Wednesday, May 28, 2014


+ because when I say "I only buy heels I can run in," my guy friends think I'm joking while my girl friends know I'm not.

+ because when I say "I don't like wearing shorts or tank tops because they make me feel naked," I laugh, but I'm dead serious.

+ because I've seen guys catcall a girl walking home, heels in hand, early in the morning.

+ because I know she's so focused on making sure they aren't following her that I have to warn her about the broken glass she's about to step on with her bare feet.

+ because I was afraid to stick up for her in front of those catcalling guys because I knew they'd then focus on me, and I had to walk in the same direction as they.

+ because I have to text my friends that I got back to my apartment safely, even though it's just across the street.

+ because the one time I forgot to text, my friends almost showed up at my doorstep to check I got home okay.

+ because I never leave my shoes untied while walking around at night, just in case I need to run.

+ because if a girl didn't come back to her room for a couple days, her roommates would call the police. But if a guy didn't come back to his room for a while, his roommates would just greet him with waggly eyebrows and questions of "So how was she?"

+ because I grew wary of hugging guys front-to-front when I realized they were holding on too long.

+ because I learned to wear baggy, oversized clothes long before I had a figure to hide.

+ because my roommate received a mini can of mace as a gift her freshman year. And we all thought, "Ooh. I want one."

+ because our first week in the dorms, my roommate and I came up with a plan of attack in case someone snuck into our room at night.

+ because when I wore a pair of heels and a skirt that was a tad above-the-knee to an event freshman year, an older friend told me to go back up to the dorms and put on a pair of leggings.

+ because I can't sign up for community college classes that start or end too late at night for fear that I won't get home safely.

+ because of the abject horror I saw in my middle school male gym teacher's eyes when a friend and I told him we had cramps.

+ because when my doctor asked me if I'd had any sexual encounters recently and I said no, the next question was, "Are you sure?"

+ because yelling at the tv screen that athletes are being "pussies" is considered okay and just another way of saying they're acting weak, incompetent, and inadequate.

+ because doing something "like a girl" is something to be ashamed of, while doing something "like a boy" is something to be proud of.

+ because sometimes it's easier and safer to act oblivious to someone's interest in you rather than acknowledge and reject them straightforwardly. 

+ because so many things have become engrained as ways to avoid attack, that I don't even notice them anymore-- keeping my keys in my hand the entire walk home, never listening to music or talking on the phone in case it allows someone to sneak up behind me, walking quickly and confidently as if I have a purpose, never looking down, distracted, or lost because it makes you appear weak, listening for footsteps behind you and watching for movement on the street so you're aware of everything around you, making sure you stick to the brightest spots on the street and if there aren't any, being extra alert. I'm absolutely certain there's more, but like I said. It's all become second nature.

+ because no means no, no matter what the context. That even means when I thank you for offering to walk me home, but politely decline the offer, you're not supposed to override my decision. You may think you're "keeping me safe," but in reality, it just shows that you think you know, better than I, what's good for me and that you're not listening to me. The panic that comes with having my "NO" ignored in this situation is the same panic that arises when a uberdrunk guy attempts to chat me up. You don't seem to understand that.

+ because even though I trust my guy friends and they're the bestest, my flight-or-fight response still kicks in if I'm in a room alone with one of them. 

+ because even though I haven't personally experienced overt, physical forms of sexual abuse, I still read through the #YesAllWomen hashtag and understand their helplessness and anger.

+ because I had to hear about the #YesAllWomen hashtag from friends 300+ miles away, instead of from the same exact local news coverage that's been giving a murderous rampage 80% of their on-air time.

+ because reading through the #YesAllWomen hashtag makes my heart sink. Because the problem is now even more obvious, but the solution even less clear.


Some articles I found interesting in response to the #YesAllWomen hashtag and subsequent fallout:

+ The article that's been passed around the most, but that sets a good, basic foundation for understanding the topic.

+ Some thoughts on why so many men were surprised by this female outpouring and a few common examples of everyday sexual harrassment in action.

+ My favorite article of all the official posts floating around the internet right now. It's entitled "Your Princess is in Another Castle: Misogyny, Entitlement, and Nerds."

+ The only true analysis I read that responded to the situation in a manner that was both rational and understanding. Not hysterical or cold. I appreciate that.

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