Sneaky Street Harassment… what would you do?

February 28, 2009 § 9 Comments

As a seventeen year old living in New York City, I’ve certainly experienced my fair share of street harassment. Men have said obscene things to me, made gestures, whistled, the works. Though I am by no means happy to be treated this way, I’ve perfected my “death glare,” which is pretty satisfying. What I find worse than the blatantly obscene comments, however, are the faux polite compliments.

I used to frequent an awesome little cafe in my neighborhood called Carrot Top. The coffee was wonderful, the management was super friendly and it was right outside my door. The only problem was that a man who happened to get his coffee at the same time as me every morning felt entitled to assess my appearance, ask me my age, command me to “keep smiling” and, my personal favorite, propose that we run away together.

I’m sure many of you have been in a similar situation. When this man talks to me, he doesn’t say gross enough things for me to call him out on his behavior. He sees everything he does as perfectly chivalrous. Mostly, he puts me in a position where it would be considered rude of me not to thank him for making me feel uncomfortable. I probably should call him out on it one day. Mostly, I just wish I didn’t have to!

No form of street harassment is OK in any situation, but I personally hate the type that makes the object of the harassment feel bad about reacting honestly to the “compliments” he or she receives. I’m writing this post because I really don’t know what to do about the situation. Today I went to Carrot Top and saw him across the street, and that familiar sense of dread came over me for the first time in a long time. It’s really not OK that a stranger can have that affect on me. I go to Carrot Top much less frequently than I used to (in part because of this guy), but next time I’d like a badass plan of action. Any suggestions?

NARAL event

February 19, 2009 § Leave a comment

Choices: Emergency Contraception
NARAL Pro-Choice New York and the National Institute for Reproductive Health, in partnership with co-sponsors Students Active for Ending Rape (SAFER), the New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault, and Harlem Health Promotion Center presents: “Choices: Emergency Contraception.”

Presenters will share info about EC and how to get it, their successes and lessons learned, and how we all can get involved in the efforts to make Emergency Contraception an accessible and supported reproductive choice for all!

Wednesday, February 25th
6:30-8:30 pm
470 Park Ave. South, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10016

Free with RSVP to lhoward@prochoiceny.org or 646-520-3506.

Event is open to all and space is wheelchair accessible.

I can never make it to these events, but I encourage anyone who’s interested to contact Lalena Howard at the email above, she’s pretty awesome.

Hilarious (Terrifying)

February 15, 2009 § 1 Comment

Zoe, Silvia and I had a lovely dinner party with our mothers and somehow this video came up in our conversation:

I wish I could truthfully say, “Golly, things sure have changed!” since this video is riddled with sexism, misinformation and overall corniness. However, I’ve definitely experienced my fair share of horribly dramatized and insulting health videos which make me wonder how far our health education system has actually progressed… but that’s a topic for a whole other post. For now, just have a good laugh at Molly and her period do’s and don’ts.

Not to belabor the point…

February 11, 2009 § Leave a comment

But just in case you didn’t get it, women really love chocolate.

And I thought I was the only one with this fantasy. How could I forget that every member of the weaker sex is utterly susceptible to her senses. How do we get anything done?

Facebook and Feminism

February 8, 2009 § 1 Comment

I’ve been having a really wonderful time checking the “Grinnell-Class of 2013″ Facebook group ever since I got accepted. At first this was because I’m ridiculously excited to go to college and join the Grinnell community. Almost immediately, however, the nature of my interest changed. I began to notice people posting really weird and personal things on the wall, stuff that you normally don’t tell strangers. Soon among the bizarrely personal posts, I found this WINNER:

who needs your school to be well known when you have Anna as your friend on Facebook. The girl has over a thousand photos of herself – she must be famous, or self-obsessed I can’t decide.

First of all… this is just a disgustingly mean thing to say about another human being before meeting her. Period.

But my main point is this: Facebook encourages its users to expose themselves. We share information on the internet with a huge amount of people, some of whom we haven’t even met yet. The option (more like imperative) to have photos on Facebook puts girls especially, I think,  in a difficult position.

If we have to many pictures we are self-obsessed. If we have too few we have probably been deleting the unflattering pictures, and are once again labeled superficial. If we leave up the unflattering pictures, we are ugly (but maybe we have integrity?). If we are caught on camera doing something unladylike such as making out with someone at a party, it’s now totally acceptable for that picture to go up on Facebook without our permission.

I am, at times, guilty of judging people I hardly know on Facebook, that’s for sure. I think the accessibility of all this personal information is sort of hard to pass up. So, I can’t decide if I should blame Facebook for encouraging this type of situation, or thank it for highlighting a truth that has always been there.

I do know, however, that when I meet “Grimy” (my little nickname for the author of that post) I will have a pretty valid reason to judge him: HOW HE TREATS OTHERS.

“I’m just not into that”

February 4, 2009 § 5 Comments

So, today was my first day as a second semester senior, a day that notoriously marks the beginning of several months of partying, nostalgia and (my favorite) intellectual apathy. I am all for taking it easy after 3 and 1/2 years of stressing over GPAs and getting into college, but today I realized that perhaps my last semester of high school can be put to good use.

Silvia and I are both in US Women’s History. After class, we heard a classmate complaining about being stuck in that course, saying, “It’s going to be so much feminism, I’m just not into that.”

My response: Luckily, US History of Women is IN NO WAY a class on feminism.

Silvia’s response: Oh, so you aren’t into equal rights for women?

Embarrassed, she then mumbled something about not wanting to do all the reading for the class.

It frightens me that smart women are scared to even learn about other women because they are afraid of being labeled as (GOD FORBID) feminists. So even though I’d love to turn off my brain until the fall, I feel compelled to defend the class, US Women’s History, AND the label, Feminism. It will undoubtedly be more fun than calculus and college applications!

Some thoughts on women in musical theatre…

February 1, 2009 § 3 Comments

Having been in many musicals, I’ve definitely noticed some trends in the way women are portrayed, and these trends are rarely good. My main qualm is this: there is a disproportionate amount of female characters who sing entire songs about living luxuriously by marrying rich. SO MANY gold diggers in musical theatre. Here is a list off the top of my head, with some favorite quotes from each:

Buddy Beware- Anything Goes

When invited to dine I can’t eat without wine, So, Buddy, Beware

Always True To You In My Fashion- Kiss Me Kate

There’s an oil man known as “Tex” Who is keen to give me checks And his checks, I fear, mean that sex is here to stay!

Don Juan- Smokey Joe’s Cafe

Don Juan, your money is gone And when your money is gone, Don your babe is gone

Freddy My Love- Grease

Thinking about it, my heart’s pounding already, knowing when you come home we’re bound to go steady, and throw your service pay around like confetti,  Freddy, my love

Ok… so this list turned out to be less expansive than I thought, but I still think it’s worth mentioning. I honestly wouldn’t mind if this kind of song occurred in one musical. In isolation I find each song rather catchy and witty. The fact that there are so many (which I stand by, even though I couldn’t think of them) is upsetting. What’s even grosser to me is that all of these songs are written for altos. Because apparently only women with low voices can be conniving sluts. The sopranos, with more conventionally feminine voices, are generally more pure-hearted.

I’m sorry that this rant is so specific to musical theatre, but it’s something that’s been bothering me recently. Next time I can talk about how there are no stoner movies with female leads!!

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