My 2 Cents: UCSB Massacre

Everyone is reading about it, posting about it, and many have an opinion about it. At first I felt that there is enough back and forth concerning Elliot Rodger’s mass killing at UCSB I didn’t need to comment. However, I have since come to understand that this act of violence is going to have much wider reaching effects than I originally thought. In deciding to do a post on this tragedy I thought it best first to do research on the subject. I’ve watched the videos, read the news reports, read other blogs, and visited #yesallwomen.

One thing that struck me when reading some of the tweets from #yesallwomen was the recurring comments about how it is easier to reject a mans advances by just saying, “I have a boyfriend or I’m married.” because as Amanda Hess wrote in her article, Why is it so Hard for Men to See Misogyny, “. . .aggressive men are more likely to defer to another man’s domain than to accept a woman’s autonomous rejection of him.” It got me to thinking about how much of my life has been overshadowed with the concept of needing “protection” because I am female.   

My earliest memory is of my mother telling me not to go anywhere alone . . .ever. This became a mantra in my household. My mother a beautiful woman was single with 3 daughters. Yet I never saw her date or have male friends. My mom told me it was for the best because she didn’t know who she could trust. I didn’t understand what she meant until I was 12 years old and my doctor decided to give me a “breast exam”. I knew this was wrong and shot my hand up to stop him but he grabbed my arm and forced it back down. I never told my mother because I finally understood what she was so fearful about and I didn’t want to upset her. Luckily we moved soon after and I never saw that doctor again. I have since wondered how many other “breast exams” he gave and if he ever went farther than that.

I grew up to be quite independent. I loved nature and hiking, camping, ropes courses, rappelling etc. Things that required me to challenge myself but did not require me to defeat others in the process. But I never did any of this alone. Even after I grew into a woman I was bombarded with the ceaseless warnings of “Never do anything alone.” One night some friends and I were sitting around a campfire and they were talking and the question came up. “Would you rather be a woman or a man?” I instantly said “man” because I would love to just be alone without fear for once. Even in my own apartment I slept with a knife between my mattresses and became a very light sleeper. To be able to hike alone without fear. To be able to travel alone without fear. To be able to go into a bar, pool hall, to the movies, a restaurant, a concert, a party alone!! Without fear! How beautiful that would be? To be one with nature alone and undisturbed and NOT also be afraid. I wonder how many more places I could have gone, how many more things I could have experienced, how much more life I could have lived. . . if I were a man. Now I realize that “If I were a man” is incorrect. It should be, “If I were allowed to be unafraid.”

Addendum: I am in no way blaming the people who were trying to protect me. I blame the people they needed to protect me from.


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6 responses to “My 2 Cents: UCSB Massacre”

  1. thenarcissistwrites says :

    Well said.

    • polly6119 says :

      Thank you! Wow, I just put that up. It took most of the day to write because I wasn’t sure at first what I was trying to say. I felt it, but it took a while to put it into words. I’ll go check out your site. Again, thanks!

      • thenarcissistwrites says :

        No problem, I wish I had something more intellectual to add but you really pretty much summed everything up, haha.

  2. polly6119 says :

    After reading some of your posts I’m even more flattered by your comment. You have a lot to say and you say it well.

  3. Ariel says :

    I completely understand this. I struggle with the whole if I were a man things would be so different. Men can be alone. The constant struggle to feel pretty. I feel that is probably a young girl issue.

    I loved all of your blogs. Thank you for sharing

    • polly6119 says :

      No Ariel, this is not just a young girl issue. The idea society seems to propagate that what is on the outside is more important than on the inside follows us all our lives. That is also a topic for a blog. Because, if you think about it how much more could women have achieved, learned, done if we had spent the time that we worried about bodies and faces instead educating ourselves, reading, discussing, living. . . . Thanks! I’ve just thought of my next topic!!

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