About Jeffrey What'sTheirName. I'm Brazilian. In Brazil, I've heard hundreds of time men mocking women simply for not going alone to the toilet. They would literally laugh at us, something like: "Ha, ha, look at them! They are so cowards that they can't go alone to the toilet."
These men would shame us for not going alone to the toilet. They would insist with us that we tried going alone to the toilet. If I didn't know any better, I might have tried. They would even accuse us of being too fragile. The weak sex. The scaredy cats. "Look how brave we are!"
They would say: "If you want equality, you have to do things the way men do, to prove you are worthy by being brave. Because with equal rights comes 'equal responsibilities'." Or: "Is that why women don't have compulsory military service?" And laugh more. They humiliate women.
I talked to countless girls and women about going to toilets in groups. Believe it or not, I never found a girl or a woman in Brazil who seemed to knew why we went to the toilet together. We just did. We would discuss those men's claims, checking if there was any true in them.
Yrs later, on a hen night in Edinburgh, I noticed that any woman who announced they were going to the toilet, at least another woman would simply say "I'll go with you." I found the readiness of the offer a bit odd. I'd expect to be the 1 asking for company, not being offered it.
When I said I was going to the toilet, the bride and 1 of her friends said they were coming with me. I remember smiling, as if that was amusing. Or even familiar for what it would be happening to me in Brazil, among friends I would go out with. There, I only knew the bride.
But any of the women in our group, even though we never met before, would offer to go with me. When we went back to the dance floor, I said to the women in our group: "That's so nice. We also go to the toilet together in Brazil." And laughing, completed: "Why do we even do that?"
Apart from me and the bride, the rest of the women were British. While I laughed, they went quite serious. After a few seconds, they nearly responded all at the same time: "It's to protect us against men!" Just like that. No excuses. No hard explanations. Plain and simple.
Then, it downed on me. Well, yes, of course it is to protect us against men. What else could it be? And how on Earth could I not know that? That's when I remembered those stupid remarks from all those men in Brazil. Mocking women trying to protect themselves was a tactic.
Women have probably been together, forming groups, since prehistoric times. It is not a coincidence that, in patriarchy, men always try to find ways to isolate women from other women. Why on Earth would men "forbid" women from being together? Because there's safety in numbers.
Divide and conquer, eh? Well, I say "Hell, no" to that. I will never, ever, stop reaching out to women, for me of for them. Until you, men, take action and sort out the abusive men, there's nothing a man can say that would change my mind abt seeking company from other women.
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