I did it once. I fought my way out of one of those “bad dates”. I physically pushed myself away from the guy trying to hold me down when I was done kissing him. It wasn’t everything it’s cracked up to be.
I pushed. He held tight. I pushed harder. He held on with the strength of someone in military condition. I felt something slip inside my head and begged him not to make me hurt him. He let go.
No one lauded me for being strong. No one has ever held me up as an example of a woman who did it right. No one has said, “Yes! Like that! That’s what we told you to do!”
No, that still wasn’t “real strength”, no matter what they say all those women who’ve dared to complain should have done. That wasn’t rescuing myself from a bad situation. That wasn’t what they wanted.
I was overreacting. You see, he let me go, so I was never in danger. I was threatening a nice guy. He let me go, so he couldn’t have meant anything bad by it. I was crazy. He let me go, so I was just some crazy chick seeing rape everywhere.
No matter how much direct, unambiguous physical strength I applied in that situation, that wasn’t what they meant when they say women need to be stronger. No matter how much direct, unambiguous language I used to tell him to let me go, that wasn’t what they meant. No matter how much restraint and tact I used to “fix” a situation of his making, that wasn’t what they meant.
The only strength these people want from me is my silence. They don’t want me to fight my way out and talk about it later. They don’t want me to talk my way out and talk about it later. As long as I talk about it, whatever strength I displayed is recast as weakness.
They only want the strength of saints. They want us to keep our eyes turned upward and silently, sweetly accept whatever fates are rained down on us. They want the strength of martyrs.
But suffering isn’t my kink. Men aren’t my religion. So I’ll complain when there’s something to complain about. I’ll push and I’ll threaten as long as someone tries to hold me down, though you know that if you know me. Silence isn’t my strength.