The Sad Reality About #WhatIWishISaid
Politics and Activism

The Sad Reality About #WhatIWishISaid

There's a reason women are keeping their mouths shut

8
Pexels

As you may have seen online on International Women's Day, women around the world tweeted sexist scenarios that they have encountered alongside the hashtag #WhatIWishISaid. Just follow the hashtag, and you'll find a slew of examples:

"Just because I wear skirts, dresses and shorts doesn't mean you can whistle at me like a dog." - @mikkay

"'No, it's not because I have a boyfriend. I'm just not interested.'" - @georginamerhom

"I'm only laughing at your sexist jokes because you won't leave me alone and I have to be friendly, it's my job." - @JillySpach

By the huge number of tweets with this hashtag, it's evident that women leave a lot unsaid. International Women's Day is a great opportunity to make those statements clear, but will it actually change how we respond to situations as they happen? In certain scenarios, maybe. But when you really think about it, there's a reason we leave things unsaid.

Fear.

I don't have enough fingers to count how many times I've been whistled or yelled at on the street, but I've never said anything in response. Why you ask? Well, it's because of the way my stomach drops -- the way it twists and shrinks in on itself when I think of worst-case scenarios. What if I make some sort of retort and that guy has a gun? What if he shoots me? What if he abducts me or rapes me? So, I stare straight ahead every time. I continue walking, praying that he doesn't follow.

Similarly, women are hesitant to be frank about whether or not they're interested in someone. When a creepy guy expresses interest, rather than simply saying I'm not interested, I'll come up with an excuse (i.e. the time-old boyfriend excuse). Why can't we just be honest? Why can't we just say we're not interested? Again, it comes down to fear, and another flood of worst-case scenarios. What if I hurt his feelings? What if he gets angry and drugs me? What if he stalks me and tries to murder me because I said I'm not interested? You get the point.

And we don't just fear for our lives. We also fear for our jobs. According to The Huffington Post, "one in three women has experienced sexual harassment at work at some point [in] their lives." The article goes on to reveal that of the surveyed women who said they'd been sexually harassed at work, "29 percent reported the issue while 71 percent did not." In other words, a majority of women are choosing to keep their mouths shut. In this case, the lack of action resides in the fear of being fired, or the fear of not getting that promotion even though you're more qualified than your male counterpart. We do everything we can to avoid lessening our chances of further success. We often decide not to call out higher-ups when they make sexist comments or inappropriately invade our personal bubbles because they're the ones who make the decisions. We try not to mention children because it might be perceived as a distraction from work.

As a result, we torment over what we should have, could have said or done. And, as of right now, I think we're going to keep tormenting over those thoughts. That is, until we no longer live in this state of perpetual fear. That is, until we feel safe.

I won't feel safe until parents teach their sons to respect women -- to treat us as the human beings we are, rather than as objects. I won't feel safe until parents teach their daughters to support other women rather than tear them down. I won't feel safe until more people stand up to sexist behavior, men included.

Then -- maybe then -- we'll say what we wish we would have said.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Lifestyle

Founders Of Color Q&A: Yarlap's MaryEllen Reider On Destigmatizing Women's Health

The father-daughter duo co-founded the brand and has since generated a passionate, dedicated community of women.

MaryEllen Reider

I was lucky enough to meet MaryEllen Reider over a decade ago as a fellow freshman in college. Since then, I had the luxury of being able to witness her evolution from the faithful companion I went to my first job fair with to the woman who is now a pioneer in destigmatizing the portrayal of women's reproductive health.

Keep Reading... Show less

My favorite Editor was feeling under the weather yesterday. All I wanted was to make her a vegan iced matcha latte. With distance forbidding it, I instead decided to write up this quick, easy recipe. I made it to be vegan and organic for optimal health benefits.

Matcha green tea is made from grounded green tea leaf and it comes with the most antioxidant boost ever.

Keep Reading... Show less

This coffee brand is USDA organic. Newman's Own Keurig coffee flavors are all organic. They have French Roast, Decaf, and a Special Blend. I'm in a committed relationship with the French Roast flavor. The smell alone from dispensing 1 cup of coffee sets a whole cafe jazz vibe.

I'm already relaxed when I smell the coffee all ready for dressing. The way I make my coffee is simple and sweet, literally. I add a spoon of organic brown sugar and a splash of organic almond vanilla milk. This cup of coffee has changed my life forever. I have never been so productive in my life and I truly believe it's because the coffee is organic.

Keep Reading... Show less

These organic, cruelty-free skincare products are great for hot, sweaty summers. I use them every day, so you will find my honest opinion about them all. I highly recommend using organic products because they are least likely to be harmful to your body.

This may seem like an extra step when it comes to your beauty routine, but it's really easy. These 5 products could be the start of your next beauty venture.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

These 5 Black Handbag Designers Should Be On Every Accessory Lover's Radar

With the push to support more Black-owned businesses, we've put together a list of Black owned handbag designers.

Ever since the current upheaval of societal silence happening in the country caused by the #BlackLivesMatter movement, there has been a bigger push for people to support Black-owned businesses.

Granted, there are a lot fo Black-owned businesses to support, it just takes time to find them. With that being said, fashion is a sector, just like any sector really, in a culture that still has people of color calling out for more diversity.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Feel A Lil' Better: Because Therapy Dogs Aren't Just Cute, They're Working

Your weekly wellness boost from Odyssey.

No matter how good (or bad) you'd describe your health, one thing is for sure: a little boost is ALWAYS a good idea. Whether that's reading a new, motivating book, or listening to a song that speaks to your soul, there are plenty of resources to help your health thrive on any given day.

There are many different ways people overcome obstacles in their lives. Thankfully, the stigma surrounding therapy is slowly (but surely) slipping away and we're opening up about our problems and needs. For some, a good workout is just as relaxing. Others are learning how meditation can be a helpful tool in their mental health journey.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments