Women Are Not Walking the Streets in Search of a Compliment

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Article by: Munira Hussein

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Every time I am out with my girlfriends, some sort of drama happens.  Always, it is because of our reaction to what men in the club or wherever out we are, insist on doing. They have this entitlement to us, and since we are almost always just us girls, the assumption is that we are seeking company. Male company. Which we are not. The trouble starts when we say we are okay on our own. They tell us we are not okay on our own, surely, we didn’t come out looking this good just to be with each other. The answer is always heck yeah! That was our entire plan.

We do this often, me and the girls, because we need each other’s company very often. We get asked a lot more than we’d like to answer, if we are lesbians, because we dance only with the other in the clubs, we eat out together, go swimming or whatever it is that we do on trips. In our  stimulating conversations about life, career, humanity, and womanhood, we discover new parts of life and ourselves. When we are together like that, we are happy, safe. We look out for each other, ensure that however drunk we get, we get home together, safe.

What we feel and what men think

What stands out often is the insecurity we feel when men are around in some unsolicited way. If for example, one of us is walking the streets and a bunch of guys are seated around the corner or are walking either in the same or opposite direction, we hold our breath and hope this is one of the good ones.

The conversations spiral into why it is that men, grown men with what you would expect, a fully formed brain, sit on the side of the roads and shout at women. Some man had at some point, said that they felt the need to appreciate the women. Tell them they are beautiful, and appreciate their form.

“Don’t you think we run into handsome men every day? See them on the streets?” why don’t we ever just so gently, touch their dicks, touch them, or call at them. I could stand on one side and ai papi and it’ll sound fun or he’ll enjoy it at first but it’ll get to him the next two, three times.” And it doesn’t matter to me if men actually never get uncomfortable being catcalled, because first of all, no one is doing it. The fact that we women do not like it is enough for them to stop doing it but then again, they seem to know better, what we need.

It does not make us feel better

We are not compliment-deprived and if you are touching us because you think we need you to, stop. I don’t know who it is that created this misinformation. We don’t need it, will never need it. The decency and civility to maybe, stop a person or politely compliment them is still acceptable, but it is okay if you don’t. We won’t starve to death, we won’t be emaciated, and we won’t look or feel less beautiful because you didn’t yell at us that we are beautiful. We appreciate the gesture, but pass.

The where and why

It also brought to attention, the fact that rarely if ever, do you see women or girls on the side of the road, just "chilling". A friend of mine made this observation and whenever we were going out of town together, which is often, we could count several groups of men in different locations, hanging around. We wondered often, where the women were at these times. Were they always busy or do they know better than to sit on the side of the roads or in verandas? It is this much free time on their hands that makes them think on behalf of women.

While male hawkers have over and over, violated women's space, female hawkers stay in their lane, and do their job. I asked some male friends of mine why it is that women are not dragging the men by their balls, to the merchandise when their male counterparts would pull our hair if they felt like it.

Still waiting for an answer.

What I know to be true, is there is only one reason. It is not lack of education, not illiteracy, not need, just entitlement and it hurts their ego to think that they are not as entitled as they think, or at all. Patriarchy has allowed men to own women even when they do not know them. Think of them first, as theirs, and then wait to be proven wrong so they can get mad about it. Well, here and now, you are already wrong. Let's skip to the anger.

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