In this post I hope to show why we still need feminism. We have long since moved on from the days when women were systematically refused employment or the right to vote, but women can still expect experiences similar to mine explained below.
Here is some background information to contextualize the texting conversation I have posted:
I am a college student and I went on one date with this man (text in grey) two years ago. At that point I was still new to the dating scene and was pretty naïve about lots of basic social cues and norms that come with the territory. We had an ok date, at the end of which he asked me to go back to his apartment which I agreed to do. I was unaware that this agreement could be construed as agreement to sex. While I was in his apartment, I caught on to this expectation and immediately said "I don't want to move past kissing." I didn't know him that well (did not even know his last name!) and did not want more. At first he complied, but quickly began to initiate things that passed the boundary I set. I restated my wish not to move past kissing and he again tried to move past it. At this point I decided to go home, which I did without incident. Later on that week he asked me out again and I said no, explaining that I didn't have the presence of mind to say anything at the time, but I was angry that he did not respect the boundary that I set and thus was not interested in going out again. We did not speak again.
Flash forward two years. He called me and I didn't recognize the number so I picked up. A short conversation followed consisting entirely of 1) figuring out who he was (I'd forgotten our date two years before) and 2) small talk. At the end of the conversation he suggested we get coffee sometime. I said, sure, thinking he had misdialed me and just wanted to end the small talk politely and would not follow up. The first text is his follow-up…
I hope that this post prompts awareness that this kind of disrespect can happen to anyone and can take on insidious forms that are hard to identify and talk about, but also prompts thoughts and dialogue about what can be done to change things for the better.