Text by Flis Mitchell
“Women have served all these centuries as looking glasses possessing the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of man at twice its natural size.”
I know that when you look at me, you think it’s for you. Or all men. Or any men who want to look.
That’s why the Hijab makes you so angry, it’s the withdrawal of consent, for viewing. When it is your right to see all of a woman. At all times. She exists, only in front of you. Only for you.
A million websites and articles tell you. That you can approach her at any time. You know this won’t often, or ever lead to sex. But you like the opportunity, to penetrate their spaces. Making them aware of you, watching the effect that you have, play out.
A million websites and articles tell you, her hesitation isn’t fear, anxiety or outrage. But a test of your masculinity. Will you be confident enough to dominate this situation? Your right to have a girl give you attention, trumps any social prohibitions.
Nothing matters but your desire to have attention. You might not get her to talk to you, but she’s looking, she’s looking at you.
If, as an article suggests, you grab her wrist as she starts to walk away from you - as a test of your masculinity (not her desire to be free of you) (she has no desires, except responses, and reactions to you) if you grab her wrist.
She may feel like this is the start of an assault, or a rape. But don’t worry. Did she look at you, did you get her attention? Your inability to read her body language heightens her fear, her breathing is short. She looks for escape routes, she wonders (briefly, stupidly, but it flashes in her mind) if the flowers at her funeral will be white.
But did you get her attention? The attention she owes you?
She’s been coached, from a young age to be polite, quiet, and sweet.
She’s so used to de-escalating street harassment, that you get a false sense, that your behaviour is acceptable. But you know, do you know, it’s not acceptable.
Like when you message girls on dating sites and your conversation starts:
You know this won’t often, or ever lead to sex. But you like the opportunity, to penetrate their spaces. This isn’t about getting dates, this about getting to say violent things to women. You can’t admit that.
Culture tells you that everything a woman does is for you. Her makeup, must be for men. Her clothes. For men. Her hair. For men. Her shoes. For men.
She is all for men. Why would she do anything for herself. What is a woman’s self? Except a thing for men.
That’s why its legitimate to approach her at all times, because everything about her for men, you are a man. So it must be for you. And if it’s not for you, it must be for another man. Her refusal is a personal slight:
You switch to outraged aggression:
Fuck you bitch, fuck you slut, fuck you whore, fuck you.
There is violence in this language.
But there is violence in this whole process, so no one is surprised.
I am here to tell you. Despite what you hear,
That nothing about me is for you.
All your thoughts are irrelevant to me.
Men are irrelevant to me.
I am no longer your mirror.
Nothing about me is for you.