This is going to be a rant, because I’m utterly pissed off!! I’ve decided that men are bad for my mental health. If I felt better, I would have walked off some of my irate feelings towards Florida’s abortion ban proposal in the Women’s March over the weekend. Besides governing women’s bodies, the downright creepiness and entitlement from men makes my stomach turn. We are not property, but we are being treated as such. As a patriarchal society, women are in constant battle protecting ourselves, while the same people making the laws continue violating our rights and our bodies.
Worse is when the men close to us contribute to the damage.
Not too long ago, a male acquaintance sent me a photo of myself, but my face looked strange. At first, I didn’t recognize it was me until I saw the clothing. Confused, I wondered if someone used my photos for something devious and changed my face. Even more confused, I wondered how this photo was accessed, because I’d never sent it to anyone, and it was only posted briefly about a year or more ago. Since a couple of women I know were complaining recently about their photos on Instagram being stolen and used on the OnlyFans website to promote porn, I thought maybe it was happening to me.
“That’s my body, but not my face. What is this about?” I demanded.
In return, he sent a series of screenshots with more of my photos, but they were all distorted and my face looked severely filtered, mostly unrecognizable. I realized these were photos I posted on social media over the years (or on stories that are only available for 24 hours), but I had removed many of them a long time ago. None of them were recent. That meant whomever was using these photos had been saving them for a very long time. I was really creeped out.
That’s when the acquaintance said, “You would look good as a blonde.”
He’s the one. He’s the one who put my photos in an app to change my appearance – to make me blonde? What the fuck? He’s been saving all of my social media photos for the PAST FEW YEARS??! Oh. My. God.
Violated. Sickened. Nauseated. Panicked. Confused. Anxious. Scared.
If women can’t even post a normal photo of our smiling faces without a man violating us, turning everything into something sexual for his pleasure, there is clearly something wrong with men our society.
I was so stunned by this, my reaction was to simply ask, “You’ve saved my old photos? That’s weird.” To which he ignored and started talking about something else. Instead, I should have asked, “How does your wife feel about you keeping photos of other women on your phone?” But of course, you never think of what to really say until much later.
The acquaintance and I have stopped communicating. After that un-confrontation, I removed every single photo I could find of myself online – which is a fucking tedious, time-sucking task if you have long timelines. As I was deleting photos one by one, I could feel my anger boil with every scroll, scroll, scroll, click, click, delete. Repeat.
With each scroll and click and delete, I thought something along the lines of: I’m sick of having to protect myself in places that should be safe! I shouldn’t feel violated for posting a normal photo of myself on a good day when I’m not experiencing depression. Why are you turning one actual, rare happy moment of my life into your jack-off material? Shitty people ruin innocent things, and you’re a shitty person! So many people out there, just like you. I cannot believe there are this many creepy ass men in this world! You fuckers ruin everything!!! The patriarchy supports this behavior, and they suck! You suck, too, and you make everything else suck! A bunch of sucky creeps!!! You should all have your dicks cut off! Suck off!
I know I’m not alone in this men being creeps saga. Men have made social media and dating apps completely undesirable to women, because of their horrific behavior. Numerous women have experienced harassment and abuse online just for being a woman online, and it never seems to end! This isn’t just a problem in the United States; this is worldwide! So, yeah, it’s not just me, because men are creeps everywhere.
It’s truly depressing when the only interaction I get is shitty. This healing process has been really tough, although my limiting physical issues are helping to serve my isolation. I have isolated myself to the point I rarely interact with other people, and if I do, it’s very brief. When something negative, creepy, or unpleasant happens, I isolate myself more. If someone doesn’t have my phone number, they’re probably not getting in touch with me. Some friends keep reminding me that it’s unhealthy to be so isolated, but when 80% of my outer interactions are unpleasant, I feel it’s better for mental health. These interactions cause so much anxiety, it’s just not worth it. I just want to be happy, and none of this bullshit is even close to helping!
If we can’t even trust the men we already know or are somewhat acquainted, who can we trust?
A friend from out of town visited earlier this year. For my birthday, he sent me a gift certificate and told me he wants a photo of me wearing what I buy (insinuating something sexy). Although I thanked him for the gift certificate, I didn’t think his demand for a photo was something a nice guy does. Besides, I’m not his girlfriend.
Later, I let my friend know how I felt about the situation. Who the fuck gives a gift, then demands something in return? He admitted he was oblivious to the way his intention sounded, apologized, and said he didn’t mean it that way. Like so many other men, he was brought up to act a certain way towards women. And like so many other men, he is completely unaware of the way he acts – because this is normal in our society. Although I feel his apology was sincere, I also think he’s oblivious to many things he does and says, which makes him seem like a dick most of the time. (And I told him so, because I’m an honest friend.)
All of this gave me a very uncomfortable feeling. I noticed a pattern of men I’ve dated who have treated me like a business transaction. If they do X for me, and even if I didn’t ask for it, I must do Y for them. If I did ask for something, I better be damned sure to return the favor, whether I want to or not. Since they are nice guys, them being nice means we must be nice to them back – which means giving them what they want – even if we don’t want to. Always make the man happy by giving him what he wants, which is usually sexual in nature. Unfortunately, in our patriarchal society, this is how many of us are brought up – which means this is completely normal to many people.
And the cycle continues.
Another strictly platonic male friend in a “situationship” showed his true colors earlier this year. He is well-aware of all of my issues, because we talk about things. For his own selfish reasons, he suggested for us to hook up, which is one of the most insane things he could say to me. Since there was never any indication I had any interest in him whatsoever – and never have – I am really beginning to wonder what fucking planet these guys are from! Most of all, the feeling he’s been pretending to be my friend for years and waited for the opportunity to ask me that was disappointing, even sickening. If he was really my friend, then he would know I am not mentally prepared to enter into anything – no relationships, no friends-with-benefits, no hookups – and it’s looking like I can’t even have a male friend anymore. Now that I’m sober, I see right through him. How insensitive, gross, and selfish. Shortly after that incident, my so-called friend stopped communicating with me.
Do men think just because we speak to them, it means we want to have sex with them? Or if we post photos of ourselves on social media, it’s okay for our male friends to use as jerk-off fantasy material? Or because we happen to be single, we are supposed to be available for them?
Having these types of incidents happen during a time I’m going through a healing process takes a toll on me both emotionally and physically. Besides continuing to deal with undiagnosed health issues, an incompetent doctor, and waiting for the transfer of my PCP, depression is still present every single day. Waking up every single day feeling like physical shit takes a toll on mental health. And finding out my male friends are creeps doesn’t make me feel any safer in the world.
So, yeah. I think men are bad for my mental health at this moment.
I have no words. I’d like to apologise for my gender but it would not be enough.
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