hollaback

bright XII

First of all, my HAIR, you guys! My garish, overprocessed, completely me hair! My mom and I got ours professionally done for Mother’s Day. If I didn’t look 100% like a j-pop star before, I sure as hell do now – even though I do not know a single j-pop song and my musical taste runs more in this direction. And, my god, do little girls love me. At least three of them grin and point on my typical daily walk. I’m even cooler than Elsa.

bright IV

Now that I’ve gotten my cuteness out of the way, though, I’m about to get ranty on you. I took these photos yesterday on my front porch in the span of eight minutes. In that time, I fell prey to three honkings and two shouted remarks. You could make the case that the honks weren’t directed at me, that they were a mere exhortation of another driver or a signal to a cat in the road. But when you’ve spent twenty years existing while female, you kind of know. You know when it’s an accident and when it’s flirting and when it’s domination. I’d like to hope that it’s just misguided flirtation. I sympathize enough with the socially awkward to understand such things. But it’s not flirting when you pull up beside me on the sidewalk to scream in my face. And I wish I could call five times in eight minutes an exaggeration or an exception. Spoiler: it isn’t.

bright I

I refuse to accept that a barrage of objectification must come standard with being female and feminine. This is what objectification really is. It’s not about sexualization. It’s not about consenting to perform in media that some find degrading. At its core, it’s about refusal to acknowledge humanity. You can absolutely model nude and do porn and perform burlesque in settings that affirm your humanity. But there’s no way that screaming at a pretty girl out your car window affirms anyone’s dignity. I’m left startled and shaken, and you’re left looking like Captain Asshole.

By all means appreciate me. Mentally undress me to your heart’s content. But the minute you decide that your desires are more important than my personal boundaries, you are no longer worth my time.

bright VI

bright VII

Yell back. Flip them off. Don’t shut up. And, by god, don’t let it change who you are. I’ve known women to mute their personal styles for fear of the constant unwanted attention. I’ve seen people become paranoid, afraid to engage with any stranger at all. I refuse to do that. I will dress colorfully and I will be a sunny person who gives the benefit of the doubt, because that is who I am. Douchebags don’t change that. If I let them, they win.

bright III

bright V

Still not asking for it.

Author: skye

I aspire to be a bright-eyed girl in a big city, even though I wear glasses and live in what amounts to a hole in the ground.

4 thoughts on “hollaback”

  1. You look so rad. And YES, hollaback. Fuck street harassment. I hate feeling unsafe in public spaces ALL THE TIME. I recently took a big dog for a couple of walks and felt like, “No one’s gonna mess with me with Button around,” and the feeling of freedom made me realize how downtrodden I am usually.

  2. That hair is absolutely perfect! You look perfect! ❤ I've totally been there (re: physical and verbal harassment). For a time, I did allow it to change me, because I blamed myself. I didn't enjoy going anywhere alone. I always picked the shortest route possible, if I was walking and even then I would walk really fast. Heh. I never lingered, though one time I was chased, so running actually became necessary. I blamed my choice in clothing so I wore layers in the hopes that it would be a deterrent. It wasn't. I came to realize exactly what you said which is that it's not about physical attraction, it's about domination. I was an easy target, because I looked like a decent young girl and I didn't talk back.

    You're right about speaking up for yourself. Women and girls need to do that. The problem is that, in some cases, engaging these bastards can escalate an already dangerous situation. It's a tough call and I think whether or not one should talk back is largely depended on the circumstances. In my case, 99% of my harassers are black men who are shabbily dressed and who don't appear to have anywhere in particular to be on any given day. People like that have NOTHING to lose. I have found that it's in my best interest to let them talk and just keep walking rather than engage them, because if I hurt their pride in front of their homies…well…who knows what they may feel "forced" to do. You know? Anyway, I'm so sorry that you had to deal with such shitty behavior and I truly hope that those incidents are few and far between from here on out. ❤

    – Anna

    http://www.melodicthriftychic.com

    1. “The problem is that, in some cases, engaging these bastards can escalate an already dangerous situation. It’s a tough call and I think whether or not one should talk back is largely depended on the circumstances.”

      That’s a very good point. I often forget that my humble blog isn’t confined to Vermont anymore – I have readers from all over, so the advice I give may be inapplicable or even dangerous to some of them. There are certainly areas of the world where I’d walk with my head down and not engage for anything; I’m fortunate not to live in one where that is necessary.

      That said, though, I encourage everyone to be aware of the actual vs. perceived crime rates in their area. 24-hour media splashes grisly crimes everywhere we look, which exaggerates many people’s sense of danger. For instance, even though stranger rape is the least common type of sexual assault, it gets sensationalized the most, so women are warned disproportionately away from lonely streets at night. I don’t mean to belittle anyone’s fear, but I do think that a lot of people fall prey to hyperactive, outrage-fueled media.

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