Dear Society,

My name is woman. I have a mind to make decisions, a heart to love unconditionally, a body to do with what I please, and a voice to either utilize or stifle.

Do not mistake me for what I am not.

I am not a toy. When you use me, I cannot be put away to be returned to later. I take the memory of every encounter with me wherever I go. I get jealous that you are able to walk away from it while I relive it over and over. You have the luxury of detachment. I have a heart, and I shouldn't be chastised for using it. You can call me "obsessive" and "emotional" for human qualities without batting an eye, but I carry these labels with me like anchors.

I am not just a body. It is only one part of me, but I am ruled by my emotions and logic as well. These two will not take a backseat to satisfy your own desire. It isn't just you, the male population, of course. I see it on both ends. I see the signs and the hats and the shirts and the pictures... I want to be comfortable with my own anatomy, to be sure. But, when I turn to witness my fellow women marching with signs displaying the parts of my body that are inherently private... I feel violated. I turn away immediately in shame, as though these pictures rip through my own independence. It doesn't empower me... it makes me feel vulnerable. My anatomy is not for sale.

I am not simply my sex. I do not enjoy being catcalled by men anywhere from half to twice my age. More than that, I do not enjoy being shamed for it. I do not blame people for human desire, but I do blame those who are ruled by it. It disheartens me to know that a person can view me as a sex object so entirely without even knowing my name. If I were to offer my name, would they care? Oversexualization is no game - it has become routine.

Finally,

I am not sorry. I am woman, and I will not be rebuked for seeking respect. I do not long for female supremacy or advocate for "feminazism;" I simply want to be seen as an equal. I will not apologize for demanding my own rights because "things are better than they used to be." I do not discredit society for its efforts, but we must accept that work still needs to be done. The first step in achieving success is acknowledging flawed tactics.

I am not sorry about being born woman. I am not sorry for taking pride in my sex. I am sorry for those who feel I should be.

Love,

Woman