Woman. I am woman. If I admit I look quite pretty today, when the man across the street compliments me, I am arrogant. If I choose to work and stay a little later tonight, I’m a work-obsessed she-devil who doesn’t care for her family. If I attend my favourite singer’s concert and scream her name, I’m a crazy fan who doesn’t respect boundaries. If I help an eldery man with his groceries, I am a gold-digging heartless wrench.

Man. I am man. When I take off my shirt in the gym and flex my muscles in the mirror, I’m strong. When I stay late at work, I’m a driven businessman. If I vandalise public property after my footy team loses a game, I’m just a poor bloke letting off some steam. If I wink and cheekily grin at the elderly lady on the bus, she’ll laugh and call me a handsome young man. I’m passionate, and free to show it.

I cannot walk the streets alone at night. It is not god I fear, it is man. When asked why I fear men, I say I think they will rape me. They will beat me. They will kill me.

I enjoy walking alone at night; it is calming. When asked why I fear women, I say I think they will reject me. They might embarrass me infront of my friends. They might not laugh at my joke.

To men who are offended by this, please don’t be. It is not all men, but I have to assume it is if I want to be safe. The double standards that infect our society prevent me from sharing the same passions that many men have. Let me be passionate, show my heart, show my soul.

I have a lot to give.

Isla Kirkman
Western Springs College


From the author:
This is a piece of writing that I am passionate about. It is for women to relate to, and for men to learn from.