Owning My Body

Yesterday I was waiting to cross the street and a woman grabbed my arm. “Are you trying to cross the street?” she says to me. It is the physical touch of a stranger to which I respond. ‘Please don’t touch me” I say in a polite voice.  It was also a weird kind of grab, she didn’t go for my elbow, but for my left hand, trying to lace her fingers between mine to guide me across the street like a child. And instead of reacting politely and apologizing for the invasion of my space…

She yelled at me for not letting her touch my arm saying I was “ungrateful”. As though my polite rejection of her invasion was rude.  It was rude to grab me without asking.

I want to remind people that they own themselves because so often we forget.

Socially we need to accept that we do not own one another. We own ourselves.

Women’s bodies especially are consistently given up to society without a thought. Young girls are taught to give hugs when asked – because feelings will get hurt if they don’t offer up their bodies to appease people they do not know. Women are encouraged to be pure, yet we’re also told simultaneously that we have to put out in order to keep our partners happy. Physicality becomes a currency by which we can trade for emotional happiness.

It isn’t rude to own your body. It isn’t rude to say you don’t wish to be touched. It IS rude to force people to interact with you physically.

Social situations often demand physical affection – but we shouldn’t be forced into it because of social obligation – we should be able to give physical affection because we want to.

Physical touch should not be currency. End of story.

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2 Comments

Filed under Disability Issues, Feminism

2 responses to “Owning My Body

  1. Nicely done! I was just trying to explain this to my husband, and he was dumbfounded. Did not understand AT ALL when I was telling him that, if our daughter doesn’t want to hug him, then she doesn’t NEED to hug him. I left the mysogyny part out of it.. saved for another discussion, but he was unable to wrap his head around it. >.< Ahhh, the daily struggle of being a feminist and never getting your point across. 😉

    Love your blog!

  2. A Black Lace Rose

    I know I’m a wee bit late to the party, but the first time I met my husband’s ex wife, she gave him this long, body pressed, VERY inappropriate hug (she’s married mind you, we were engaged at the time), my husband looked very uncomfortable, and I was livid (but held my emotions back) and she had the nerve to come up to me, and tell me, to tell my husband that it was ok to hug her. First of all, NO, it sure as hell was not ok with me, and secondly, I am not going to tell my HUSBAND, a GROWN MAN, what his boundaries are. The whole thing was just infuriating… Body boundaries are very important.

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