Jury of your fears: the case of Gigi Hadid


author: annie trussler | op-ed editor

Credit: Eva Rinaldi via Flickr

“No” is not a comprehensible response: neither is “I am a lesbian,” “I’m taken,” or “I’m not interested.”

There are a number of crimes specific to women: you can look at a man wrong, you can say “no,” you can refuse a drink, you can change your mind, or, in Gigi Hadid’s case, you can elbow a creep on the street who has tried to physically lift you from your feet. What is the punishment for such a heinous, “misandristic” crime? Media slander, accusations of violence and immaturity, handed down by the Supreme Court of “Women Cannot do Anything Right.” Other such famous felons include Hillary Clinton, Pussy Riot, Laverne Cox, and Amber Heard (the list continues on the public forum of Google and general mob mentality).

As a woman, I have learned a number of lessons; such lessons have never been explicitly taught, I have merely adopted them as a bizarre combination of defense mechanisms and anxieties. Firstly, if a man approaches you, and asks for your number, it is never reasonable to just say no. “No” is not a comprehensible response: neither is “I am a lesbian,” “I’m taken,” or “I’m not interested.”

Second on the list is an extension of the first point: if you are harassed on the street by a man or a group of men, either verbally or physically, it is totally impolite to ask them to stop. It is their right as night-wandering men, as noble vagrants, to be greeted with nothing but utter submission.

The third rule, which is perhaps the most important in the Misogynist’s Handbook, is that they are allowed to touch you: anywhere, any time, under any circumstances, and you will not refuse, you will not fight back, you will not ask them to stop. If you choose to greet unwanted contact with more unwanted contact, you will be swiftly crucified by the grand council of tabloid magazines, you will be demonized by other women, you will be degraded, spit upon, and gaslighted.

Even fame cannot save you, lest you break the patriarchal code. Even as a famous model, superstar extraordinaire, with ties to Zayn Malik himself, you cannot act against a man. Gigi Hadid, for practicing self-defence against a stranger, who touched her without permission and then proceeded to attempt carrying her, is now undesirable number one across the globe.

There is humour in this (that kind of weird, ironic, make-your-stomach-turn kind of humour): I have found that, in practically all circles of men, violence begets violence, yes? Furthermore, men, for centuries, have reduced women to frail, incapable creatures, subject to whatever comes for them. We have merely taken your logic, and made it our own. We took your handbook and burned it to ash.

Let’s take a look, now, through the Woman’s Handbook (something 99.9 per cent of men would refuse to sift through). First rule: take the world back. Take their violence, and turn it against them. If they put your hands on you without consent, cuff them. Second rule: the media is lying to you. You can defend yourself. You can say no. You can protect yourself, honor your space, and fight tooth and nail for consent. Third rule: oftentimes, when you act on your own behalf, people will lie. This will not kill you. Violent hands will. Stand your ground. You aren’t alone.

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