Literally, everyone should go and see this movie. right now.
Across the Universe is brilliant, gorgeous, and not quite like anything else I’ve seen.
Forget that it’s a musical. It’s a Beatles musical.
Go! what are you still doing here?
just got in the door from an evening out with some new friends from school. on the way from the streetcar stop to my corner, all of a two minute walk, I experienced some street harassment. guy crossed the street and followed me in the opposite direction to where he was going to do it. fell in step behind me, started calling out to me, “hey, slow down, I’m not going to do anything to you, I just wanna talk to you, you’re so beautiful, hey baby” bullshit. I try to ignore him, but he was persistent. Lucky for me, on my corner is an all-night pizza place. so I walk in there. no way am I going to allow this idiot to see where I live. mama didn’t raise no fool. once I’m in there, of course he follows me in. I decide, no. no more street harassment for this girl.
so I turn on the guy. I tore him a new one for harassing me in the street like some piece of meat, threatening me and following me. he tells me he jsut wanted to compliment me, can’t I take a compliment, why am I so uptight? I tell him no I can’t take a compliment from a strange man calling out to me in the street at 1:30 in the morning when I’m walking by myself, I don’t give a shit what he thinks, why does he think he has to right to harass me in the street, I’m not public property, and fuck off. a nice couple from my streetcar asked me did I need help, offered to walk me home, which they did, making sure he was gone by then, and that was the end of that. she was much more understanding of my predicament than he was, no surprise there, he was like, you only live two doors down? and she was like, well, she didn’t want him following her to her door, did she? (with ‘you twit’ just dripping from her voice.)
this reminds me of an argument my friend and I had recently with a friend of her boyfriend. we told him that many women view men as potential rapists in certain contexts, that women were raised with the fear of rape burnt into our brains from an early age as simply the worst thing that could ever happen to you as a woman (not that it is or isn’t, just that this is what women are taught). He was completely offended and pissed off by this statement, and of course took it personally to mean that we both thought he was, as a person, capable of raping someone. He got so mad that he packed up his toys and went home, actually. there was no seeing reason for him that night, that the stats simply add up for women to view men this way, particularly in situations of vulnerability. and of course, no way for him to drop his male privilege for even a second to try to understand where we were coming from.
well, there you go. combine the culture of the fear of rape with general street sexual harassment by men, and this is what you get. was I actually afraid of this guy? well, I was nervous enough to walk into that pizza place rather than walk the twenty more feet to my door.
and I hate that. I hate that I couldn’t walk the literally three and a half minutes to my door from the streetcar stop without being harassed. I hate that I felt afraid of a guy who I probably had 20 pounds and 5 inches on. I hate that I had a couple walk me to my door. I hate that if I had been dressed differently, it probably wouldn’t have happened. I hate that I actually felt bad about using the pizza place as a refuge and bringing that confrontation into their place of business. I hate being viewed as public property by some random asshat in the street. and I hate that this happens every day to billions of women all over the world, to varying degrees of severity. I HATE IT.
when that couple offered to help me, I had my cell phone in my hand to call the police. what would they have told me? would they have done anything to make me feel safer, or would they have laughed at me? if that couple hadn’t been there, would someone else have offered to help me? would I have had to wait until that guy left? would I have had to ask someone to intervene, throw the guy out?
so, what can we do about street harassment? I don’t want to have to make sure that I never go anywhere by myself. I want to have the freedom to walk down the street, by myself, dressed however I want, at any time of day or night, without being harassed. and I want every other woman to be able to have that too. it’s simple really.
how can we make this happen? I think street harassment is just as important a topic to deal with as sexual harassment in the workplace. it’s like blue-collar vs. white-collar crime, you know? so what can be done about it?
[by the way, I remember a discussion about street harassment somewhere not too long ago (someone remind me where and I’ll provide a link) that intimated that more men of colour were street harassers than were white men. This guy was white. the real question is, would I have rounded on him in the same way if he wasn’t? would I have felt more less threatened by a harasser of another shade?]
and so, the other day, I met this person who in the normal course of bar-room conversation said, “I’m anti-vegetarianism. I believe everyone should eat meat.”
[stunned silence, even from the other carnivores present]
someone said, “Why would you be anti-vegetarianism?”
says she: “I grew up on a farm.”
[like that’s an excuse. and of course, further proof of my pet theory, standpoint. but I let her keep on talking.]
he: “so, you think EVERYONE should eat meat, even if they don’t believe in eating meat, or want to eat meat, or like eating meat?”
she: “well… yeah.”
[maybe she’s starting to realize that she’s backed herself into a tight and strange corner.]
me: “I’m vegetarian.”
me: “So why should my personal decision not to eat meat, according to my personal moral code be overridden by your opinion? I should really be, like, forced to eat meat against my will?”
her: “well, I’m just tired of vegetarians being all morally superior and forcing their opinions on the rest of us.”
me, twitching and nearly jumping into her mouth: “ummmm, this from the woman who just said she thinks everyone should eat meat? isn’t that a little bit inconsistent? And how does my personal decision not to eat meat have any impact on you whatsoever? I’m not the one sitting around saying that everyone should or shouldn’t do anything.”
[at least not at that particular moment in time, but that’s another discussion.]
me: “so how do you justify slaughtering animals unnecessarily for food when it’s perfectly possible and healthy to not do so?”
she: “well, we already produce all this livestock, and if we don’t kill them then the world will be overridden with animals.”
me: “that’s a pathetic excuse for a reason. if we didn’t over-produce livestock, there wouldn’t be an abundance of animals in the first place. If we reduce the demand, the supply will also reduce. in response”
she: “Well, a lot of people make their living farming animals, so I think that justifies it.”
me: “I don’t think economic reasons are any justification for unnecessary mass slaughtering of millions of animals a year, not to mention raising them under inhumane conditions a lot of the time. I think people should be more aware of where their food comes from in general, and maybe then they wouldn’t be so wasteful of agricultural and environmental resources.”
she: “well in Europe, they’re way ahead of us in terms of tagging their meat and animal products so you can find out exactly where it came from and what kind of conditions they have on their farm.”
me: “good for europe. It still means millions of animals being killed unnecessarily. I don’t believe in causing any living thing unnecessary harm or suffering when it’s possible to live in a more harm-free manner.”
she: “I do.”
me: “well why would you want to deny other people the opportunity to live more humanely and make less impact on the planet and on other living beings? Just because you have a moral code that allows for unnecessary suffering so you can line your pocketbook and your stomach doesn’t mean everyone should have to live by that code.”
[okay, now the moral superiority is starting to come through just a little bit. although all was said with relative calm.]
she: no answer.
me: nothing more to say to such an obvious idiot. 🙂
I turn away, wondering if I can really endure this person for another 3 years.
so, why is it that people are so uncomfortable with vegetarians? why is my mother always trying to get me to eat meat? why are the servers in restaurants always trying to get me to add meat to my order? why do people feel so threatened by my personal moral code? I mean, at this point I really can’t think of a justification for eating meat, raising livestock for slaughter, etc. along with many many other things like oh say having affairs with married people and having children as accessories and mistreating people who ring through your groceries and spending $3000 on a handbag. but, ya know, that’s just me. do I hold dear the hope that more people will view the world the same way that I do, and that maybe jsut maybe I could find one or two or ten more to spend my life hanging out with, and by a slim chance of a hope that our government might actually be down with some of my ideas about how the world should be managed? absolutely. Just like all those conservative right wing christian fundy nutbars wish everyone would wait for jesus and stop having gay sex and killing babies for fun and start to bomb the brownies with them.
I’ll continue to hold out hope. we’ll see what happens. give peace a chance!
and so I changed the blog’s theme again. I know – a year of stability, and then two changes in a month! how unpredictable! quelle surprise! what’s going to happen next?
OK, so I’ve been in this weird haze thanks to my move – some of it wine-induced and sleep-deprived, I’ll admit! getting your life re-ordered after a move, while starting law school, is sometimes a bit overwhelming, and as many of you know, I am not much for the administrative details of life – “administrativia”, as I like to call it! However, it was kind of nice, like being in a sensory-deprivation chamber, oblivious to everything going on in the outside world…
but this snapped me out of that, and fast.
Apparently, women have to cover themselves up now in order to get on an airplane. Two women were told to adjsut their clothing because they were wearing clothing that Southwest Airlines employees found too revealing or risk not being permitted to use their airline tickets. This, after “come fly the friendly skies” of the 1970s, when “stewardesses” as they used to be called had a far different dress code of hot pants and low cut blouses, to better serve their patriarchal male customers, I’m sure.
boy oh boy am I glad those women contacted the media to tell their stories. cuz I’m sure I would have simply lost my mind, issued a stiong of profanities, and not been allowed on the plane because I appeared completely deranged and out of control. What is this, the Victorian era? Are we expected to look and act like Puritans just to get a seat on an airplane? Last time I looked, women are allowed to have jobs and actually earn their own money with which to purchase airline tickets, so what gives on the other end of actually using those tickets?
Southwest Airlines, I shame you. fascist pigs.
which is my new favourite way to end a post. in case you were wondering.
PS: this just in: Southwest is actually using this incident for publicity!!!!!!!! capitalizing on their discrimination by offering “skimpy fares” to “honour the miniskirt”! Seriously!
Hi all –
just a quick little note to say hello and that I’ve arrived in my new city safe and sound! the trip was a bit harried when my dad decided to make a drastically wrong turn in Montreal and we got lost for a while, but I did get to see the beautiful Quebec City along my way , which I highly recommend as a vacation destination – it’s the most beautiful city I’ve ever seen.
no, Rainbow Girl, I’m not in Calgary. That’s way more than halfway! I’m in Toronto now, which might be a little under halfway, but close enough.
And thanks to Red Jenny for meeting me for coffee! yay!
ok, so I don’t have internet at home yet, hopefully by the end of the week, and I’m really busy with school and getting settled in, so I can’t promise many posts in the upcoming weeks, but I’ll do my best!