“No. You cannot go outside at nighttime.”
My mom says, for the hundredth time when I asked if I can go hang out with my friends.
“That’s not fair!” I exclaim to her “My brother gets to go anywhere he wants. Why can’t I?”
“Because…” she stops and gathers her thoughts “It is dangerous for you.”
I don’t reply. Once again admitting defeat, I leave to go to my room.
Living in Istanbul….
Seeing my brother go around as he pleases with his friends while I was trapped in my house, I felt like a house pet. I had little to no knowledge of the best places in Istanbul to party, or to grab a drink because of how scared my mom was. I was angry at her, knowing that I have wasted my teenage years, not being allowed to go to concerts at late times or staying with a friend to have fun for once. But it wasn’t until then I realized who or what I should be angry about.
I first got catcalled when I was in 6th grade. Yes, you have heard it right. When I was only a child, as he passed by with a car, seeing how well I dressed for my guitar concert, waiting for my parents to arrive and pick me up. I felt his eyes linger over me… I stayed mute as he whistled at me and drove by. To a 6th grader. It’s nothing big really, I told myself over and over again and ate up my own words which got swallowed like a hard pill. This probably happens to every woman every day, I thought to myself. It is nothing big… Men will always be men.
So, thank you, men. For, making me rethink if I will be safe when I wear a dress outside. For making me feel ashamed whenever I talk about my period like it is a mythical thing. For objectifying my sexuality to the point where there is literally a genre of it on fucking pornhub. However, I am still grateful to this day that I have not been sexually harassed, got married at a young age, or got killed, yet. So, thank you, men.
For making me a stronger woman every day.