To these men I was simply a convenient ass to stare at while they were in line. I could be a Nobel Prize winner, but they wouldn't know and they sure as fuck wouldn't care.
I was reminded that despite how capable I felt; despite being proud of myself for battling the triggers and the anxiety and being able to get my car working again I was still nothing but a feature in an afternoon porn flick in their heads. I wanted to turn around and punch the three of them, I wanted to turn and scream at them to knock it the fuck off. I wanted to turn around and ask them why they felt as though they had a right to use my body to fantasize about while they stood in line. I wanted to ask them who gave them the right to make me uncomfortable, to make me lose my good mood. I wanted to ask them all of these things.
In the end I just stood there. My mood deflated and my place in society brought back home in stark clarity. All of the joy I had just experienced, all of the elation at fixing my car and the feeling of accomplishment ran right out the window. To these men and to so many others like them, I was a mere afternoon diversion.
Interesting enough, another one of my favorite bloggers, F Train 2 Brooklyn, posted this:
The three men at the table were trying to engage the three of us in conversation. We're all married, so we're empowered by the fact that we are taken and do not care what single men think. We turned down their drink offer and they referred to us as bitches. I almost snapped and reacted to them. My two companions were getting ready to turn on them too.This kind of behavior begs for a Thelma & Louise moment. Because I don't think there is a woman alive who hasn't had to deal with the male priviledge.
I said, "Don't let them turn us into her. She's the bitch. Just think: what would Princess Diana have done?"
"Exactly," said companion #1. "Carolyn Kennedy would walk away."
"Hilary Rodham Clinton would too," said companion #2. Then we laughed, because she'd probably bitchslap the lot of them.
Instead of snapping, we ignored them and enjoyed the rest of our time. As we were standing to leave, the boyfriend said loudly, "So long, bitches."
Why couldn't he just leave it alone? We turned up our noses, flipped our hair, and gracefully excited.
Here's my problem - it was a decent place in downtown Manhattan, we are three attractive, unassuming, intelligent women just out for a quiet afternoon minding our own business - so why did he feel it was his right to try and ruin it? And ruin his daft girlfriends afternoon? Why are there men like him in the world?
For some reason, women are supposed to be flattered that a man would deem the woman worthy of his attention. And if the woman objects, there is something wrong with her. She is a bitch, a ballbreaker, frigid, a cunt, and a dyke.
But, I don't really believe that. I don't think men are flattering us. They are reminding us of where our place is. They are reminding us that we are sub-human, objects, just 3 holes and a pair of tits. A warm, wet place for their penis.
There is a definite correlation between this behavior, and the behavior of whites during civil rights. The more rights that blacks were able to achieve, the more shit they had to put up with, until black people finally said, enough! The men would not be called "boy", their women would not be treated as whores, or worse, animals.
Do women need to face this behavior head on? Confront it when we see it? Make it uncomfortable for men to do this to us?
Because its more than just words. There is a barely veiled threat from some of these men, that they can do what they want, and we can't stop them.
Before you jump on my comments, I know that this not true of all men who behave misogynisticly, and that some men just slip into the misogynistic behavior because they think it's OK. But remember, women can't tell which man is going to be apologetic or embarrassed, and which is going to follow us to our cars.
Remember, many black men were lynched for not staying "in their place".
And Thelma and Louise were well armed and had nothing left to lose.