What I did not know about a woman’s unspoken reality


Conner Graves

Women, often facing an unspoken reality of sexism and objectification, stand together to combat their common challenges. According to Brigham Young, “You educate a man; you educate a man. You educate a woman; you educate a generation.”

Conner Graves, Ranger Review Reporter

There is an unspoken consciousness amongst women that they must be hyper-aware of their surroundings due to their gender. When they are alone in public, they are fearful of what may happen; they cover their shoulders for fear of being sexualized, frequently check to see if they are being followed, or keep their head down with their hand tightly gripping their bag when they are passed by someone stronger or larger than them.

Over the years, I have met many inspiring women who have completely altered my preconceived idea that women feel the same way I do; confident, safe, and individualistic, and it wasn’t until my senior year of high school when I learned that is not the case. Not only are these women afraid to walk alone in public, but they are also entirely conscious of being a female in a man’s world. Many men are completely oblivious to the ongoing dangers of being alone in a grocery store, at a party, or simply on the sidewalk. 

This January, I went to New York with my best friend, Isabel Hebenstreit. Being one of the most powerful and confident women I know, there was no doubt in my mind that she always felt safe. Unaware of her thoughts, I was convinced that she was in her element; over the moon and completely starstruck by the city. When we arrived back home, I learned that this wasn’t the case. Isabel seemed content and secure, yet she dreaded being alone and feared something as simple as public transportation.

As she stepped into a taxi, wearing a jumpsuit that revealed her shoulders and accentuated her body, she was afraid of what the driver may do to her. Rather than reveling in the excitement of riding alone in a taxi in New York City for the first time, she was formulating a plan of escape if he began eyeing her in a weird way. He was obviously stronger than her and in control of the vehicle; she was completely helpless. The whole ride, she feared that he would keep driving past her hotel and assault her. 

Women experience situations like these all of the time. Situations that can turn so badly so quickly for women, yet are unproblematic for men. The first time I rode in a taxi cab alone, all I could think about was how cool it was; how I was finally doing something that I used to think of as an “adult thing”. It didn’t even cross my mind that I could be overpowered by the man in the front seat, but, again, that is the first thought that crosses a female’s mind. 

I believe that it is important for both men and women to be taught what is neglected in the public school system: women are not objects, yet treated like so. Women need to be taught that self-defense is okay, and to never do anything with which they are uncomfortable; if a boy or another girl tries to make them do something against their will, to get out of there and to not feel guilty about doing so; if they are touched in a sexual way, to report it and not worry about looking dumb or childish. Men need to be taught how to use their power as a male to protect women and make them feel safe instead of uneasy, and to never treat women as the “weaker gender”. 

So ladies, never forget your power as a female. Throughout history, women have fought for everything they have achieved, and you are no different. Go out there, have a huge voice, and fight for your gender.

As Brigham Young once brilliantly said, “You educate a man; you educate a man. You educate a woman; you educate a generation.”