So, my life is falling apart around me. It’s gone so far that I feel like the proverbial straw is stalking me. But, I’ve indulged in enough self-pity (an absolutely useless and destructive emotion), and I want to talk about something else today.
I read this blog post (find it here: http://driftingthrough.com/) about women de-escalating incidents that are sexist and/or threatening. A lot of it resonated with me. I’ve been the woman with the keys between her fingers, I’ve buried feelings of confusion by interactions with male friends because I don’t know if I’m making something out of nothing, etc.
I found unique ways to de-escalate (something I didn’t realize I was doing until I started reading the above post). I became one of the guys. I let everything roll of my back and took it all as a joke (even if some things hurt or confused me)–because after all, who would ever really be interested in making a pass at me. I can tell a dirty joke with the best of them, I can make them blush faster than they can offend me, and I just keep on smiling while I do it. But what has happened to me on the inside?
My daughter, my gorgeous 13-year-old daughter, has already had to deal with some of these things. Two years ago, boys were harassing her in the playground and patting her ass. The school dress code has become a joke because it puts the responsibility for behavior on how the females are dressed and not how anyone behaves. She wants to organize a “no-bra” week. She said if shoulders are so offensive and so dangerous to show, how would they like it if all the eighth grade girls gave up their bras for a week–technically not violating the dress code.
Now I don’t consider myself a modern day feminist–mostly because I believe the feminist agenda has changed from lifting women up to beating men down, and if you raise one by lowering another, doesn’t everyone lose? I’m also not politically correct. I just don’t have time to worry about every little thing that might come out of my mouth. What I am, is sensitive to other’s feelings, and I think this was what the author of the above post was trying to get at.
If we take just a few minutes to notice how someone is reacting to our words and behavior, and modify it if they appear uncomfortable or threatened, wouldn’t a lot of this be avoided? Everyone reacts differently to situations, and I’m not suggesting that we are totally responsible for those reactions; however, if we recognize that a bare shoulder is not an invitation to a come on, if we acknowledge that a raunchy joke may make someone feel harassed, wouldn’t it be easy them to take responsibility for our actions and reactions?
I don’t know. Am I way off base?