What the Men I Have Met Have Never Liked About Me

“Women shouldn’t be allowed to go out.”
“Women don’t belong everywhere.”
“Women aren’t strong. They aren’t supposed to be.”
“Women should be mothers and housewives.”
“You are unattractive because you play sports. I’ll never ever be attracted to you because you have a loud voice. No man would ever find you attractive because you insist that women should be allowed in the workplace. You insist on traveling, you insist on reading and writing a lot, you insist on arguing, you insist on disagreeing, you insist on questioning, you insist on women being encouraged to have higher education, you ran a marathon, you ran 5K races, how dare you insist women should play sports? They aren’t strong enough; they are made to have children, you wrote essays?? Really? You? You like philosophy? Is that really true? You don’t know how to be a girl. I’m not attracted to you, I’d never be attracted to you even if you were the only female left in the world; you insist that women should be free. You are free and you shouldn’t be allowed to be free.”

I wonder why men have said these things. I wonder if they feel threatened by me. I wonder about what could possibly be bad about my love for fitness, my belief that women should be allowed to wander freely, my interest in philosophy and literature, my habit of doubting and questioning, my hope that women everywhere could live according to what they feel is right, not what a man thinks is right. This makes me repulsive? This makes me disgusting? I talk back, I retaliate and that makes me less of a woman? Really? I love to learn new things, I love to travel, I have dreams… and this makes me less of a woman? Really? I think far and wide and I’ve been told that no man would ever want me because I refuse to be managed — I insist on managing myself. I would like to manage myself because I have a mind of my own and I use it and I want to continue to use it and that makes me an unattractive, repulsive female? I don’t understand. I don’t understand the things I’ve been told. I don’t understand those men who have said I ‘shouldn’t try to be as strong as them because it isn’t natural.’

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