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Everybody is responsible when it comes to deconstructing rape culture.

Another day, another Twitter post illustrating how we don’t teach boys how to take no for an answer. Another day, another example of how we reinforce toxic masculinity and rape culture by telling young girls to be “nice” when turning down a date.

A post on Twitter from user @Jarelyxx gained some traction after she posted screenshots from a text exchange between her 13-year-old brother and a girl he goes to school with.

https://twitter.com/jarelyxx/status/869667856505503744

The user wrote, “my 13 year old brother has liked the same girl since pre-k and he gets rejected year after year. jazmin is a lil dumb and sleeps on him smh.”

Let’s get one thing clear: when a person says no to you the first time, accept this response and their autonomy and move on. Why aren’t we teaching young boys to handle rejection? Why do we continue to teach them that persistence is attractive when it is, in fact, abusive and creepy?

Related: Why I’m Done Trying To Get You To Help Me Fight Rape Culture

One user went so far as to tweet, “@jarelyxx where this bitch live? I really gotta have a “talk” with her…”

https://twitter.com/ConnorAMiller/status/869888011865120768

People like this are why women and girls are scared of rejecting men, because our decisions are met with violent threats from people like the person above, practically outing themselves as rapists and murderers.

Women and femmes don’t owe you a “yes” simply because you asked – in fact, we don’t even owe you a response at all. Yet it is expected of us to be flattered, happy and willing to go out with any cishet man who wants to date us because our value is judged by whether cishet men consider us to be of value to them. We are not granted autonomy, we are not allowed to be ourselves for ourselves.

 

Everybody is responsible when it comes to deconstructing rape culture. We grow up watching films and shows and reading books with storylines where a man keeps pursuing a woman even after she said no. We are taught that persistence and ignoring the word “no” is romantic – not abusive.

We have to teach children to respect each other’s autonomy and that means explaining to them that even if they have a crush on someone, that person doesn’t have to feel the same way about them and that they should not try to change their mind by chasing them, stalking them and harassing them for years on end.

No means no and we need to teach our children to understand that because by the time they’re in college, it’s almost too late.

Featured Image: @jarlyxx, Twitter

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Lara Witt (she/they) is an award-winning feminist writer who primarily writes about feminism, racism, pop-culture, mental health, and politics. Witt received her BA in Journalism from Temple University and interned for Philadelphia CityPaper’s arts and entertainment section and the Philadelphia Daily News covering local news, court stories, and crime. Following her graduation, she became increasingly committed to writing about gender, race, and queer identity by using Black and brown feminist theory to analyze current news and politics. Witt freelanced for national and local publications, which led to her working with Wear Your Voice Magazine eventually becoming their EIC and rebranding the site to focus primarily on using the analytical framework of Dr. Kimberlé Crenshaw’s theory of intersectionality. Video Player is loading. Witt’s goal is to provide platforms for marginalized voices with a focus on having other Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) writers tell their own stories and explore their own narratives. Witt has spoken at local Philadelphia events, such as the March to End Rape Culture (2017) and curated a yearly series of events called The Electric Lady Series. These events highlight women of color in Philadelphia by exploring gender, rape culture, entrepreneurship, art, self-care, sex, and culture.

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