Leftist commentary from a mouthy bitch
The responses to this post at Shapely Prose really brought home to me just how much sexist bullshit women have to deal with in our lives, and how much of it we ignore, blow off, excuse, or rationalize, including some really vile, threatening and assaultive stuff. The comments are kind of a litany of heart-breaking experience.
I was not always the loud-mouthed, uber-sarcastic, combative bitch you see here before you today. I went through an excrutiatingly painful adolescence complete with early development, bad skin, and never having an “acceptable” body.
I had to start wearing a bra in fourth grade. Didn’t want to, had to. This, of course, was a source of much entertainment for my male classmates. I got felt up and had my bra snapped constantly. There was actual hitting for many of these occurences, because my folks had been pretty open about the concept of bodily autonomy. And I was frequently the one who got in trouble for the hitting, because “boys will be boys.”
Starting at 12, frequently co-workers of my father would mistake me for 16 or older. One of them made some comment at some point about what he’d like to do to “that” and my father scared the living fuck out of him. I’m kind of amazed Dad didn’t just pound him like a tent peg, honestly. Once, while we were living on a construction site in Eastern Washington, a group of construction workers cat-called me while I was waiting for my dad at the gate. I was never allowed to go meet him again.
In junior high, there were certain boys I could not sit anywhere near, because the harassment was so out of hand. If I were in front of one of them, they would repeatedly unfasten my bra, which lead to me running out of the room with my arms crossed over my chest several times, until I finally just got to the point that I’d just refasten it right there in class, because it happened so freaking often. My hair was pulled, hands would slide around my sides towards my breasts. Thankfully high-waisted jeans were in vogue then, I kind of shudder about where the touching would have happened if I’d been wearing low-rise jeans.
By halfway through seventh grade I was the school slut. If you listened to rumors, I had slept with the entire football team, I’d put out for anyone anywhere anytime, people had “seen” me sucking off teachers.
I was still a virgin.
I was raped. I was hit by a car. I was chased through barbed wire fences. I once spent half an hour huddled in a badger hole, because I was less afraid of the badger than the football players who’d chased me out into the desert. I had initially tried telling my folks about this crap, but after months of “just don’t react,” “don’t let it get to you” and nothing else. I gave up.
In a high school chemistry class, I had a fellow student use the excuse of reading my notes over my shoulder as an excuse to grab my hips and grind his crotch against my ass. I was wearing cowboy boots and stomped down on the bridge of his foot. I immediately became a “fucking ugly bitch.”
As an adult I’ve had men shout things from cars, accost me on the street, grab me, pinch me… I’ve never had anyone expose themselves to me, at least no anyone well-endowed enough that I could see that that was what he was doing. Stupid old prescription glasses.
Now the thing I’d like everyone to think about is, if you’ve read any of this crap and in your head decided that it’s no big deal, think again. Even when you’re a strong, opinionated, physically strong adult, a group of guys following you down the street telling you in graphic detail what they’d like to do to you is really threatening. Particularly, say when you’re getting off work in the middle of the night and it’s a block and a half to your car. For a lot of women who have internalized the “be nice, don’t be rude, it’s nothing, really” mentality, it can be fucking terrifying.
And it’s all bullshit.
What do I do in the face of crap like that now? I harass back. I heckle obscene phone callers. Like I said, no one’s ever exposed themselves to me, but I’ve been practicing the “Point and laugh.”
“Hey, baby! Nice Jugs!”
“Hey, sweet cheeks, let’s see your cock then! Turnabouts fair play, right?”
Or the ever popular, “FUCK YOU, ASSHOLE!”