Founded in 1974, the Women’s Center was established to:
Dismantle, from a feminist perspective, all forms of oppression, including but not limited to those based on ability, age, class, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Advocate for an equitable environment free from violence and harassment based on gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Create an anti-racist, non-sexist, queer-affirmative space where all people can feel valued and safe.
Facilitate and strengthen connections among people across lines of difference through programming and educational campaigns.
Integrate an appreciation of Women's Gender and Multicultural Studies across the disciplines.

Friday, September 13, 2013

What I Didn't Expect When I Turned 21.

I would like to preface this blog article with a disclaimer. Although I will be discussing the bar scene and turning 21, I am in no way glorifying being able to do such activities. Rather, I plan to discuss something beyond social drinking with friends at a local establishment which is of great concern to me.

With that being said, upon turning 21, I had never imagined how much defense I would have to play while out with friends on a Saturday night. Granted, I have experienced being in the presence of intoxicated individuals before, but for whatever reason, the bar scene is a whole other ball game I was not anticipating. Although I am very capable of handling myself around aggressive men, I must admit, it did become overwhelming and exhausting.

Throughout the night I encountered a handful of young men who were quick to assume that a young woman at a bar is just a piece of meat. The first male approached me at the bar and started some small talk, and although I was not interested, I was fine. When the next male got way too touchy and aggressive during Badfish's set, I was able to remove myself from the situation although I was quickly disappointed because I had to leave my prime spot in the crowd. When the next male, a repeat offender throughout the night, did not listen to me when I stated each and every time he tried to dance with me that I was not interested I started to get annoyed. Finally, when the next male, a friend of mine, who was visibly too intoxicated, got a little too close for comfort, I was fed up. However, these encounters got me thinking and led to lengthy self and societal reflection.

Simply, turning 21 has been a reality check, especially when I compare how I imagined the bar culture to be and how it really is. Granted I expected male attention, but I was definitely not anticipating having to ward off guys like a defensemen in the endzone. Nor, did I realize that it is apparently difficult to understand the term "no". Fortunately, I am used to being surrounded by a group of guys that do understand such concepts, which may explain why I was experiencing such culture shock that night.

In all, I learned a few things about myself that evening.
1. I can handle my own.
2. I am responsible for my own actions.
3. I need to be mindful of what I do and what I consume.

But I also learned other lessons that I believe both men and women should be aware of.
1. No always means no.
2. Don't be aggressive.
3. No still means no.
4. Let it go if he/she is not into you.
5. Don't be overly touchy feely right off the bat, people have boundaries you know.
6. And, most importantly, don't make a person feel threatened. Not only does it ruin their night, but it ruins your chances of making a connection and also that person's desire to want to go out again.

Sure, when you're of age, go out, have fun, and meet people, but don't be that person that ruins it for everyone. It's 2013, both men and women should be able to go out and socialize without feeling threatened or attacked. If we act as a green dot and act as the people we are when not fueled by a social lubricant, everyone can have a fun time.

Final thoughts: Be safe, be smart, use your best judgment, and don't overdo it.

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