Less Than


United States
42° 25' 20.9136" N, 83° 11' 30.0984" W
United States
42° 25' 20.9136" N, 83° 11' 30.0984" W

The intercom buzzes, and my principal’s voice begins to speak, reminding we young ladies of the dress code, berating us for wearing shorts that are too short or tank tops with straps that don’t meet the required three inches, because,


“Boys will be boys, they’re going to be distracted and stare at all the pretty girls, they can’t control themselves.”


As if a teenage boy was an animal, as if his hormones were the only things managing his actions, as if he wasn’t a human being with conscious thoughts and ideas, as if he wasn’t a person just like me.


As if I should have to adjust my actions due to the lack of self-control on other’s parts, as if the fact that teenage boys are sexualizing my bare shoulders is my fault, as if I should be punished for the behavior of others.


I am sixteen years old yet when my mother asks me what I want for a graduation present, I tell her ‘pepper spray’ because I am scared of walking alone at night.


I am five feet tall and one hundred and eight pounds of skinny wrists and bloodshot eyes, and when I walk to my car at night after work, I hold my keys between my fingers—just in case.


The internet teaches me that if I wear a short dress then I am asking for it,


that if I leave my cup alone at a party, I’m just begging for someone to drop a pill in it and leave me for dead.


The pendulum never swings to my side, only to his,


and the thing is,


no one cares.


I can cry and yell and scream all I want,


but the bottom line is that until things change, I will always be worth less than him


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