On relationships as defense

Dear Dad,

You know one of the major reasons I’m a feminist? Because I still have to use the “Sorry, I have a boyfriend,” excuse for defense, whether it’s true or not.

Plenty of women, like me, know that when a man is hitting on you, the best way to stop his unwanted advances is not “No, thank you” or “I’m not interested” but instead “Sorry, I have a boyfriend.” Because these men give more respect to other men than they do to women. I have to pretend I am someone else’s property instead of having my own lack of interest respected.

And since I’ve started writing publicly about feminism, I’ve had multiple men insinuate or flat out say that I clearly would prefer men to never look at me again, or that I don’t understand human attraction, or that I’ll be single forever.

Even Washington Post jumped into the fray, in a recent op-ed advocating that if women want to be safe, they need to get married and have babies.

My relationship status is irrelevant, in both the pick-up situation and online. What is relevant is that I, as a woman, deserve to be treated as more than a sexual object. I am not a piece of property; I am an autonomous human being. I am not drawing a line in the sand saying no man should ever look at me again. I am saying that when he does, he looks at me not as some tits and ass, but as another person deserving of respect.

It’s that simple.

When I speak out against catcalling, sexual harassment, gender discrimination, body policing, sexual assault, etc., it’s because these things strip women of their rights to be free human beings operating with respect and a reasonable assumption of safety.

My relationship status is for me, and whomever I’m dating. And to all the critics, it really shouldn’t matter.

Love you,



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