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So this most recent kerfluffle I’ve been in has really solidified a concept I’ve been mulling over for a while, about respect.
The thing is, women are entitled to respect. We are absolutely entitled to it. But the issue at the heart of a lot of sexism and harassment is that men are contemptuous of women. And, being contemptuous of women, they’re more than happy to blame women for not earning their respect—the respect that women should simply be accorded by right of being people. This gets men off the hook for their abdication of manners and decency, and once again puts women on trial for deserving their own abuse.
We, all of us, all genders of us, we absolutely need to rephrase this conversation. Women are entitled to respect. They deserve it inherently. We cannot keep grilling women about why they haven’t earned it, haven’t demanded it loud enough, haven’t argued for it eloquently enough, haven’t agitated for it long enough, haven’t bargained for it nicely enough. Women don’t need to be strong, or brave, or loud, or kind, or tough, or powerful. They just need to be women, because women are respectable. There is nothing more or less that they can do to deserve respect other than to be born.
When men do not respect women they are delinquent. They are witholding it. They are causing this problem. It is their fault. Do not forget this. Do not let anyone make you.