By: Vivian V.
It’s happened to many of us, or maybe we’ve seen it happen to a friend. My friend and I were sitting at a Starbucks, chatting away, when a much older guy pulls up a chair next to her and says, “How old are you? What’s your name?” She responded curtly and quickly, but he continued and asked, “What’s your number? We should hang out.” She responded like almost every young girl has been told to to protect herself and avert the conversation, “I have a boyfriend. We’ve been dating for four months.” Now, in this particular situation, my friend didn’t have a boyfriend, but even if she did – is that the only thing she could say that would end unwanted flirtation?
Ending the conversation this way makes it seem as if the only excuse for not wanting to go out with him would be if she were already “claimed” by another man. He would only respect the feelings of another man, not hers. If she had said she wasn’t interested in going out with him, he would have continued pursuing and trying to convince her to accept his offer. What about what we’re interested in? What about the qualities we value? The opinions we have?
I want my words, and the words of any other girl, to matter as much as those spoken by a man. Our opinions should be validated rather than ignored and shoved away. Hiding behind a “boyfriend” will never make our opinions or ideas as valuable as theirs. Our voices should not be channeled through a man – we, as girls and women, are more than qualified to step up and speak for ourselves.
Written in response to “Stop Saying ‘I Have a Boyfriend’ to Deflect Unwanted Attention” by Alecia Lynn Eberhardt.