Men these days don't see the power they have over women. I'm going to tell y'all a story about, let's call him Cam, and how he felt he had more rights to my space that I did.
I was sitting in class and Cam was sitting on the complete opposite side. I heard rumors about him being very pushy and forward, but hadn't experienced it myself, so I kept a pretty neutral opinion of him, until my professors assigned us partners to work with. I got assigned to work with Cam for the rest of the class. So I looked to see if he was going to come to me (I had space next to me) but he didn't move, so I got up to got to him (nbd). I sit next to him and begin to start on our assignment, to which he barely participates in. And honestly, that worked for me because I am an independent worker anyways.
So, there I am sitting there doing the assignment when he moves his arm onto my desk. I was perplexed, but studies show men feel entitled to more space than women so I brushed it off. His arm wasn't really bothering me...except it was. Why are you on my desk, in my space? I thought it to be very rude and scooched my desk over, trying to be subtle. Nope, it did nothing. Then he begins to stare at me, odd behavior yes, but not a crime. I brush my hair (which luckily is super thick and long) over my shoulder to hide my face. He then has the audacity to move my hair out of my face. He touched my hair without permission. He was on my desk without permission. He begins hitting on me, even with all my fuck off signals. When he touched my hair I told him not to touch me. He was like, "but you're so pretty, I just wanted to see you."
Here's the problem, my teachers also saw him doing all this stuff...and did nothing to help me. They did nothing but stare. I was on the very edge of my seat, leaning away and they made me sit by him for the rest of the class. I even complained to a friend, after class in front of them. They still did nothing.
And what can I do? Nothing. Because men feel as if they have more rights over space and your own body than you do.
Men feel as though they have more rights over my space (a woman's space) than I do. It's crazy. You can't even always blame the man because it's been conditioned into them. I have to tell my boyfriend ALL the time that he's being domineering. He gets so upset and apologizes. He doesn't even realize it until I point it out though. Cam wouldn't care if I pointed it out. My boyfriend does because he says it helps him grow and learn as a person and as a man, but not all men care about learning and women's experience.
And I know what guys are going to say...not all men do what you are describing, but here's a new fun fact for you.
It's all women.
Every single one of us had or will have an experience like this, where men try to dominate you. They try to make you passive. And sadly, I fell into it with Cam. I didn't make a scene. or correct him like I did with my boyfriend. Even the next day, when Cam ran to catch up with me and talk to me, I just walked slightly ahead, silent. I wish I would've told him that he was walking too close, that he was invading my personal space. But I didn't.
So here's my thesis or point of this whole story...act against this kind of behavior. I promise you when I see him next and he's getting in my space, I'll tell him and explain why it's wrong. I won't be passive, I'll be active and I'll stand up for myself, taking my space and body back.
No man will ever make me feel small, choice-less, and less than him again. It already happened with a boy a few years ago, I won't continue to let Cam make me feel like that.
And neither should you, because women are equal and deserve just as much as men, and that includes space.