I’m sure you’ve seen it around, probably espeically on twitter. The #YesAllWomen hashtag that’s been both loved and hated.
Here’s my take on it. As a twenty something year old woman.
I work front desk at a tiny hotel. Our room rates vary between $40 +tax and $50 + tax a night. So, you can imagine the wide range of guests we can get. When I’m at work, I’m the only employee here. There’s no security guard, no housekeeper, no maintenance worker, no manager here in case something happens. The only thing that separates me form whomever I’m checking in is the desk.
If something goes terribly wrong in the office, I do have a panic button that will summon the local SWAT team to my rescue, but that’s it. We also have security cameras that are in all the hallways and are watching the outside of the building, but they only record if there is movement.
We have certain rules in place to try to maintain the front desk clerk’s safety, but nothing is guaranteed.
For example: If I have to go to a guests room to fix a TV or replace a burned out light bulb, the room door has to remain open while I’m in the room. That way, if I’m attacked or if something goes wrong I can either escape, or I’ll have a greater probability of being heard if I’m yelling. Four years on in the hospitality industry and I haven’t had anything happen (excuse me while I go knock on some wood), but it’s comforting to know that I have that safeguard in place.
When I enter a room and I inform the guest that the door has to stay open, I get a range of responses. Most of them (men and women) shrug it off and are fine with it. I’ve had others (mostly men) that get downright offended that I said the door has to stay open. They act as if I’ve said they’re going to abuse me, which of course I haven’t. I just tell them that it has to stay open because it’s hotel policy.
I know that not all men are violent. I know that not every man I come across will be thinking I’m an easy target. But there are men that are and I have no way of being able to tell who isn’t someone that would hurt me and who is someone that would.
I’ve had men yell at me when I ask them to leave the door open. Most of the time, I’m able to explain that it’s a policy of the hotel for safety reasons and they calm down. There are other times that it doesn’t work and I’m able to leave the room and inform the guest that I’ll be more than happy to come back later when he’s calm or he can just deal with a fuzzy TV.
The fact that I’m the bad guy because I asked them to leave the door open infuriates me. Do I feel uncomfortable entering men’s rooms that I don’t know by myself? The majority of the time I do. If it’s someone that has stayed at the hotel for a long time and I feel like I know them, it’s not as bad. I’m more comfortable if there is another woman in the room, and I’m even more on my guard if it’s two single men in the room. It makes me crazy that I have to guard myself, that I have to distrust people because bad things could happen.
I hate it that when I’m behind the desk at work some men think it’s okay to hit on me. To ask me to come to their room later or ask for my phone number. When I say no, most of them brush it off and keep going on about their day like it was nothing. But, just like with the room door having to be open thing, I have some men that will get offended. Offended that I dared to say no to their advances. Offended that I turned them down. They always ask why. “Well why not?” Maybe because I’m not interested? Maybe because I’m at work? Maybe because saying no is my right?
It’s not cute when men that I don’t know call me “babe” or “baby”. I barely like men that I do know to call me those.
Don’t even get me STARTED on the struggle of trying to go on dates or try online dating. I had an Ok Cupid profile for a while. I don’t have it anymore because I was sick of getting messages from strangers, men that I’ve never met before in my life, asking me to meet them to “hook up” or to send them nudes. Or to give out my phone number. If I told them no to any of those, I was instantly labeled a “bitch” or a “prude”. Why am I a bitch for not wanting to have sex with you, Mr. Unknown Man? Why am I a prude for not wanting to send naked pictures of myself to some dude that I don’t know? I don’t give out my phone number to men that I don’t know because even if they say they’re not going to “blow up my phone” and ask for things like I’ve mentioned above, it will most likely eventually happen.
I’ll also get unsolicited dick pictures sent to my phone. I’m sorry. That’s offensive to me. If I don’t know you, if I’m not in a relationship with you, I do not want to see your junk. Random pictures of your junk will not make me lust after you. It will make me block your number and never speak to you again.
The last time I went on an actual date (movies, and milkshakes afterward) it went horribly. I offered, and tried, to pay for my share of everything. I tried to buy my own ticket to the movie, he wouldn’t hear of it and paid for it without letting me explain that I’d rather pay my own way. After the movie, he wanted to be able to talk, so we went to Steak ‘N Shake. The entire time we were there, he was pressuring me to come back to his apartment. I was firm, but nice the first time I said no. Notice I said first. I had to repeat myself about four times. It’s like I wasn’t saying anything. I was able to pay for my own shake… but that was only because I got to the counter before he did. When we walked out to our cars, he started back up with the “you should come back to my place” barrage. I told him no again and bid him a goodnight and left. He was pissed that I turned him down, but that didn’t stop him from continuing to try to wear me down. I finally blocked him from every thing I could (social media, phone…etc) after he sent an unsolicited dick picture. I was in the middle of eating dinner at a restaurant and my phone went off with a message alert. I opened his message and there he was in all his naked glory. Needless to say, I wasn’t hungry anymore.
Buying a woman dinner, or tickets to a movie does not mean that you get a green light to sexy times. Being a nice guy to a woman doesn’t mean that she owes you anything.
That mentality that some men have makes me want to pull my hair out.
If I go out to the bars with my friends, I can’t leave my drink unattended. If I do, it’s been ingrained into me that I’ll have to buy a new one. Why? Because someone could have put something in my drink that could hurt me. Do you KNOW how expensive drinks are? Having to constantly watch my beverages, and having to buy a new one if I go to the bathroom because someone might have slipped me a roofie is insane. I hate that this is the world we live in.
My dad is in law enforcement. He has been since before I was born, and he’s always telling me that I “shouldn’t wear too revealing of clothes” or that if I go out “I need to be with other people”. I have to monitor the way that I dress because some guy might take it as a green light that I’m easy. I don’t dress for anyone but myself, and it makes me mad that I’m constantly told, that other women are constantly told that they’re slutty if they’re exposing too much cleavage or showing too much leg.
I’m not going to wear a turtle neck because it will make other people more comfortable. I’m also not about to go prancing down main street in my birthday suit, but that’s because I’m not comfortable with that.
The point of this very long rant is that nobody deserves to have to be afraid of being attacked. Nobody deserves to be belittled because of their gender. If someone says no, it means no. It doesn’t mean maybe. It doesn’t mean “maybe I should ask again”. It mean no.
Nobody, regardless of gender and what they are or aren’t wearing deserves to be raped or assaulted. The term “boys will be boys” needs to be stricken from the vocabulary of the world. Saying that “I couldn’t help myself, she was showing everything, she must of wanted it” makes you seem like you’re nothing more than an animal that can’t control it’s baser urges. Do you know what can’t help itself when attacking? Crocodiles. Alligators. Tigers. Lions. They see something weak and they attack it.
Okay, now that I’ve ranted and gave my opinion on things. I need to go relax my brain and read a book.