Why I Don't Smile More
TRIGGER WARNING: This article discusses sexual abuse and violence. If you are someone triggered by these topics we want to advise you this topic is discussed in detail during this article.
Doesn’t it suck to be so fearful and anxious all the time? Right now in 2019, i f you’re a woman there’s a chance, and a very high one, that these feelings plague you. How screwed is it that in this world we always have to be on guard, always have to watch our backs, always having to clutching our keys in between our fingers when we walk home, “just incase”?
From my own past experiences of assault and harassment, and especially after the #MeToo Movement, my demeanor and the way I handle scary harassment situations has drastically changed. If I’m in public and am not fearful for my immediate safety, instead of being the docile woman society wants me to be and ignoring the abuse, I make a scene and call that person out.
Why? Because I’m done putting up with cat calls. I’m done putting up with harassment. I’m done listening to sexist comments. And I’m done being sexually objectified.
A story i’m sure we can all relate too
A few weeks ago I had spent the day at the lake and left wearing normal lake clothes: a swim suit and sundress. On my way home I stopped by Fred Myers for dinner, while there I noticed I was being followed by a strange man. He was following me for a few minutes but since it was a grocery store I gave him the benefit of the doubt. After a while I needed to cross the entire store to go to the frozen section, he followed me there. When I got to the first aisle I immediately turned around because I realized I was in the wrong aisle. When I turned around he bumped into me - that’s how close he was. I went to another aisle and he followed me there too. I went to a third aisle, he followed me there too.
To recap: Within thirty seconds he had followed me, right behind me, to three separate aisles. At this point I turned around to see him staring at me and giving me a creepy smile, so I began to yell at him. I told him not to fucking follow me and to stop being a creep. He then acted surprised and grabbed the first thing in front of him claiming he was getting an item from the freezer - mind you he had no basket or shopping cart. I then proceeded to tell him I’m not stupid and to leave me the fuck alone, he walked away. But of course not even 10 seconds later, I saw him walking back and forth past the aisle I was still in, staring at me with no items to purchase in his hands.
Be Safe, Be Aware
Luckily in this situation, I made sure he wasn’t following me when I left and called my mom to stay on the phone with me until I made it home. I don’t have a car and have to walk or take public transit, so when things like this happen I can’t just get in my car and drive away. The most fucked up thing about this is I consider myself lucky that he didn’t further pursue me - what a scary thought! It’s absolutely terrifying to think I’m lucky because the guy who harassed me at the grocery store didn’t follow me home.
The Stats are staggering
Men are scary. Not all, but many. Situations like this and worse happen countless times a day. The National Domestic Violence Hotline published an eye opening overview of domestic violence statistics and just how common this is.
On average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States — more than 12 million women and men over the course of a year.
One in 6 women (16.2%) and 1 in 19 men (5.2%) in the United States have experienced stalking victimization at some point during their lifetime in which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed (by any perpetrator).
Regardless of if you have been, are, or aren’t affected by this toxic masculinity, how do we change this? The answer may seem simple but I can assure you this takes a lot of practice and courage — we must ACT.
Action and education Is Needed
Any and all times we wish to see change in our lives or society, action is needed. In this case, the best place to begin is by speaking out against behavior that supports toxic masculinity. The next time a man catcalls you or someone you know makes an ‘off comment’, CALL THEM OUT. How will they learn if no one ever corrects them? How will we change the world if we don’t begin holding people accountable for their words and their actions?
Working and participating in the cannabis industry, we have the opportunity to change the status quo and hold this industry to higher standards than those that have existed for years. In this new industry, we have a chance to say what is right and moral and what we will not stand for. This unique opportunity is one that no other industry has, we must use this to change the cannabis industry for the better. Maybe the rest of the world would have a shot then too.
This means in the dispensaries we visit and in the companies we work for, we must call out the behaviors that are not acceptable. This will require great strength, courage and practice to stand up and speak out, but know that you are supported and you are changing the world, even if it doesn’t feel like it. This means at trade shows, where women are drastically outnumbered by men. We need to remind those men and women who further the patriarcal message and pull sexist moves that its not ok.. We need to inform the brands that still hire ‘booth babes’ and sexualize women that its not ok. We need to stand up and say enough is enough. So I ask that you speak up and stand with me as we smash the patriarchy.