July 21, 2014

6 Take-aways from the #YouOKSis Twitter Chat

Earlier this month there was an amazing Twitter chat on the subject of street harassment. Pause.

Street Harassment
"Unwelcome words and actions by unknown persons in public places which are motivated by gender and invade a person’s physical and emotional space in a disrespectful, creepy, startling, scary, or insulting way." -stopstreetharassment.org

This important Twitter chat was lead by the charge of activist and blogger @feministajones. Women shared their stories and discussed prevention and intervention tactics to help end street harassment. While the conversation was productive and encouraging overall, you can't have a conversation without the trolls. Event though they are never invited, they somehow manage to find vulnerable situations and attempt to hulk smash all of the feel good and kumbaya taking place. In case you missed this conversation, I included a few key takeaways below, so we can continue to grow and put this ridiculous practice to bed.

6) A lot of women experience street harassment everyday. A lot. In fact, 65 percent of women in the United States reported being harassed in the street by men according to a study by Stop Street Harassment. Even more alarming was the average AGE at which women most women said that they had their first street harassment encounter. Why would a grown man think it's OK to "compliment" the body of a 12 year old? We have to speak up and protect our girls. They are worth more than a creepy leer on their way to school.

4) Speaking of compliments... Men have no idea how to talk to women they don't know, or the definition of compliment. In fact, the mere mention of street harassment is often met with ridicule.

3) Some women experience street assault, like 41%. In what world is it OK for someone to physically assault someone for walking way? Oh that's right, the one that sends rape threats to women speaking out about rape.

2) Women have gotten really creative in avoiding/dealing with Street harassment. While I saved some of the tips, and even found this awesome website, this is really ridiculous. A woman walking down the street IS NOT an invitation. An actual invitation would be more like, "Excuse me, I want to respect your space by staying in my damn lane. Over here. Away from you. Without speaking."

1) We are our greatest ally. While there were a few men (like 4) who respected the twitter chat and saw its significance. Most men and a few women didn't understand why a woman would be complaining about attention from a man ever. Every person deserves to feel safe,  and no one understands that a woman's safety isn't promised like another woman. By simply asking a woman "You OK Sis?" in these situations we can empower each other, and take a stand.

This conversation did not end with the Twitter chat. Join the movement and let me know how you combat street harassment @herdiamondback!

July 16, 2014

May I Trouble You?

I present to you, the monthly poem!

The words I write will never do you Justice.
How can you describe europhia using words?
The strings that form the notes of the songs in a language I can only feel.
Maybe it is the sangria or the saketini that has enhanced my awareness,
my feeling of you,
that we share the same atoms that form air.
I breathe.
I Breathe.
Bring me to your Moon where your love is made.
I breathe. I sway.
I sweat.
This is beyond my body.
A dollar for your trouble.
Zooga malaga!

July 1, 2014

There Will Always Be Women Who Side
with The Patriarchy

The best way to build a bridge, is to acknowledge the river. Turning a blind eye to problems will often get you stabbed in the back. I could make up a million more metaphors because I'm also a poet and it's fun, but you see where I'm going with this. At a certain point in whatever project or struggle you are fighting, you have to face the facts of that situation, it's what makes you an adult.

As a young adult woman of color, I have no problem with adopting the term feminist to frame many of my opinions and ideas. I do not shy away from the term. It is not negative. It is the reason why I can write and commune with other women in a healthy way. Confession: this was not always the case. There was a time in my naivety, where I would gladly choose a boy over my friends and defend gross behavior as "boys being boys" and "oh that's what dudes do." As girls, we learn that boys are better, that they get all the rewards, that if you "play nice" you might get to suck on the sweet teet of privilege via your boyfriend/husband/male boss/what-the-hell-ever with a penis. This was when I was a girl. I grew up.

In adulthood you realize that people do not "play nice," that you can never assume loyalty and allegiance based on looks alone, and that sticking to "who you are" may be hard AF. However, recognition is the first step. Learning to listen with your mind open, to see with your legs closed, will reveal a person faster than a stripper at a 2 cent show. It will become your strength to pay attention before you declare another woman your "bestie" who is only waiting for her chance to sabotage your movement/outfit/relationship/whatever. Similarly, not bedding men who have no ability to comprehend why you are "bothered" by that silly street harassment thing and gets out the tiny violin for you, is loving yourself to the max. 

I write these words of caution in light of the Hobby Lobby decision, and after debating on the side of equal healthcare coverage for women, against other women, for the millionith time. These are the special women who believe they will be protected by the patriarchy as long as they "play nice." To be clear, I never said don't play it smart. Please don't go to work flipping tables talm bout "you male pig, stop oppressing me." We don't have to burn our bras again, but we have to be smart. I hate to say it, but women who say companies shouldn't be forced to do basic things and use the word "feminazi" are not my friend. I would be a fool to think so. Companies should not be forced to have a beer pong room, but basic healthcare? N/A. Please believe if men could get pregnant this would not be an issue.

There is nothing to be upset about here. It is a sad fact, but I will not lose sleep on "the women lost." In fact, it is my hope that they never come faced with a dire situation where they realize they were horribly wrong. Also, there are male feminists too, so do not read this as "women who like men are traitors." Stop. The truth is, some girls grow up and some do not. For the grown women, I salute you and we will march together with our sensible men in tow. For the girls, I wish you good luck.