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July 31, 2017 | by  | in Poetry |
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Androphobia: (noun) fear of men

I am afraid of men

 

Not all men

Some I like

 

But some

Some terrify me

 

Like the ones who make rape jokes

Like consent is so funny

Abuse a great punchline

Such violation nothing

But the height of hilarity

 

It makes me think it’s something

They’ve never had to worry about

Something they’ve never feared —

Having their body’s privacy and autonomy

So crudely desecrated

 

They are the ones who catcall when I go running

Or wolf-whistle, or jeer

Slut

Because my fitted activewear is apparently

Some unconscious signal

That I’m after their sleazy attentions

 

Yeah, of course

I must be “asking for it”

Like all women are, according to them

Or else I’d be wearing a baggy t-shirt and trackies

Wouldn’t I?

To censor my womanly shape?

To shield them from temptation?

I mean, really

What do I expect?

 

These are the ones who observe women

Like they’re eyeing helpless prey

Slabs of fresh meat

Whose choice to wear tight jeans and short skirts

Can only be interpreted as an open invitation

That screams “You can fuck me

 

They say we “want it”

“Beg for it” even

They say we only have ourselves to blame

According to them, it’s our fault for drawing such “blurred lines”

 

They are the ones who stalk the streets at night

In drunken hordes that reek of testosterone

Hollering down the street

At girls who walk alone

 

They offer to buy you drinks

Because basic math tells them

That one, plus one, plus one more

Plus you

Equals an easy target

A simple lay

Another notch to carve triumphantly on their bedpost

 

Then there’s the ones who use “bitch” and “cunt”

Like punctuation

And terms like “frothing” as casual slang

Without pause or apology

Without any sense of disrespect

 

And they roll their eyes

When you make any kind of objection

What are you they say

Some kind of Feminist?

Why, yes

Yes, I am

But all they see

Is an uptight, angry, whinging woman

 

These men make me feel

Unsafe

Small

Lesser than

They destabilise and threaten the fragile confidence

I’ve managed to find in being female

While so much of society

Seems to keep telling me not to

 

They turn my pride to shame

My security to fear

My power to vulnerability

They make me want to disappear

To melt away

To be silent

To just let myself drown in their contempt

As I stare hopelessly up at a glass ceiling they have built

That feels so infinite

 

Don’t get me wrong

Some men are nice

They treat me as an equal

Listen to my voice

See my edges

Instead of just my curves

 

These men exist

I know them

And it’s not them I fear to meet

When walking home at midnight

 

It’s the others

 

And it shames me

How scared I am of them

Because in my fear, I know

I’m letting them take tiny, precious pieces of myself

And crush them to dust

In their groping, ass-grabbing

Pony-tail pulling hands

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