Seriously, though. Quit it.
I know, I know—it’s hard for some people to conceptualize the fact that my job involves sexual education, treatment and support, BUT doesn’t approve of (or tolerate) sexual messages and/or harassment. And no, the fact that you aren’t technically hollering sexual obscenities at me from a car window while I walk down the street, doesn’t give you a pass. I’m a human being with an important job. Whether you think that job is deserving of respect is not my battle to fight.
A Total Stranger Felt I Was Deserving of Verbal Abuse
As some of you may know, you can find me on Instagram where I post educational, often humorous, sexual health posts while also promoting my blog. The first time I went live, I was called a “whore.” Literally, for nothing else other than existing and talking about the educational path that brought me to being a psychotherapist and sexual health professional. Some people do more before 6AM than I do before noon, yet in four minutes I struck such a cord with this stranger that he felt (yes, the person was male identified) I was deserving of verbal abuse. And honestly, I was neither surprised nor particularly hurt. Like almost all female identified individuals, I grew up in a world where boys and men felt that they were entitled to my sexuality. This isn’t news and it definitely isn’t specific to me. But what is extremely frustrating is that because of my professional expertise, I am somehow more deserving of this abusiveness; because I don’t and I won’t tolerate it.
Walking Alone On The Internet’s Main Street
When women embrace their sexuality (I am speaking from my own experience as a cisgender woman), we always run the risk of verbal, emotional and physical violence. Toxic masculinity & entitlement feed the force that puts us in danger, time and time again. So when men message me with suggestive questions or inquire into what I personally “prefer” there’s a level of violation that reminds me of being catcalled or seeing other women being taunted “because of” what they are wearing or how their body parts made random men feel.
I May Not Run The Risk of Being Grabbed, But…
Sure, on the actual street a man could take it upon himself to grab anyone of the women he sees, either out of sexual aggression or anger, and physically hurt her. But because we aren’t in immediate physical danger online, it’s often considered dudes just being “creepy” or “trolling” so we need to just forget it and move on. How does this not creep into your psyche (no pun intended) and create a nice little nest that grows and grows until you’re afraid to walk to your car alone? Or stay in your apartment over night by yourself? Well it does. It has real and lasting affects that trickle down from generation to generation.
So Seriously. Quit It.