve the dirt on my shoe if you don’t treat me with respect. Actual respect, not the kind you feign in an attempt to get me into bed with you.
This is my message to all the Nice Guys out there:
If you call a woman a bitch, a slut, a skank, a whore, ugly, whatever, because she doesn’t want you, you are not nice. If you’re only nice to a woman because you want to be with her, you are not nice. And if you whine about constantly being Friend Zoned, it’s probably because you are not nice. End of story.
Source: Written by Alisse Desrosiers from Feminspire
“Films like The Notebook imply that love transcends everything, and this simply isn’t true. It’s an important part of life, but not a fundamental part. You don’t need to meet someone else to be happy. Concentrate on that mountain climbing career. Knit me a jumper for Christmas. Take a writing class and learn how to channel that grief into beautiful art. Start listening to The Go! Team. I don’t know if they sing about love, because I don’t understand a word of their songs.”—Phoebe Eccles, How to Mend a Broken Heart (Feminspire)
“We’re the bitches and sluts. This one word is bigger than just saying “no” and being the girl who hurts the nice guy. This friendzone is a trap that puts women into two groups – sluts or bitches. This zone shouldn’t be called the friendzone, it should be called the slutzone or the bitchzone because it cages all women into a group of people who are supposed to give in to whatever men please. This concept is the view that women are items being sorted into certain zones where we answer the way you want, living our lives submissively and by patriarchal standards. When we say yes we’re too promiscuous. And when we say no, we’re crazy and hurting the guy that’s ruining his own life to be so nice to us! The friendzone is the basis for the broader issue that we can’t make our own choices about our sex lives. And when we keep using this term and keep writing it into our TV shows, women are constantly being told that saying no makes them the “bad guys.”—Anisha Ahuja, The Friendzone Isn’t Real: Why I’m Not a Bitch for Turning You Down
“Why do some conservative politicians “value life” to the point that they are willing to strip women of their bodily autonomy to protect fertilized eggs, but don’t value it enough to enact stricter gun regulations in the wake of a tragedy where 26 people, most of whom were aged 5-7, were murdered in cold blood?”—Rhiannon Payne (http://feminspire.com/take-our-birth-control-then-deny-us-abortions-how-politicians-are-controlling-women-and-us-all/)
Let me tell you the truth.
Corsets have a very straightforward message attached to them: “on your own, you do not look the way a woman should look”. Men have spent generations - eras, even - attempting to carve us into their vision of what we should look like. If not with corsets, than by running make up companies, or clothing labels, or women’s magasines, or by designing our fantasies on TV and in movies.
I, for one, have decided I am a woman without the help or permission of a man, and I refuse to let one explain what that means to me, or let him fit me into one of his whale-bone frames of womanhood.
Inside this natural frame I carry everything the world is begging for, along with the spark of life itself.
Move aside you cleverly crafted cages, I am more than your schemes are prepared to contain.
I am an unbound woman.
-Caitlyn Theresa Spence
Why My Sister's Rape Was Illegitimate
Here’s a memoir I wrote about my sister’s rape. It has been published on Feminspire.com. Please Reblog, Retweet,Share,etc this story.
Trigger warning for detailed descriptions of rape.
“Please don’t be mad. I was raped. I need you to come to the police station.”
Those were the words I woke up to.
I had fallen asleep in my sister’s room the night before. We were having something close to a sleepover-even-though-we-live-together kind of thing. I remember cuddling up on the mattress laughing with her as she shut off the light, and soon my mind unwound as sleep filled my ears, nose, and mouth.
I woke up at 6:40 am accidentally—during one of those weird moments of sleep limbo when you’re tired enough to sleep more, but conscious enough to open your eyes. So I opened my eyes, scanned the room, and saw my sister was no longer in the bed next to me. I checked the time on my phone. 6:40 am. Too early for her normal wake up time. Too early for her to go to work. I checked our apartment. She wasn’t home.
7:20 am. I get a phone call from my sister.
“Please don’t be mad. I was raped. I need you to come to the police station.”
“What? Who raped you? Where are you? Are you OK? Where did you go?”
I started yelling and crying enough to wake up my mom.
“What happened? Who is that? Where is she?”
“She was raped. I have to go to the police station.”
By now my brother woke as well,
“Raped? Again? Wow.”
I threw the phone, ran to my bed, and cried.
“I want to die. I want to die. Not this again. I hate this world. I want to die.”
My brother rubbed my back, and then nonchalantly left for work.
I gathered myself and my car keys and left for the police station.
8:00 am. I arrive at the police station and wait in their lobby, completely ignored by officers passing by. I ask the man at the front desk for my sister. “She’s being questioned.”
9:00 am. Waiting in the cold lobby provokes a stinging hunger in my belly. My mind reels with what could have happened to her. There’s burning anger in my chest, venomous and ready to fire, but there is no culprit in sight. In the distance—behind the closed doors of the lobby—I hear faint voices. I hear my sister’s voice. I have to speak to her.
A policeman approaches me, “Are you the sister? I need you to bring her some fresh clothes. We’re going to transport her to the hospital and give her the rape kit.”
“Is she okay? Can I see her?”
“We don’t want emotions to run high. That tends to happen when family shows up.”
10:00 am. I am back with the fresh clothes, waiting in the frozen lobby, as the man at the front desk ignores me.
An officer appears and takes the clothes. He tells me it’d be best for me to go home.
11:00 am. My mom leaves for the hospital. I am home alone. I turn on some music, bring out my paints and latest art piece, and go about my usual business. I’m doing well.
1:00 pm. My mom calls me.
“Get ready. I’m coming home to pick you up so we can go to the police station. She’s back from the hospital. They have her rapist in custody.”
I turn off my music, and head to the bathroom for a shower. I’m about to take my shirt off when I start shaking uncontrollably. I hug myself as I hyperventilate. My heart turns into hummingbird wings and warm tears are falling as fast as the water coming out of my shower head. There are eyes watching my body. There’s a predator here. I can’t get naked.
Someone will get me. Someone will get me.
I turn off the shower, put heavy clothes on (despite the heat outside) just in time for my mom to pick me up.
I saw her on an old couch in one of the police station’s questioning rooms. Her makeup was smeared and her long, dark hair was disheveled. Her eyes drooped sadly and her hands seemed translucent with her veins visible.
“Hi my baby,” she greeted me with a smile and opened her arms to hug me. Funny how no matter how old I get, or what the circumstances may be, my sister feels that it is her job to console me.
She looks away from me and buries her head in her hands. She can’t tell me what happened.
“It’ll upset you too much,” is her excuse. But I need to know. The nightmares my mind has created must be worse than what had actually happened.
“I went out last night after you went to sleep. I don’t know. I just couldn’t sleep, so I called up a friend of mine, and he picked me up to go to his house. We went to his basement because his parents were sleeping upstairs.”
“Where did you meet him?”
“The strip club.” Strike one. A rape victim cannot be a stripper, a prostitute, or a slutty woman.
“How long have you known him?”
“A month.” Strike two. A rapist cannot be someone you know. Rapists are the ones that break into your house and violate you.
“What were you doing?”
“Hanging out. Kissing and stuff, but after a while…I wanted to go home so I told him he should take me home and he got really angry.” Strike three. A rapist cannot be someone you were previously sexually active with.
“What did he do?”
“He pushed me down on the bed and put a pillow over my face. I was screaming for him to stop. I told him if he continued that it was rape. I was screaming and he was taking my clothes off … He asked me to do horrible things. He told me he had been molested when he was younger …”
She went into detail and with each word my heart would flinch as tears gathered in my eyes. I couldn’t endure the story. How did she endure the rape?
“His parents didn’t hear you?”
“The basement is sound proof. I tried to kick him off. I scratched him. I left marks. So he started hitting me and pulling my hair. I have bruises on me. But I kicked him really hard in his ribs. There was a huge bruise.”
“How did you get out?”
“When he finished, I got dressed and we left like nothing happened. I got into his car because I didn’t know where I was, and if I ran I didn’t know where I’d go or if he’d catch me and hurt me more. As he was driving, he was wheezing and holding his rib where I kicked him. I think I broke it. I hope I broke it. Then he stopped at a gas station. I ran inside, and I told the cashier that I needed the police to be called because I was just raped. I got to the police station and they questioned me, and then I called you. He texted me though. He told me I was a crazy bitch and to never talk to him again. ME? I’M CRAZY? HE’S THE FUCKING RAPIST HERE.”
My sister, my mom, and I all waited in that police questioning room. They were questioning the rapist somewhere in the building.
I sat and held her hand. We were both cold, and her sallow face told me that her heart and soul had frozen over as well.
“I don’t think they’ll believe me.” She whispered and meekly put her head down. Her fight was over. She was done recanting her horrific night to those who wouldn’t listen. But I was listening, and I had to bring her story out to those that would hear it and say, “That was rape.”
“Why wouldn’t they believe you?” I demanded. My voice piercing through the walls; I wanted them to hear me. I needed to challenge whoever would not listen. “They did the rape kit. There’s DNA evidence. You have bruises on your body, and he has bruises on his.”
“He admitted to having ‘sex’ with me.”
“So they have evidence. You’ll get your justice. They’ll listen. If they don’t listen then there’s something severely wrong with this justice system.”
There’s this stupid War on Drugs– where people can get locked up for life for just carrying dope; but someone who is volatile enough to completely violate another individual and utterly demolish that individual’s mental and physical health can go free? No. It can’t happen.
“They know I’m bipolar and they know I’m a stripper …”
An officer came in and asked my mother and me to step out so that they could question my sister.
My mom and I waited as we smoked cigarettes on the sunlit stairs outside the police station.
After about 45 minutes, a detective came outside to find us.
“Has your sister been taking her medication?”
“Has she had any breakdowns?”
“Have you read the police report from two years ago? From the first time your sister claimed someone had raped her?”
“What does that have to do with this? I haven’t read it. But that doesn’t matter. She was raped then and she’s been raped now.”
He gave a condescending smirk.
Two years ago, my family and I had been living at a different apartment and were struggling to make ends meet. My sister had been struggling to find a job that would efficiently contribute to my family’s income. She was also struggling with her bipolar disorder.
She had switched from various doctors since she had been diagnosed, and she was prescribed a plethora of pills with such severe side effects that she developed anemia and incurred liver damage. There were her highs and her lows. There were days when she and I could sit and talk for hours peacefully, and there were days when my mother had to call the ambulance to have her taken to the hospital for overdosing, cutting, or having severe fits of anger.
She had come in contact with a friend of a friend who could get her a job, or so he said. So he offered to pick her up late at night to ‘chat’ and see if she would be good for an ‘interview.’ That ‘interview’ turned into a rape. Once in his car, he threw her to the back seat, beat her, raped her, and drove her home. She never spoke a word of the rape to me until weeks later when I noticed she had been acting strange.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“I was raped a couple weeks ago …”
Once she told me, her story began to unravel, and she eventually told my mother of her rape as well. She went to a police station and made a report.
A week later, there was a knock on our apartment door. I opened the door to see two police officers demanding to see my sister.
“She’s under arrest for falsifying a report.”
They dragged my sister out of our apartment kicking and screaming. The rape victim handcuffed.
The police claimed that she was delusional. They figured that she had been in and out of the mental hospital so much that she must have lied about this rape. Why would she get in a car with a man late at night to talk about a job? Why didn’t she leave the car? Why, when they questioned this ‘rapist,’ did he claim to know nothing of her other than that she was crazy.
Crazy. The one adjective that cannot precede the words RAPE VICTIM in the eyes of the justice system.
Eventually, her rapist didn’t press charges on her for this ‘falsified report’ (Thank goodness! What a kind soul!) A couple months later, my sister began stripping in order to save up enough money for us to rent a new apartment.
I stood aghast staring at this detective. No one would believe that my sister had been raped twice. She had no credibility.
Two years ago, police officers arrested my sister; the ultimate manifestation of rape culture. As if to say ‘What’s that? A pill bottle in your purse? A record of visitations to a loony bin? There’s no way a man raped you in the back of his car.’
Today the detective smirked; the ultimate manifestation of rape culture. As if to say, ‘What’s that? You falsified a report about rape two years ago because you’re insane? You’re also a stripper, and you’re sexually active? You’re not a rape victim. You just can’t keep your legs close and your temper in check. You were probably just angry at him and you wanted to get back at him, didn’t you? Didn’t you?”
My mom and I followed the smirking detective back to the questioning room. I was a bundle of anger. It was 4 pm by now, and my sister had not slept since the rape that morning. She curled up into a little ball on the couch. I rubbed her back, and consoled her. An hour passed and an officer came to confiscate her phone. Another hour passed and they woke her for more questioning.
She finally reentered the room with a glazed over look.
“They don’t believe me. They think I’m lying. They said there’s not enough evidence. He told them that bruise on his ribs was from helping his friend with construction. They said his friends came to testify that I’m mentally unstable and that I offered to do threesomes with them. I’ve never seen his friends in my life. Why did they even do that rape kit if they’re not going to believe me? Isn’t that evidence? Aren’t my bruises evidence?”
I couldn’t answer her questions. I had my fists balled up as we left that police station. I trembled as tears cracked down my cheeks. My sister cooed me, “It’s OK, baby. I shouldn’t have opened my mouth. That’s all. It’s my fault.”
It took her rapist two hours to traumatize her, violate her, and demolish her into submission, and it took another 12 hours for the justice system to shame my sister into silence.
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Everything I've been trying to articulate, all in one neat little paragraph.
“Bringing up topics like rape, the pay gap, body image and sex positivity is apparently too taboo or serious. Why are you talking about that? We’re just trying to have a good time? Yeah, well, so were we. And then you went and said that you don’t believe in my rights and I wasn’t having a fun time anymore. And then you went and remained silent in the constant struggle for me to be taken seriously with my body, passion, and opinions because I’m inappropriately labeled as “crazy” for being a feminist. Why is caring so crazy?”