Yesterday I was waiting to cross the street and a woman grabbed my arm. “Are you trying to cross the street?” she says to me. It is the physical touch of a stranger to which I respond. ‘Please don’t touch me” I say in a polite voice. It was also a weird kind of grab, she didn’t go for my elbow, but for my left hand, trying to lace her fingers between mine to guide me across the street like a child. And instead of reacting politely and apologizing for the invasion of my space…
She yelled at me for not letting her touch my arm saying I was “ungrateful”. As though my polite rejection of her invasion was rude. It was rude to grab me without asking.
I want to remind people that they own themselves because so often we forget.
Socially we need to accept that we do not own one another. We own ourselves.
Women’s bodies especially are consistently given up to society without a thought. Young girls are taught to give hugs when asked – because feelings will get hurt if they don’t offer up their bodies to appease people they do not know. Women are encouraged to be pure, yet we’re also told simultaneously that we have to put out in order to keep our partners happy. Physicality becomes a currency by which we can trade for emotional happiness.
It isn’t rude to own your body. It isn’t rude to say you don’t wish to be touched. It IS rude to force people to interact with you physically.
Social situations often demand physical affection – but we shouldn’t be forced into it because of social obligation – we should be able to give physical affection because we want to.
Physical touch should not be currency. End of story.