Sunday, 19 March 2017

Men in Clubs

I hate being grabbed in a club. I think I can say this is true for all girls. The last thing we want when we are dancing to a cheesy song with our friends is to be grabbed in a club.

My sister recently went clubbing with her male friends. It's funny isn't it, that men respect other men more than they do other women. Whilst she was clubbing, she wasn't grabbed once. Perhaps this was because the men in the club respected the fact that one of the men she was with could have been her boyfriend or perhaps she was just lucky where she was standing in the club. However, this did not mean that she survived the night without any unwanted attention from men. 

At the end of the evening, my sister decided to wait for her male friends by the exit whilst they went to the toilet and collected their bags from the cloakroom. She was immediately cornered by a white twenty-year-old male. He asked her if she wanted to 'play a game?', when she said 'no' he aggressively asked her 'Why?'. He told her it would be fun. Luckily for my sister, her friends reappeared and managed to rescue her from the situation. I dread to think what could have happened if they hadn't turned up, or what would have happened if she had not had male friends with her. 

I have run into toilets out of fear from unwanted male hands across my body whilst trying to enjoy my night. I have watched my friends eyes swell with panic as a man pulls their body towards them. I have saved random girls who I have never spoken to before from the clasp of a sweaty eighteen year old boy. I have watched men forcibly kiss my friends, grind upon them and treat them as if they were dolls to be played with. I don't know why this treatment is allowed. I am confused as to why blind eyes are turned by bodyguards and bar staff when they witness these assaults. The only thing I can think of is that this treatment and blind eyes being turned begins when we are young; when we are too young to even understand the words 'feminism' and 'equality'. 

This treatment begins in school, the space that we are told is safe from bullies and discriminatory acts. It begins when we are five years old when teachers turn a blind eye to 'boys being boys' as they chase girls around the playground, begging for  a kiss. It begins when we are eleven years old and we are told by our elders that the boys are mean to us because they 'fancy us'.  It begins when we are thirteen, when girls are afraid to utter the word 'feminism' without being laughed at and labelled as a 'lesbian'. It begins when we are fifteen, and teachers turn further blind eyes to boys lifting girls skirts and 'skooping' their breasts. It continues when we are in Sixth Form, and the girls have to follow a strict dress code so that they cannot be accused of  'distracting the boys'. 

So when boys reach eighteen, under the influence of alcohol, the club floor becomes a playground for them to simply get away with the things they have been getting away with for their entire lives. Because from day one, blind eyes are turned and excuses are made. I'm sick of it. We need to start teaching both boys and girls that this behavior is not okay. We need to start teaching girls that boys being mean to us cannot be excused by them 'fancying us'. We need to stop using the phrase 'boys will be boys'. I'm sorry but that just won't cut it anymore. Boys must be held responsible for their actions, just as girls are. We need to start educating both girls and boys that feminism is not a dirty word, does not equate to you being a lesbian and does not mean that women want to be better than men. We need to stop turning blind eyes to sexual harassment in school, no matter how big or small it may be. We certainly need to stop teaching young girls what to wear in order to avoid getting unwanted attention but instead teach boys how to respect women. 

Of course, I am not saying that all men grab women in clubs and I'm not saying that all women don't enjoy attention from men in clubs. What I am trying to say, is that when a woman polity asks a man to leave her alone whilst she is trying to enjoy her evening in a club, don't question her motives but instead quietly leave and let her carry on dancing to cheese tunes with her friends because more often than not: that is exactly what she is here for.