One time, in PE theory we were talking, I wasn’t, about gay people in schools and workplaces and all that and one boy, sitting in the front row, a white, short, freckled boy with a girlfriend who he adores, piped up and argued that having a gay boy in the locker room would be really uncomfortable for him, because he would be scared of being ogled or something worse. This continued to a gay PE teacher, making it all the more dramatic because a PE teacher would be bigger than them and able to overpower them, thus making it scarier (my class has not yet figured out that being gay, a male, and a teacher did not make you a pedophile). Of course this was all followed by “but I’m not a homophobic, my best friend’s gay”, I really don’t know where all these gay best friends come from, but everyone seems to have one. I think they get them imported or something.
Other than the males in my class unable to differentiate homosexuality from pedophilia it made me think about being a female and having people who may or may not be sexually attracted to you with the power to overpower you and take what you aren’t giving all around you. It’s a constant threat even in the most domestic places. Schools, workplaces, on the train, walking down the street, half of the population is walking around with a metaphorical gun and their isn’t any shortage of bullets.
And, as a female, you have to think, is this not teaching you something, my young straight male friend? Have you not thought about this? Of course, the answer is no, because it’s not thought about that much. The large majority of men would not choose to attack someone smaller and weaker than them, but then again, there is a reason that the term stranger danger exists. It is seared into young minds all over the world; frantic parents and teachers who are aware of the minority in the world cover up shoulders and legs and fuss, children are warned of white vans and people with fanciful stories, it must all be there for a reason?
And, you know, it’s the little things that make you scared, the little things that you won’t talk to any one about, because it doesn’t count. It’s the looking, it’s the catcalls, it’s the grown ups and their dress codes, it’s the leaning too close, it’s the arm around your shoulders, it’s really small things, the really small things that leave you thinking ‘does that count?’ and ‘are you sure he’s doing it on purpose?’
And the truth is, it doesn’t, it doesn’t count, because it’s expected. Males cannot be trusted not to look, they cannot be trusted to not to do the little things, they’re incapable, they’re a slave to their hormones, it’s a fact of life, men are all animals, obviously. So instead of teaching boys how to treat a lady and how not breach the bubble we teach girls to pretend not to be a female and how to hide the fact that they are, in fact, wearing a bra.