My name is “hey baby” and you lean out of your car window and I can feel your eyes staring through my clothes. I’m twelve years old in a suburban neighborhood on my way home from the bus stop. I take off running and the sound of my book bag hitting my back still isn’t loud enough to drown out your sneering laughs that chase me all the way home.
My name is “hot stuff” and I’m thirteen years old and at the beach with my best friend. You followed us to the pool and have me pushed against a wall in a crowded pool. You think my bathing suit is an invitation to touch me, grab my sides and “oh, youre just tickling me.” But you’re 21 and I’m a child but nobody thinks it’s wrong and you can’t tell the tears on my face from water in the pool and you don’t leave until my parents get down there from the room.
My name is “huge rack” and “big tits” and I’m fourteen years old. I’m at the mall with my mom and she leaves me for 5 minutes and three of you approach me with evil smirks. My heart’s pounding as I lock myself in a dressing room and gasp in and out trying to catch my breath. I’m in public but I still don’t feel safe and I check behind us all the way to the car.
My name is “sweetheart” and I can still feel my heart hitting my rib cage because I’m a hundred and thirty pounds and have weak lungs and even weaker fists. it’s 3 pm and I’m only sixteen but you’re undressing me with your eyes. You name my friends “babe” and “sweet thing” as you follow us around the park for thirty minutes. I’m sweating and even though you left because a family showed up I still feel your eyes making me naked.
My name is “sexy” as you’re sauntering up to me outside at a party. Your breath smells like alcohol and you have a bottle in one hand as you try to feel up my dress with the other. You laugh at me when I push you off and grab at my chest. My name is “bitch” and “fuck you” when I walk away – but only to find your friend has named mine “drunk enough.” I have to physically pull him off of her. She cries all the way home because a night of teenage fun almost ruined her trust in people.
My name is “pretty thing” and my boyfriend left me alone to go to the bathroom. I try to ignore you and your blood shot eyes and turn around only for you to stare at my ass. I sqeeze my boyfriend’s hand when he comes back and I’m only off limits now because another guy is around. But that’s how things are, even though they shouldn’t be.
My name is “damn girl” as we walk inside a Waffle House to eat. There’s two of us and six of you and you tell us “I’ll fuck you on this table” and we try not to cry. You laugh as our voices shake and say
“relax, it’s a compliment.” You think you’re not hurting anyone, but you are.
My name is “nice ass” and “oh smile” and “look me in my eyes!” My name is “too sexy” and I’m not allowed to be afraid. Because words are just words and you’re telling me “how pretty I am” so it makes it okay. Why did I look at you if I wasn’t interested? Why did I wear a dress? It’s my fault I don’t know how to take a “compliment.”
My name is “little lady” and “fuckable” and “banging curves.” My name is a term of endearment turned into a bullet wound. See, because a compliment is supposed to make someone feel good. It’s supposed to lift you up and make you smile, not tear you down and make you cower.
So what about your sister or daughter? Are they supposed to take those names with pride? No, because if a guy called them “a reason to go to jail” youd kill him. And it turns out that when you yell words at strangers in the street, the words hit them like knives, not flowers. Because I don’t know any girl who has dated a guy who catcalled her in the streets.
I’m twenty-three and my name is “fine ass” and anytime I hear someone raise their voice I’m twelve again. I dont know who you are and I’m just trying to get home but your laugh rings in my ears and I’m a little girl again. Your words slap me in the face and burn my throat.
A compliment is meant to tell someone “I care about you.” But those make us squirm. And if you really meant it as a compliment youd care how I take it and how it makes me feel! But you don’t mean it that way, you mean it to show off. You want to put our name in your pocket so you can tell your friend how you saw “the hottest little thing” earlier but she walked away because she’s a “prude” and “fuck her for being stuck up.”
Little do you know, women are running home with “911” dialed, ready to hit send just in case. Our keys are clenched in our fists and we deadbolt the door. We double check our windows and turn on every single light. Tonight we won’t sleep because your
“compliment” will haunt our mind and took who we are.
Basically what I’m saying is, if we’re all saying “it’s not okay” and “it sounds like a threat, not a compliment” why are you still doing it?