3.4

Why this Text Warrants More Attention than just a Bitter Instagram Post.

Author's own (Kayla Dreisinger)

Opening up a conversation about body-shaming and personal boundaries.

Alright, you read it. You read that nasty horrible text and probably feel just as disgusted and down as I did.

This is assuming, you could understand the text.

It took me 20 minutes and multiple searches on Urban Dictionary to figure out what this man was saying (check out my text-translation guide at the bottom). All arguments require context and I will now do my best to share the backstory of this interaction.

As a recent Austin, Texas transplant I was cruising the streets solo one evening during SXSW (a world-renowned music, film, and tech festival). I overheard the conversation of two men walking behind me, and laughed when one of them made a joke. I ended up joining their group for a meal and some hip-hop music afterward.

As the music went on, the man that texted the above started kissing my neck and grabbing my thigh. I felt uncomfortable and asked him to stop. He wouldn’t stop, so I left to join another friend sitting a couple tables back. After following me to the back, I politely and directly informed him that no, I did not want to f*ck him tonight and I had no interest in furthering our relationship. He continued to argue, complimenting my body, claiming he just wanted to chill…so on and so forth. He was not taking no for an answer so I decided to leave the bar. After following me out to 6th street, I actually had to draw attention to us by raising my voice to yell, “I’m leaving,” and literally ran away from him.

Before our interaction escalated, I had shared my number with him and another woman in the group. After that night, he had sent me several texts over the course of the week to which I didn’t reply. Alas, on this beautiful Wednesday morning, I woke up to the above text and immediately felt shocked and disgusted. I am thankful that I was strong enough to walk (run) away from this bully of a man. I am thankful that I value my body and soul and get to choose every single day who I share myself with, where I allow intimacy to grow.

I posted the above screenshot on Instagram saying, “Wishing this man would take some advice from @justinbeiber and learn to #loveyourself.” I had a momentary feeling of victory but soon realized, this is still so not okay with me! Lifting myself up by putting him down is exactly what he was trying to do to me. We all know being shut down does not feel good and so I deleted my post.

I chose instead to write to elephant journal.

I chose to voice my opinions with the hope of creating a dialogue around these issues and inspire positive change. This goes beyond him and me and speaks to a much larger reality that women face every single day, this being just one minor example of the way a woman was made to feel ashamed about herself by a man.

Why does this man feel entitled to sex from me and react monstrously when politely rejected? Why should he be allowed to make me feel insecure about where I set my personal boundaries? Why does he assume that my life revolves around sex and if I’m not engaging in oral sex with him, I must be doing so with someone else? Why should I be made to “show appreciation” because this man decided to talk to me “despite” my physical appearance?

Although interactions like this are both enraging and confusing, I don’t think that engaging with him further would make any changes to our situation. I don’t have the answers to the above questions—if you do, I’m all ears! I do, however, believe that exposing, writing and discussing this type of negative interaction can lead to social change. That both genders need to take responsibility for themselves and the way we treat people.

~

Text Translation Guide (via Urban Dictionary):

Cornball = “One who tries to be cool, but doesn’t see just how uncool he really is… “

SMH = shaking my head

Dickridin’ = “Sucking up to; to be someone’s b*tch or make yourself look inferior to someone, just to earn their respect or get something tangible in return.”

Culture vulture = “Someone who steals traits, language and/or fashion from another ethnic or social group in order to create their own identity.”

 

Author: Kayla Dreisinger

Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Author’s own

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Heather Apr 11, 2016 12:48pm

Ah rejection. Yes it stings, no matter what. I think the questions you're asking in your post are an attempt to rationalize or explain his wrong behavior. He was trying to get your attention, and after a few days of no responses from you, he used this tactic and it worked. He got your attention in a big way, on not one but two websites. That's not a criticism. It's good that you brought this out into the open; this is an aspect of human behavior that should be discussed.

This is how I have responded in similar situations:
"Your behavior is unacceptable. Trying to pass judgment on me is not going to work. I own a mirror so I know what I look like, no matter what colorful words you choose to describe me. Also, I did not reject you because I'm too good for you or vice versa, I rejected you because I had no attraction for you. The mutual spark that is needed just simply was not there. Rejection stings, I get that, but by rejecting you, I freed you up to seek and hopefully find someone that does have that mutual spark."

What this accomplishes: being honest about the situation in a constructive way, standing up for myself without putting the other person down, and pointing out a silver lining on rejection and perhaps taking some of the sting out of it. Of course this isn't the only way to respond, but I think it's better than responding in ways that only continue the cycle of bad behavior.

Wendy Apr 9, 2016 7:48am

You bruised his ego and now he’s acting like a spoilt little boy. Laugh and keep going.

gypsywandering Apr 9, 2016 6:02am

This is about people not having the strength to look at themselves. People, men and women, often like to think of themselves as good people, but then ignore the parts of their behaviour that don’t match the idea of the good person they are, and when you point it out to them (because you are a victim of the not-good-person side of them), they blame it on you rather than own their own mistake. Perhaps it is because they don’t want to lose the idea of themselves they have, yet want to benefit from what they get by not behaving according to their idea of themselves. Really messed up thinking. But it’s alarmingly common. Both men and women behave like this to one another, but when man does it to a woman, in the context of wanting sex, the fear of rape, the man’s physical power over the woman, is also an often unspoken threat. What Jason says is right – we are not going to change this. Society is not set up to even be wanting to change this type of behaviour, and in fact, seems set up to be encouraging ideas of self image rather than exploration of what each person truly is.

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Kayla Dreisinger

Kayla Dreisinger continually struggles with self-definition and thus believes she is all and nothing simultaneously. Having recently left Colorado, Kayla is currently located in Austin, Texas were she spends her days working on an aquaponics farm and geeking out over code. You can often find her jamming out to live music or trail running with her pup. Forever on her feet. Forever free. Follow her adventures on Instagram.