9

It’s been a full week since The White SUV.
I’ve spent this week muddling through. Living in a bit of a fog. I’ve dropped the ball on a few projects. Slept more than I should have. Not applied for as many opportunities as I could have. Stared at too many walls. Resisted the temptation to respond with “I’M ALIVE!” any time any one asked me how I was. Resisted the temptation to dress down everyone who called that incident a win when to me it felt like such a failure.
At the beginning of the summer after a week of two public assaults I was talking to a dear friend who said, “Man, sometimes I wish women would just post about this shit every time it happens.”
My initial response to his wish was, “You can’t ask us to do that. Documenting it is traumatizing too.”
And then. I started to do exactly what he asked me to do.
To be fair, I don’t post every catcalling incident, or every microaggression, or every comment on my sexuality. I don’t post every assumption about me based on my body, my age and my gender. Because to be quite frank, I don’t have that kind of time. I have to…you know…eat and sleep on occasion.
But my tendency to shout about the blatant misogyny I and my fellow women face has been met with an interesting reaction. One friend, who I think was very well meaning, put it pretty eloquently. He said, “Whether you’re somehow a lightning rod for these types of confrontations, or you’re just more vocal about them than others, I applaud your bravery.”
Another friend, as I told her about the evenings misadventures said, “I don’t know why these things happen to you so often. I mean–walking down the street we don’t look that different and I don’t think this happens as often to me.”
After my friend said that to me, I asked her to tell me the last time she got catcalled it was just a few days before. And it sounded like a pretty scary situation to me.

In the time between now and The White SUV, I’ve been catcalled five times, once pretty violently.
In that space of time, unrelated to my experience, three other friends of mine have posted about their experiences with assault.
In that space of time, unrelated to my experience, at least one of my friends has posted about her experience with domestic violence.
In that space of time, unrelated to my experience, two of my friends have posted about trying to dress in the morning whilst preparing for the amount of street harassment they anticipate that day.

The thing about lightning rods is that not only do they attract the electricity, but they absorb it. They take it in. And though they protect their houses, they don’t fight back.
Which. Honestly. Does sound a bit like me. At least it sounds like me before I started to call myself a feminist.
All the women posting about every-day misogyny; we’re not lightning rods.
They haven’t invented a thing for what we are yet.
We don’t absorb the fire, we harness it and turn it back to the clouds that sent it our way.
We look to the sky and dare it to defy us.

‪#‎bringitonzeus‬ ‪#‎nottoday‬ ‪#‎riseup‬ ‪#‎feminism‬ ‪#‎fourthwave‬‪#‎stopthewaronwomen‬

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