Jameela Jamil's story about getting harassed after rejecting a guy went viral because it’s relatable for all the wrong reasons.
Nearly every woman has a story of receiving hostility because they rejected a man’s advances.
At best, we receive insults, such as “You should be flattered someone wants to go out with you,” or “Whatever, you’re ugly anyways.”
At worst, it’s physical violence.
The Good Place actress (and internet hero) Jameela Jamil opened up about the time she was punched in the face for turning down someone who was hitting on her. Yup, you read that right.
Jamil posted a story of a time when she received verbal abuse for turning someone down. “Was out at the shops with my friend. Man ogles me. Man then approaches me to give me his number. I explain I have a boyfriend but thank him for the offer. Man then threatens my career, saying I better remember that I rejected him. And then Shouts at me that I’m low class...,” postedJamil.
When women turn down men, we come up with all sorts of excuses. We make up boyfriends. We nervously giggle. We say we’re not looking for someone right now. It’s all a show to avoid getting figuratively (and apparently sometimes literally) punched in the face.
It’s not fair that women have to do this, as one Twitter user commented onJamil’s post. “It’s gross that you had to mention that you were already taken by another man (we’ve probably all done this) to try to ‘let a man down easy’ in order to stay safe and that didn’t even ducking work,” wrote@SnarkyTwin.
The comment promoted Jamil to reveal the reason why she always gives the “I have a boyfriend” excuse. “I once said no thank you to man when I was 19 and didn’t have an excuse... and he punched me in the face. After that whether or not I have a boyfriend, I say I do. Being a woman is truly, constantly scary. It’s like existing on thin ice,” posted Jamil. Like she’s suddenly going to want to go out with him because he punched her in the face?
Even though Jamil’s stories are, unfortunately, commonplace, we can learn something from these experiences. “Wecneed to teach children about rejection, so that we can change the way we see rejection as a society. We need to destigmatize it, so that it doesn’t feel like the ground is swallowing you up when someone says no, however nicely. This would lessen their need to lash out,” Jamil wrote.
Jamil’s Tweets inspired other women (and men) to open up about their experiences.
It should be enough to say, “Sorry, I’m not interested,” and have it end at that.
We shouldn’t have to make up excuses because we’re afraid of retaliation.
Now that women are speaking out against it, hopefully receiving harassment will be less common in the future.