“I hate being a woman in a patriarchal society”

I’m 21. Tonight I stopped at the grocery store to get some milk after my visit to the bookstore. I was reminded why I hate going anywhere by myself at night. I was verbally harassed by a gang of idiot high school boys, one that repeatedly asked me if he “smelled good.”

I ignored him until he caught up with me and said he wouldn’t leave me alone until I answered him. I turned around and met his eyes. I said, “What?”

He said, “Do I smell good”, stuffed his shirt in my face, “I’m wearing Ax.”

I said, “No, I think Ax smells like shit. Why are you asking me? There are plenty of girls in this store if you want a girl opinion, why not ask one of them?”

They remained quiet. He finally said, “Okay, I’m bothering you, right?”

I said, “What do you think?” and I left, hearing in the background, “Have a nice night.”

I hate how upset this made me feel. I am a very rational person, but in that moment it was extremely hard for me to stay calm. I felt my heart beating fast in my chest and I literally felt sick to my stomach. I hate being a woman in a patriarchal society. It’s just not fair.

– Natalie

Location: Randalls Food Market

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4 Responses to “I hate being a woman in a patriarchal society”

  1. Sue says:

    That sounds really intimidating and I’m glad you stood up to him. Yet more ‘male entitlement’ thinking – that they’re entitled to your time and attention.

    Well done on handling this so well. I’m sure it doesn’t feel to you as though you did, but you got the point across to him, you stood up for yourself and you’re safe. You did good 🙂

  2. Kat says:

    Wow…I don’t know where to begin.

    These boys — dubbed “idiot teenagers” — may have been looking for affirmation, and not an opportunity to harass. Isn’t Axe cologne advertised as a pheromone or something along those lines? While their behavior may have been annoying, was it really harassment, or an attempt to practice flirting and have a member of the opposite sex offer her opinion.

    I would have offered a smile and something like, “I’m sure the girls at prom will love it!” instead of a cold stare. If the boys were truly trying to harass, I would’ve called the situation to the attention of the store, but really…this doesn’t sound like harassment.

  3. Jen says:

    I wish, wish, wish that more men said “I’m bothering you, right?”. Unfortunately, none of the idiots I’ve encountered have been quite that astute.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Wow… Not everyone enjoys unwanted attention.

    As soon as I walked into their section they were calling me names and blatantly staring at my body. I have the right to be left alone, but they have the right to not leave me alone?

    They followed me twice in the store, calling me names, “flirting”, and I had my back to them obviously signaling I was not interested… but I should not care because I should be flattered that guys want to talk to me? It is not flattering. It is embarrassing and uncomfortable and intimidating to know that guys only want your attention because of what you look like. Also, I am 5’0 tall and look young for my age, I think that is why men feel less threatened verbally harassing me and it can be scary because the longer I ignore them the more riled up they get.

    I am not a man-hater, I have a boyfriend, not that any of that is relevant but to ease the tide… I didn’t write in detail what had happened to me, I realize that now. You would have had to have been there to know that it was harassment. The guys were laughing a lot and staring me down, laughing even after the guy said “I’m bothering you, right?”. It wasn’t a serious epiphany this boy attained after he realized the ways of his wrongdoing, no, he was smiling as he said it and the boys were laughing after I left. Oh, and I believe I wrote he also said he “wouldn’t leave me alone until I spoke to him”. Making demands to a female stranger, hmmm was that not wrong? Was that not male entitlement? They enjoyed harassing me, it was like a game to them.

    There is a reason women are not equal to men in society and it is for this reason. We are still seen as objects, mere toys to play with. Until more women realize this things will not change.

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