So today, my bike has a flat, so i have to wheel it to the local bike shop to get it fixed. No biggy, right? It’s hot out, so i put on a dress before I left. It’s a cute little dress I bought at a thrift store because it was four dollars and my boy gets that little “oh look she’s so pretty” look in his eye every time i put it on, so I really like it and i enjoy wearing it. Also not a big deal, right?
But then I’m wheeling my bike towards the bike shop, which is in a heavily Hispanic area of town, and I think “Oh man, I’m going to get some major street harassment in this part of town. Maybe i shouldn’t have worn something else.”
And then I think about what I just thought.
And then I go “wow”, I had know idea so much oppression and fuckery could be packed into one single-sentence wisp of a thought. Here be classism, sexism, and racism all rolled into one, and it’s a really tricky situation.
In my (unfortunately vast) experience with street harassment, men of color are a 10 to one more likely to harass me than white men, and I HATE being harassed. It makes me feel unsafe, objectified, slut-shamed, and frustrated. Street harassment, to me, is a rude reminder of how much sexism is soaked in our culture and you know what? Sometimes I don’t want to think about the sexism soaked in our culture. Sometimes I want to think about that BDSM class my boyfriend and I are walking home from, or what I want for lunch, or if my boy would like me to pick up ice cream, or the awesome sex last night, or something, anything other than rape culture and street harassment and how its not a fucking COMPLIMENT, goddammit.
It is my right and need as a human being to feel safe and take any precaution necessary to make myself feel safe, up to and including being aware of possible dangers around me. But it is also the right and need of some guy walking down the street for some (mostly) white girl to not look at him with suspicion that he’s going to harass her based on his race and class.
Its awful, because I think to myself “You know, Shora this thinking you have is racist and classist and really fucked up and you need to stop it now.” and I’m like “I know but this ACTUALLY happens to me ALL the time. What am I supposed to do? This is my safety, my body, my peace of mind!”
And to make me feel like more of a jackass, I DID get harassed on the way to the bike shop. By a white guy. (Although this white guy did get my Mental Stamp of Creeper and Suspicion right before he was a ass, so)
I just don’t know what to do, or think, or feel about things like this. It’s so frustrating. I just want to walk down the goddamn street in my pretty dress i bought for 4 dollars at a thrift store, and not have to think about violations of body autonomy and race and class and harassment and all of that CRAP.