You don’t have to be a misogynist to do something misogynist

If I highlight your behaviour, please don’t get defensive with me

Yes, we are still friends. No, what you did was still creepy and sexist. No, that doesn’t mean you are a bad person. Yes, I know you are a nice guy. Just stop, please

Literally cannot deal with your notallmanning

Welcome to the Madelaine Agenda. Today we will be discussing Things-My-Male-Friends-Do-That-Piss-Me-Off. Also, this is about MY friends.

Not All Men, Not Every Man, Not You. Shut up, sir. This is my space to talk. Write your own list if your feelings are seriously hurt. And don’t tell me I just have ‘shit male friends’ or ‘bad experiences’ because most women have had at least one of these happen to her.

1. Stop touching me sexually and pretending you aren’t.

When you slip your hand around my waist or graze my neck or ass, I know exactly what you are doing. I don’t say anything, because it is awkward as fuck, but this irritates so many woman. There’s a reason you are my friend and not my boyfriend. I don’t want to get physical with you. Quit it. It makes me so uncomfortable and it irritates me that you feel entitled to my own body and sexuality. And when I ask you to stop, don’t deny it and say it was just a hug. I’m not a moron, I know where your hands were. Oh stop sulking and just stop.

2. Stop pretending I’m your girlfriend.

Don’t say ‘yes darling’ loudly in the queue at Starbucks to impress the cashier. I know exactly what you are doing. And when you hug me for ages in front of your cool male colleagues. And when you sit really close to me in the cinema so you get street cred. It’s weird and I feel like a doll you show off in public. I’m not a trophy.

3. Never ask me out.

Never never never. If I have said, repeatedly, that I like you as a friend, please don’t pursue it. You won’t wear me down. Unless I’m flirting with you, just don’t. I get enough creeps without my friends hitting on me. Stop. I like you. I don’t LIKE you. If I’ve made it super clear it’s not going to get sexual, drop it like it’s hot.

4. Stop telling me what I’m allowed to talk about with you.

I. Am. Not. Your. Parrot. If you find feminism or women’s rights boring, fuck right off, I’m not the girl for you. If you find it disinteresting, just talk to me less or steer conversations away. Don’t sit there telling me how offended you are that I brought up ‘feminazi stuff’ over coffee. Because while it’s boring for you, it’s a daily battle for me. My experiences are quotidian and I will challenge them. If you aren’t my friend or find me dull, there are plenty of other people out there.

5. Don’t ask me very sexual questions.

I know you are hard. I know what guys do at 3am when talking to girls about their favourite sexy encounters. I know you aren’t interested in my relationship with my ex girlfriend beyond a quick erection. You make me feel awkward and I feel humiliated and small being sexualised by you. You are my friend. Know your limits.

6. When I tell you you’ve crossed a line, swallow your pride and don’t challenge me.

When you groped me, that was crossing a line. It wasn’t ‘an accident’ or ‘a mistake’. Just say sorry and stop. When you got too sexual and pushy with me over WhatsApp, it wasn’t a ‘misunderstanding’ or me ‘over reacting’. Just say sorry and stop. When you made that rape joke…just stop. I shouldn’t have to explain to my friends why the above is wrong. Stop.

7. Stop touching me sexually. SERIOUSLY. Again. Why didn’t you stop?

Again with the long hugs and low hands, ew.

8. I’m not your future girlfriend. Stop pretending to be my friend.

Don’t be friends with me if the condition is that I fuck you at some point. I won’t. It really hurts me when all you want is pussy and I really thought you liked hanging out with me.

9. No, you can’t be my friend with benefits. Drop it.

When I say no, never mention it again. I won’t change my mind.

10. I’m not sending you nudes for fun.

a) No girl does that b) stop sexualising me c) Stop

Anthropologist with an awful lot to say about everything. Opinions entirely my own. Usually. madelaine@madelainehanson.co.uk

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