Friday, June 24, 2011

It gets easier

As a feminist, one becomes more and more aware of our misogynist society and all of the little and big things that help to uphold it. As anyone recognizable as a woman, cis or trans, one thus can no longer accept street harassment as "normal" behaviour. But it's still hard to deal with. Realizing that such people are exercising their privilege and think of you as an object, rather than it being something you've done, doesn't help one deal with such harassment, at least at first.
      
      Being catcalled can be intimidating, but of course it's worse if someone (usually a man, and I assume cis) driving actually stops to do it. It's worse if he's sitting beside you on the bus, or if he follows you when you walk away. How do you deal with it? I've advocated in favour of being a bitch* in the hopes that people who were inclined to do so might feel more comfortable with and less guilty about it. But the reality is that those who are not inclined to be a bitch aren't magically going to be one in the face of sexual victimization. Society is all around us, telling us to be polite when we're catcalled, etc.. The man's just paying you a compliment after all.
      
      It is this which drives us to reluctantly carry on a conversation with such people, keeps us from leaving our bus-seats, and forces our hands up in a wave, or pulls the corners of our mouths up in a faked smile. Even though we don't want to, even though we may be screaming inside. But we are feminists, and we know it isn't right. We internalize it, and it hurts, and it puts us in very awkward positions when we don't quite do what society expects of us, and it gets easier each time.
      
      Maybe he tried to get your attention on the bus and then asked to sit beside you even though there were lots of seats and you made an excuse for why he couldn't. Maybe the next time some guy bought you a drink (without you asking for it) and made you promise to hang out with him some time, but you walked away with the drink and decided the drink is payment for him wasting your free time just before work. Maybe the next time, you accidentally looked in the direction of some guy and he started calling after you, but you kept walking and refused to acknowledge him even when he followed you. Maybe the next time you were waiting for the bus, and some asshole beeped at you from his car and tried to get you to come inside repeatedly, even after you said no and looked away, and you continued to ignore him until he left.
      
      It gets easier. That's all I want to say today. It might take a long time, and it may still hurt. But it gets easier.

2 comments:

  1. thanks for the laugh sustantivo

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    1. Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha Ha-ha It helps to imagine music notes.

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