PSA: Women Don't Need To Be Manhandled; A Simple 'Excuse Me' Will Work

by Caila Smith
Originally Published: 
Malte Mueller/Getty

Hey there, gents. A little PSA on this fine day. You might already know this (even though you really act like you don’t), but women don’t need you to touch them to get your point across. Surprised? Well, you really shouldn’t be. You also shouldn’t act so flabbergasted when I tell you that, not only do we not need you to touch us, but we don’t like you to touch us… yes, really.

I don’t care if we’re standing smackdab in the middle of our favorite aisle at our beloved Target while you try to squeeze past our awestruck selves. We are fully capable of moving in response to a simple “excuse me,” and believe it or not, we can maneuver out of your path without your physical assistance. We can understand the words you’re speaking without you being so touchy-feely. It really is so simple, so why do y’all make it so damn difficult?

We aren’t so fragile that we need you to lightly grab us by the sides and direct us out of your way. We don’t need you to hold our shoulders and look deep into our eyes in order to get your point across. We don’t need your fingers around our wrist to be our guide. FOR THE LOVE, aren’t you getting it? We. Don’t. Need. To. Be. Manhandled. (Literally).

What we do need, however, is for the grabby men of this world to back the fuck up and take several seats.

Because unless you are our partner, friend, brother, father, or someone with whom we feel completely comfortable touching us with our permission, your grisly hands on our skin has not been consented to and is inappropriate. Not only does it make you look like an entitled jackass from our point of view, but you might be seriously freaking someone out in the process.

This kind of casual grabbiness is not just off-putting because we don’t know you, though that’s a big part of it. It’s because we, as women, often feel threatened by you. You are our “stranger-danger.” Even if you’re made up of all things warm and fuzzy and you’re truly someone who is trying to be kind and build a connection, you can do that without touching. We don’t know that you’re the “good guy” upon immediately crossing paths with you.

On average, men are larger than women — it’s just the way our two sexes were built. You have more muscle mass, testosterone, and a higher bone density than we do. And if we needed to defend ourselves with just our bare hands against the likes of you, we wouldn’t be guaranteed a fair fight… this is something we know.

So, not only do we have to remain constantly aware of our own surroundings, but we have to be cautious of who is in them too. If we’re walking through a parking garage alone — night or day — we walk with our keys between our fingers for protection. If a man approaches us while the sky is dark, there is a small voice inside of us that screams to run, regardless of that person’s intentions.

I’m not saying that all men are the devil, or even that a majority of them are, because that just would not be true. But I am saying that from a woman’s standpoint, the men we don’t know personally are the ones we find the most unpredictable. We have our guards up around men we don’t know because we have to.

There are countless documentaries of seemingly good, kind men turning out to be complete psychos. So, yeah. Maybe our desire not to be touched by those of your gender seems dramatic and over-the-top to you. To us, though, it’s a firm line we draw that offers us a feeling of safety. If you are a stranger to us, then we have no idea what type of a person you are, and we’ve been conditioned not to take chances.

When a woman is touched without her consent, there’s no telling what kind of history you might unintentionally tap into. Maybe she will panic if her wrist is held because she was raped as a teenager. Perhaps a mother will slap away your hand because she was in an abusive relationship with another male. Maybe she has social anxiety, PTSD, or OCD. Or maybe, just maybe, the reasoning for why she doesn’t want to be touched isn’t any of your fucking business anyhow.

You are not entitled to grab us. We don’t grab you, so keep your clammy paws off of us unless we’ve asked you to put them there. A woman’s body, even if it’s “just” her shoulders, wrist, or hips, is not yours to do with as you please.

Imagine females live in a happy bubble. Now, don’t pop it.

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