I recently posted a video on Facebook centered around a recent breakthrough in connection with body traumas I've experienced at the hands of men.
The video wasn't created to bash men, but to create an opportunity of healing for others as well as start dialogue around creating safe and nurturing spaces for women.
There are a lot of men (and women of course) who live their lives not aware of the stress and traumas they cause women. So in carrying on the dialogue, I want to share common ways, men facilitate threatening and uncomfortable situations for women.
Body shaming is hands down, the most common habit that men often have when it comes to exerting their power over and impact on women. When men are not impeccable with their words and make comments about how a woman "should look" or compare women's bodies, they do not realize they impact of their words. If you were the one man, telling a woman she should lose weight, it would be one thing (not that you should be giving unsolicited judgments or advice anyhow) but I can guarantee you, you are probably not the first person or man to make a comment about her body. Whether you're suggesting weight loss, weight gain, the use of cosmetics, a different hairstyle that would enhance her, or looking different in any way would enhance her, you are tearing her down.
People want to feel loved, needed, appreciated and valued. Telling someone what they are not, and even pointing it out when they don't ask you, is one way to demoralize and demean someone, even if that's not your intention.
Comparing women of different Ethnic backgrounds
It is not ethnicity that makes women different; it is their cultural upbringing and personal experience in life. A White and Latina women can have the same interest and similar life paths. A Black and Indian woman can have the same interest and life paths. A Native and Japanese woman can have the same interest and similar life paths. Degrading a whole group of women and comparing them to others is divisive and poisonous.
We actually experience more similarities than differences on a human level.
Colorism is a poisonous practice and mind sight that is embedded in many societies. Its the practice of comparing and giving more value to one skin shade over another. The preference of light skin leads individuals all over the world to use skin lightening creams. The preference of darker or olive skin leads individuals to practice tanning at dangerous rates, as well as using chemicals to darken the skin. Making negative comments about a woman's (or anyone) skin complexion is a no no. Attributing certain behaviors or characteristics to a specific skin color is a no no.
Judging a Woman Based on Her Attire
Stating what a woman "should wear" or how she would look best dressed, is indicative of your associated entitlement as a man and the belief that your word is the prime standard for what is acceptable for a woman. People dress how they choose for different reasons. Yes some dress certain ways for attention (whether fully clothed or not), some want to stand out, some have limited options, some use dress as expression, and a myriad of different reasons. If you have a thought, 1) keep it to your self 2) if you actually are interested in someone's attire, politely asked, what motivated their choice of attire.
Cat Calling/ Calling a Woman Out of Her Name
There is never a need to yell at a woman from a distance. There is never a reason for you to call a woman out of her name without permission ( yes pet names count). There is never a reason for you to address a woman by commenting on her body or attire. There is never a reason for you heckle a woman for attention. Women want to feel safe, and bombarding them with hyper-masculine energy, does not help women feel safe. If a woman has given you permission to call her baby, sweetie, etc., that's when you do so; but taking it upon yourself is an act of entitlement, power and control. Furthermore, if she tells you, please call me by my name, and you disregard that request, that is disrespectful.
Men like sex. Women like sex. Humans like sex. Being driven partially by sex does not mean that its ok to deduce another person merely to a cavity of pleasure. Some might provide the reasoning that men are visual and because of this, they often pay more attention to a woman's body than a woman pays attention to a man's body. In general terms, I beg to differ. If you are not blind, you are assessing how someone appears. The difference is when you believe a woman's primary duties, value, and character is connected to her body. Those who objectify women, tend to be more aggressive, controlling and abusive towards women. When you objectify a woman, you strip them of their humanity and may unconsciously disregard their thoughts, emotions, and personality.
Having non-consensual or dead sex with a woman
Coercing, manipulating, or convincing a woman to have sex, who's already said no/I don't want to/I don't feel like it, is dehumanizing, objectifying, and sexual assault. Also, having sex with a woman, who is not moving or lays dead-like during intercourse out of obligation to you, is also objectifying. Even though everyone does no believe in "emotional connections" during sex, unless you have frustration from trying to conceive, sex is a pleasurable act. If a woman presents to be not mentally or emotionally present in intercourse, mostly because she is not having sex out of pleasure, one should remove themselves.
Any Form of Abuse
One of the most obvious ways a man can exert power over a woman and make her feel unsafe is through physical abuse. Individuals often do not consider the effects of verbal, emotional, financial, and psychological abuse. Under physical abuse, is also sexual abuse which includes exploitation as well. Some of the forms of control and wrongful policing of women mention above, also are connected to different forms of abuse. Cat Calling is often considered sexual harassment/sexual assault.
So whether you are a perpetrator of, one who has witnessed, or a survivor of any of the above mentioned circumstances, have a conversation about the offenses. Consider how these dynamics can be changed. Consider the effects of these dynamics as women can experience them at various degrees throughout the duration of life. Also consider that 1 out 4 girls are sexually assaulted and 1 out 3 women are sexually assaulted. So any previous traumas can be magnified when the above circumstances are also present in a woman's life.