Feminist Friday: Are You Sure?

Friday, June 20, 2014

Are You Sure?
When it’s truly the right moment, you shouldn’t have to ask any questions. True power comes from waiting for the right moment.

This was it: the moment I decided to have sex with a guy for the first time.

Of course, I’d spent the past hour using all the textbook tricks I’d adopted to hint at desire, tricks I’d studied senselessly throughout the years from various sources (magazines, online articles, and self-help books, oh my!). I knew exactly what I was getting myself into. Everything was going according to plan.

Then, he asks the magic question:

“Are you sure?”

And I realize I’ve spent far too long thinking this question is the most romantic thing a guy could ask me. The reality, of course, is that he shouldn’t have to ask me at all. There shouldn’t be a doubt in his mind that I’m feeling secure enough to take him to bed, that I’m sure it’s what I want, that it won’t be something I’ll regret. 

But since the first guy didn’t bother to ask at all, since he took my innocence without my consent, since I was left battered and bleeding and alone on a hardwood floor when I was only twelve, well, who was I to condemn the guy who actually asked for my consent?

I realize now, at twenty one, how twisted that logic is.  Now I know that I have every right to be angry with every guy who sensed my hesitation, but didn’t respect me enough, didn’t care enough to hear the words I couldn’t bring myself to say. No, I’m not sure, but since you actually asked, I’ll sleep with you anyway. Now I know I’m just as much to blame for what I did say, even when it wasn’t the truth. I’m sure. Now I know that just because one guy didn’t bother to ask, took away my right and ability to choose, and made me feel powerless doesn’t mean I actually am. 

I’ve spent far too long trying to prove I’m not powerless in all the wrong ways. 

But now I know.

When a guy asks me the magic question,

Are you sure?

it’s not romantic, it’s not respectful, and I am not powerful for saying yes I’m sure when that’s the opposite of what I’m feeling. I’m powerful when I tell the truth, when I’m honest about my feelings, and when I’m not afraid to walk away from anyone who doesn’t respect them. Because that’s real power. Power that doesn’t come from a bottle when you’re fifteen and know that the twelve year old girl across the street is home alone. Power that comes when I stop allowing a situation in my past to affect my feelings and choices in the present.

Power I can be sure of.

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