As a woman, I feel we must survey and analyze every situation that occurs in a public place, in order to determine the safety factor. You know, how safe it is for a woman to act herself and be comfortable without guarding her words, dress, actions or gestures in order not to be harassed, intruded upon or attacked. The categorization of possible risks in public situations will then determine how said woman should adapt her behavior, dress, words, etc. in order to minimize any negative contact. For me, I had a lot of time to reflect on this autopilot vigilance this weekend when my best friend came to visit. Several incidents occurred that made me realize the pressure I feel to maintain a safety bubble, and how much it weighed on my decisions. It also made me want to do something about it.
Trigger warning for rape culture and street harassment. Offensiveness warning for liberal use of swear words.
Last week, I walked into a gas station wearing a slinky red dress.
My friends and I were on our way to a dance; we needed gas; I walked into a gas station wearing a slinky red dress.
I knew there would be stares, knew there would be comments. This is what happens, when you are female-bodied and you wear a red dress at night. Men stare, and they comment, because obviously you are wearing that dress so they can look at you! Why would you wear a dress – especially a slinky dress, especially a red dress – if you didn’t want to be stared at?
Head up, eyes forward, absolute refusal to acknowledge the eyes raking me up and down. Don’t make eye contact. Eye contact is an invitation to approach.
Of course, not everyone waits for an invitation. Continue reading
Tomorrow, I’m boarding a plane to Europe. It’s a reunion of sorts—my family is spread out on different parts of the globe and we’re converging in the middle for a week of museums, food, and booze-hunting. I kind of forgot about it until four days ago, when I realized that I needed to start doing laundry.
As I haphazardly threw my dirty laundry in to the washing machine, I started getting excited, thinking of all of the fiscally irresponsible overnight trips I wanted to take by myself. I could go to Prague! I could have breakfast in Berlin and lunch in Poland!
Then, my usual second thoughts reared their ugly heads.
Guest Post by Sarah Strenio
This post is going to center around a song I wrote, so for the hearing impaired, my apologies in advance. There will also be discussion of the lyrics. Please note this is still in draft mode, so please be patient with my minimal garageband skills.