No matter how hard we attempt to move for change, there no denying the fact that at this moment, we live in a world where men and women are treated differently. Whether we have the same voting rights, same pay, or same civil liberties, females will always be seen as "weaker" than the male. Trust me, I have always been the first to dispute this stereotype; when someone calls me weak for being a girl, I raise hell. However, after preparing for college and actually getting here, I faced the harsh reality that no matter what we do, when it comes to safety and strength, women will always fall in second.
Why is it that no one warns males about the dangers of college? I never heard my brother being warned to always walk home with someone at night, to always have 911 ready on his phone, to always be in populated areas. Yet, when it came my turn to leave, all of a sudden a mass of dangers began popping up. I always have to look out. I always have to take precautionary measures. I have to be aware of myself at all times. I can never be alone, especially when it's dark out. I realized that all of these dangers are related to one thing and one thing only – the fact that I am a girl and there are predators out there who want to rape me.
I have a Swiss Army knife on my keys. I have pepper spray in my backpack. I had to take self-defense during my senior year of high school. My brother doesn't have to do any of these things. The words of advice I received from my parents and teachers included "make sure you always have a buddy," "don't go anywhere at night," "always be ready," "don't drink too much," and "don't wear too revealing clothing." What did my brother hear? "Have fun," "get a girlfriend," "explore the city," and "don't forget to wash your clothes!" The difference between male and female college experiences is astounding when it comes to social life. It is not fair that I do not feel safe going out by myself. It is not fair that I am restricted by the light of day. It is not fair that I can't party however much I want. It is not fair that I can't wear what makes me feel good simply because it might "attract" the wrong person.
Maybe instead of warning females, we should be teaching males how to respect women from a young age. Instead of advising me to always have a buddy, maybe we should be telling men that girls by themselves are not "easy targets." Instead of "don't go anywhere at night," we should be saying "the dark isn't a weapon." Instead of blaming me for wearing revealing clothing, we should be teaching guys that revealing clothing is not an invitation. Instead of teaching girls that they should always be on alert, we should be strengthening the consequences of rape and teaching men not to take advantage of a girl. Maybe we should be teaching men not to rape! It is not fair that my social experiences have been clouded by the fear of getting raped. It is not fair that I can't go out at night alone. It is not fair that I can't wear what I want and do what I want without having to be constantly worried about getting roofied or sexually assaulted.
Before concluding, I would just like to clarify that I am not ignoring the fact that there are many male victims and female assaulters. However, from my perspective as a female in college, the opposite is more relevant and statistically more common, which is why that is my focus.
So, until the indefinite time when society finally changes, you can find me during the day wearing conservative clothing with a buddy by my side, a Swiss Army knife on my keys, and pepper spray in my backpack.