WOMEN

This Craigslist Missed Connection Is Delightfully Feminist

A round of applause for Mystery Wisconsin Woman đź‘Źđź‘Źđź‘Ź

In a series of Craigslist missed connections posts in May, two mysterious Wisconsinites engaged in a wonderful celebration of everyday feminism. 

The initial missed connection was written by a man who expressed his adoration for a woman who successfully drove away a flock of drunk, gropey men during a night out at a Madison nightclub. 

"You took them apart like Thanksgiving turkeys," the admirer wrote. "Five guys gone, and then I danced near you and your friend for like 30 minutes, literally welling up in tears, having witnessed the most sublimely beautiful thing I may ever see."

This mystery gentleman's written celebration of feminist badassery is great on its own, but the mystery woman herself responded with something even better.

In her response, she thanked the man for appreciating her actions. She also thanked him for not being a creep. "Thank you for being a peaceful presence in a predatory space," she wrote. 

But more than that, she used the missed connection as an opportunity to explain the exhausting everyday sexism that women come up against, and that men rarely recognize. She wrote: 

This is not just about the dance floor, this is about the bus stop, where men tell me to smile, try to get me to talk before my morning coffee and when I refuse tell me "I'm gonna sit right next to you on the bus and make you really uncomfortable." This is for the bike path, where summer night silence and shadows hid screams and blood and a woman left for dead. We cried together. We raged for her. For ourselves, for every woman who will never bike that path at night again, for all of our ancestors and all of our daughters.

Her 8-paragraph essay nails the issues of misogyny, rape culture and consent (or lack thereof) that women have to grapple with on a near-daily basis, while also calling on men to embrace "healing masculinity," and encouraging them to be feminist allies.

More of this, please and thank you.  

Read the full post below: 

Dear mystery man. Thank you for existing as well. If you are who I think, know that you had an aura of good vibes and gentleness that was appreciated. Thank you for being a peaceful presence in a predatory space. Thank you for going to a place where there is dancing and actually dancing. Thank you for witnessing that series of confrontations and thinking, yes, this is what the world needs. I agree.


We need a world where women feel free to express their sexuality, to enjoy their bodies and enjoy their evenings, without fear of being perpetrated upon, touched without consent, objectified by an unswerving gaze, or threatened, insulted, assaulted, or killed. We need a world where women can claim their bodies, heal their traumas, and celebrate their love, their sexuality, their joy. I twerk, I jiggle, I bounce because I love how my body feels when I dance. When I am dancing, it is not for the arousal or entertainment of the men who creep up behind me, who watch from the corners of the room, who form a circle around me and my friends, it is for me. It is for the universe of unseen energy, vibrating at the frequency of love. It is for all of the sisters who have been beaten, raped, shamed, silenced, and killed around the world, and it is a prayer that we may heal and celebrate our beauty and power together.

We live in a rape culture, and to live as a woman is to be a warrior, to defend oneself against the everyday violations of our bodies, our spaces, our personhood. We train for this, for the moments when we will need to remind those around us of our right to exist. To defend our opinions, our dignity, our time, our energy, and yes, our bodies.

This is not just about the dance floor, this is about the bus stop, where men tell me to smile, try to get me to talk before my morning coffee and when I refuse tell me "I'm gonna sit right next to you on the bus and make you really uncomfortable." This is for the bike path, where summer night silence and shadows hid screams and blood and a woman left for dead. We cried together. We raged for her. For ourselves, for every woman who will never bike that path at night again, for all of our ancestors and all of our daughters.

Who does this rape culture serve? It is a cycle of violence that harms everyone involved. You as a man are recognizing that when women's sexuality is honored and they feel free to express themselves and be in their bodies, the space is made more beautiful. Some corner of the world is healed, rebalanced, for an instant. This is not about men against women, or women against men. This is about people who understand love and life, who have agreed to struggle against the system that has robbed us of our pleasure and freedom. I'm talking about this patriarchy of power and greed and violence that has its grubby fingers all over us and inside us, no matter your gender or orientation. This is the time we live in, and we have a choice to ignore, avoid, hide, deny or confront. I have chosen to confront, to bring my joy to spaces I choose, and affirm to those who surround me that I am in charge of my body, my desires, and my space. To affirm to my friends, and to women I don't know, that we are safe, we are protected, we can enjoy ourselves.

There were many men that night, and every night. Men who came back, again and again, after I said "no, I don't want to dance with you, no, don't touch me, no no no." Men who I told "You're making me uncomfortable" and who responded "I don't care". Men who touch, who smile, who surround and crowd and watch and take and take and take. I have so much practice dealing with these men. If men truly knew what women endured every single fucking day of our lives I think they would be bowing at our feet, begging us for forgiveness. I am proud to be a warrior but I am fucking tired. I'm ready for men to hold their brothers accountable, to hold themselves accountable, to rise to this moment in history and say ENOUGH.

I think it's beautiful that you said you had tears welling up. That tells me that you are a man who can access his emotions, who is brave enough to begin to unravel the toxic masculinity that our culture serves up. I believe in the power of men who cry. There is a lot to grieve when you realize the depth of the issue we are dealing with, but emotions move us, and heal us, and bring us to deeper connection and understanding.

We need to ask ourselves, what is consent and how is it created? It is a presence of loving attention to, and respect for, the independent will and desire of the people you choose to be with. It is respecting "no", loving "no", honoring "no". Yes cannot exist without no. And it is a fluid, ever-evolving engagement with the complex reality of power dynamics, fears, inhibitions, and desires.
I'm grateful for your message and that you recognized what was occuring that night. I want to call you, and everyone reading this, to take action and begin to confront violence, oppression, and violation, wherever you are. This may be in your own bedroom. Know this, be brave, and dig.

There are tons of resources online for men to explore feminism, consent, sexuality and healing masculinity.

Good luck and see you on the dance floor,

<3

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