in seventh grade i liked a girl. she had blonde hair and hazel eyes and i found it hard to breathe every time she stood near me.
now, i wasn’t the only person to like this girl. she was the most sought after girl in our grade, the one every guy would kill to call his.
they tripped over each other trying to ask her out, even though it was common knowledge she had a steady boyfriend in the year below. she had to reject boys practically every other day.
it would break my heart every time i witnessed the fallout when things got ugly. boys would call her a bitch, a slut, a cunt. once her nudes were even leaked, and half the school turned against her.
i was different. not once did i ask her out or flirt with her. half the time i didn’t dare let my eyes linger on her for too long.
for a while, i pondered this. why it was common behaviour for boys to abuse girls who didn’t like them, while girls who liked girls were wrong for liking them in the first place.
one day it came to me, and it felt like a punch in the chest:
boys who like girls feel they have the right to own them.
girls who like girls feel they don’t even have the right to look at them.