“No” as a Feminist Act

As women, we’re bred to say “yes.” We’re given the subtle message that “no” is unacceptable. We’re expected to accept the unacceptable. We’re expected to accept everyone and everything, into our hearts and our bodies. When we venture a “no” we’re met with ire, withdrawal of love and approval. We become like sponges, ever-expanding receptacles–drawers, waste baskets, toilets.

Saying “no” becomes an act of subversion, defiance, disrespect, and disobedience. It also becomes vital to our survival. Exercising disagreement and dissent are marks of our personhood. Objects are receptacles, people have wants, needs, and desires. We also have standards, things which we do not desire; our objections are heard and respected. We do not have to explain, reconsider, or “listen.”

I’m very much in favor of incorporating feminism into every aspect of our lives. Respecting ourselves enough to acknowledge our limits is one way we can do this. Exercising choice and respecting the choices of others is a powerful way to assert one’s personhood. It reminds others that we are human, we are to be taken seriously and we are deserving of respect.


8 thoughts on ““No” as a Feminist Act

  1. It is difficult, as perhaps all truly revolutionary acts are, to say it, mean it, enforce it. All too often, we have internalized the vision of ourselves as supporters, cheerleaders, sponges, receptacles. We refuse to even consider that the receptacle that takes everything is a midden.

    Because somewhere, despite the brutal conditioning we are given, we KNOW we are not middens. I think that is an enormous part of the ftm phenomenon: women see that we are treated as middens and say, but I’m a person. I must be a man because they are people.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. VERY well put. I wrote this because I was reflecting on how much I’ve struggled to say no and the consequences of that throughout my life. I see it in the women whose survival is based on “yes.” It reminds me of how I’ve compromised myself and I feel sick. I struggle to forgive myself and those women who are still surviving by saying yes to everyone and everything. It’s why I consider it such a revolutionary act to say no.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. The thing is we are blamed either way: say no and not only are we not womaning right, but we started whatever conflict we are in by denying the man whatever he wanted. Say yes and what are we squawking about now?!

        Either way, we get punished and either way, it’s our own fault.

        Liked by 1 person

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