ENTITLEMENT - Why I'm a Feminist

Image of a woman sat on a train-station platform with the word entitlement written on it.

(Trigger Warning - Abuse) The other day I was on the train. As the doors closed, a man and two women stood in the walkway. They did not know each other. As the train took off to a gentle start the man dramatically fell into the two women, touching them inappropriately. He knew exactly what he was doing, so did the women. He then proceeded to verbally harass the two women who repeatedly told him to leave them alone, by this time his friends had also joined him on the train. Finally they shouted at him to leave them alone (the two women handled the situation extremely well). His final remark was ‘well when they wear clothes like that, what do they expect?’.
Entitlement is the belief that women owe men something (usually sexual).
We see this played out in a hundred fairy-tales and stories. The knight (or plumber) rescues the princess and they live happily ever after. There is never a question of whether she is attracted to him.
We continue to see this still in so many films ('How to tame your dragon' being a prime example). The main character (usually unpopular), fancies the most popular girl, she doesn’t know he exists, he then proves himself to her and they fall in love. So when men try to ‘win the hearts’ of women and get rejected, their like ‘well this isn’t right, she's supposed to be into me now’.
When we begin to analyse social constructs like this it starts to make sense of statistics, for example most women who are sexually abused, are abused by people that they know.
Now, if your thinking to yourself ‘I know nobody who thinks like that’, there are several things that we need to bear in mind.
1. Within a social construct there are many narratives that run along side one another, and some of these conflict with one another. So while we have narratives that reinforce rape culture, we also have narratives that vilify it.
2. Social constructs run beneath the fabric of our every day lives, woven into our world view. Most people don’t scrutinise every aspect of everything that we do every day, we do it because it is a cultural norm, we can't see it, until it is pointed out to us (and even then we struggle to believe it).
We must be those people that challenge harmful narratives, we must be those people that tell better narratives. My partner recently went on a march through leeds city centre at night time, to speak up for the safety of women. One of the chants went like this: ‘whatever we wear, wherever we go, yes means yes, and no means no’.

May we be those that challenge harmful narratives, may we be those that scrutinise the fabric of our society, and may we be those that tell new narratives of hope and respect.

For an interesting look at entitlement, I highly recommend this video by Laci Green and for a response to entitlement culture I highly recommend this TedTalk by Jackson Katz.


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