You Don't Own Me

You Don't Own Me

You don't own us. 
You don't own me or my sister. You don't control us or strip us of our soul. 
We are made of iron and steel, engulfed in flame of fortitude and strength.  
You don't own any of our piece, you never will. 
We will march, forward and against you.

I was scrolling my Facebook timeline when I came across a post with a photo of a husband and wife, his arm wrapped around her shoulder. Everything looked ordinary at first until you read everything. The husband, who was also the original poster, wrote, "boys, this is how you do when you're trying to prevent her from window shopping in the mall: you pretend to look romantic so people in public won't suspect a thing." When I read the story, I literally scoffed. What do the cool kids call it these days? Ah yes, the word is 'triggered.' I guess I was triggered by it. Everybody else in the comments found it hilarious, like it was a smart and well played joke. I was the only one who decided it wasn't.

Men think they are in charge. They love to think they are in charge, even if it means having to reign and strip a person's soul — a woman's soul, bare and naked.  Wrapping his arm around her shoulder to pretend, to make it looked like he was putting on a romantic gesture was gross. Placing your hand on your loved one was supposed to be a sweet, genuine gesture. It was supposed to express affection, not to control. Your hand is not a leash to pull her to do your bidding. Your hand, your touch is not supposed to feel like fire pulling her into the pit saying "no, you can't do that because I say so." Your hand is not a key to determine her freedom. You are supposed to walk with your loved one, not in front. You are supposed to let her see whatever she likes, travel to all the places she wants her perfect little shoes to bring her to. You are supposed to let her experience the world, not restrict her. She was born to be brave, let her be brave.

I don't think most people understand why that post was supporting an already damaging patriarchal system. I saw people defending the husband, saying that he was only doing it so she wouldn't impulsively buy unnecessary things because, "that's how women and housewives are, especially when they came across a furniture or houseware store — they want everything." Shit, I understand why they said so and where they're coming from. I am not denying proofs and facts of the basis they're going. What sickens me is how everything is filtered through gender. The art of succumbing to a temptation is a human response, not a woman response.

I've seen it happen in my family. I've seen how he put his hand on my mom's back, gently pushing her to walk faster so she doesn't have to stop by a store even if her intention wasn't to buy ten new frying pans or twenty pots and kettles. When I was a child, I didn't know why that rubbed me the wrong way. As I grew up, I realized how much I hate it. I hate how in the olden days women were taught to obey, to nod, to follow as they let men lead their life, their soul. I hate how men are given the permission to ridicule us like we are their chaperones, to ridicule wives and daughters by telling them to 'cook some food' because they are famished. I hate how husbands are allowed to yell and scream at wives, telling them to 'hurry the fuck up' instead of learning to say 'please.' I hate how husbands, fathers, uncles, brothers are allowed to command, to rule. I hate how they are forgiven for their bulging ego and yet we are bred to apologize even when it's not our fault.

Curses ran through my mind (all dedicated to the 'old teaching' and the men of this country, that country, every country — men who think they are and should always be in control) as I typed my thoughts and published them on Facebook. In it I expressed my agreement to prevent impulsive, unnecessary splurge when done correctly. In my opinion, the husband's false pretense is gross. What he should have done, however, was to let his wife look at twenty thousand frying pans if she wanted to because it is her privilege. Instead of treating her like his tail, he should have stayed beside her all while reminding her of the necessity. Images of my parents ran through my mind; my father's hand pulling my arm firmly to prevent me from buying the food I wanted, my father's hand dominantly placed on my mother's back as he firmly said, in that typical bossy tone of his, "we are going home, now." It's worse to know that the reason some men do that is because what we do goes against what they like. Their ego is a parasitic, dominant bitch.

The systemic pandemonium we grew up knowing is on fire and the sky is painted in venomous smoke we are programmed to inhale. We are fighters pinned by the oppression birthed from the ego of men. They snipped our wings, clipped our eyes and expect us to sit still, quiet as a doll. But we all know that's bullshit. Because when they think they have won and controlled us, we will stand up and we will march. We will tell them who we are and what we are — a combustion of roaring flame they cannot control.

disclaimer — i am in no way claiming that all men behave this way and i don't think the #NotAll hashtag is necessary at all. i'm pretty sure it is widely understandable that not every person is the same; one can be a douche jack-and-whiskey-ass, the other can be a whole different story. also, i would also like to clarify that i understand another situation where time is running out and one person has to remind the other by saying, "come on let's go (we don't have much time!)" but this is totally not what this post (or that fb post, as of matter) was about. i would love to hear about your take on this matter but be mature about it and avoid ad hominem arguments, thank you.