Many women I know, including myself, have struggled with building the assertiveness to say NO when we really need to.

Throughout modern history, we have been taught that our role is to obey and to serve. The gross societal message has been to do as we are told, to put others before ourselves at all times and to become an object of beauty, pleasure, and convenience.  

Women were seen as an obtainable accessory for men, and not as a free thinking, free feeling beings with rights, opinions and autonomy.

Things have started to change. I will give us that. Just not as much as they have needed to.

People often think of these notions as something of the past. “Its 2020 now.” People will say, “Everyone is equal” ..and while, yes, we have come a long way in certain respects, the sad truth is we still have a long way to go.

There are many out there, that still feel entitled to us, regardless of how we feel.

Our worth is still heavily tied to beauty.

Our presence, opinion and friendship is still valued as less.

We are the ones that “friendzone” because our temporary worth as a person is directly tied to the openness of our legs to anyone who dare pay us attention.

We are the ones that “tease” that “lead on” that “wore the wrong thing”.

We are the ones making less per year for the same position. 

We dare show our faces in the media if we arent a size 8.  

“What are we doing there? Speaking up, when we are so god damn ugly?” 

Bushpig.” “Slut.” “Bitch.” “Whore.” “Lesbian.” 

These are all names given to women who act with assertion.

We are still pressured to say yes, no matter the terms, to any proposition, by many people around us. “A woman who says no, doesnt really mean no.” 

Except, of course she fucking does!

If someone has grown the strength to face all the negativity that is attached to her gender, to rise above the assigned role and say no, believe me, she means NO. 

It took me a lot of practice, sometimes it still does.

I feel the awkwardness and guilt rise in the pit of my stomach, every time I have to assert myself beyond the initial “no thank you.”

So when you’re asking me next time, for a favour, to validate your flirtation, to buy something from you, to come to your event and I say no, listen to what I am saying.

I am not the one that needs to explain what I want, my reasons or my agenda.

If I dont want to I dont want to. Plain and simple.

If you find yourself pushing a woman to conform, to do what YOU want her to do, asking her “why not” and making negative comments, ask yourself, do you really think 2020 is that different? What are you doing to make things better yourself? 

If you find yourself fighting for your no, come back and re-ead this post. You are entitled to create your own life. Your body, your voice and your experience deserves to have autonomy.

Keep fighting for that, and know you are so damn awesome.