Misogyny and All That Comes With It

Misogyny is an interesting word. So is feminism - both words bringing several images to mind - angry women, protests you get my drift. And that is honestly what I used to think. I used to think that feminism meant women campaigning about why they should have to shave their legs, why they had to get married, why they had to be stay at home mums and quite frankly, I was rather ignorant about the whole subject and unfortunately for myself, I have said stupid things and potentially upset some people by what I've said. I think the highlight to my ignorance has to have been when I said, "Feminists? Isn't that where ladies refuse to shave their armpits?". Gross, I know.

But fortunately for the sake of others around me, I did investigate the subject and have thankfully learned to stop myself from making absolutely ridiculous comments that don't help other people's first impressions of me whatsoever.

Growing up I have always struggled with the concept of having to dress a certain way so that I didn't offend others - this was particularly prominent growing up in several muslim countries and I was raised with the mentality that it was disrespectful to reveal my shoulders or wear short skirts or show cleavage as it wasn't appropriate and I completely agree to some extent. In countries with a religious population like that, I would never dream of dressing in a way that would cause offence and to be honest, I'm incredibly glad that my parent's taught me this from a young age. But when I moved back to the UK, a country without a population that would be offended by how I dressed, I thought there would be less of an issue.

I forgot about catcalls. I forgot about men hanging out of pub windows and shouting. I forgot about people beeping you.

As an individual, I've never been confident with myself enough to dress 'provocatively' which means I tend not to wear shorts, short skirts or dresses and almost never show cleavage. Nor do I wear strappy tops. As a whole, I'm a jeans and jumper kind of girl. I never thought that I would get wolf whistled wearing jeans, a loose t-shirt and a leather jacket. I also never thought it would annoy me either. As I walked past said pub, head down, I felt angry. Angry that these 'blokes' who were no where close to attractive I might add, felt that they had the right to wolf whistle me. It wasn't complimentary, it didn't make me feel good about myself, I actually felt a bit disgusted. Now, this wasn't the first time it had happened. It had happened whilst I was walking with my brother, and another time with a male friend and it astounded me further that these guys thought it was okay to leer when I was with someone who could potentially have even been a partner.

Apologies for the rant, but I just have never been so frustrated before nor so angry about something that happens on a daily basis. I used to think the only people who got catcalled were dressed provocatively but apparently not. And apparently it's okay for men to shout derogatory comments at anyone. Who knew?

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Ellie Dickinson