Go Ahead, Glare At Me

I wore a shirt to SlutWalk this year that said “Occupy Rape Culture”.  On the metro ride home, someone kept glaring at me and I kept looking at her wondering what her problem was, until finally she snapped, “I don’t see how you can wear a shirt with that word on it in public”.

“I don’t see how we can live in a society that passively accepts how often it happens,” I replied.

On the train ride to NY this past week, I sat and read “Yes Means Yes”.  A man sitting across the aisle from me asked me what I was reading, and I showed him the cover.  His eyes got big and he said, “That really isn’t proper reading for a young lady”.

I know these people were a little offended.  I’m used to people getting offended when I call them on things like rape jokes and kitchen jokes and lies like “women are just inferior at math”.  They look at me like I’ve ruined their fun.  They tell me I’ve got a stick up my butt or that I’m just a feminist party pooper.

And I hate to say this, but I really just don’t care.  In fact, I’m glad they’re offended.

Ok, I’m not glad they’re offended.  But I’m glad that at least they’re being made to think about something they obviously don’t want to be thinking about.  I’m glad that in some small way, I might be challenging the box that they want to put me in.  So it’s not that I’m glad they’re offended…I’m just not all that sorry.

I’m looking at you, people who read this blog and leave me nasty comments that I don’t approve because they’re all ad hominem.  I’m looking at you, people on trains.  Looking at you, tourist who hate SlutWalk.  And you, men who get angry when I say something about you catcalling me on the street.  I’m not sorry you’re offended.

First, because I’m offended.  You’re offended that I wore a shirt with the word “rape” on it in public?  Fine.  I’m offended because 1 in 4 women and 1 in 33 men will be a survivor of sexual assault in the United States in her lifetime, and I think that’s ridiculous.  You’re offended that I called you on your women in the kitchen joke?  I can’t believe you actually said it.  And no, there isn’t scientific evidence that women aren’t good enough at math, and no, that isn’t the real reason that women are dropping out of STEM fields, and no, I don’t intend to stop working as soon as I have babies, thankyouverymuch.  Oh, and no, I don’t think that is going to make me a bad mom.

And second, because I have things like facts to back me up.  I can give you sources on the statistics I cite.  I can link you to studies that I reference, and I have things like studies to reference.  You have things like “the Bible” and “family values”.

But more importantly, I know that sometimes, people need to be shocked awake.  I can’t tell you how many times people have told me that SlutWalks are bad, that it makes people involved seem crazy.  But the truth is, SlutWalks were a jolt to the system, a reminder that something was horribly wrong; it made people open their eyes and start paying attention.

What Rachel Maddow is saying in the above images is completely true.  Things like SlutWalk are designed to grab attention.  They’re not supposed to be quiet-~-we need them to be loud, so that people will stop tuning out the problems and start LISTENING for a change.

And that’s true, not just of SlutWalks, but of the ways in which we discuss the issues. No, I’m not saying we should never have a reasonable conversation with people, or that we shouldn’t try to get people to see our side and sympathize with us.  But I am saying that I’m not going to cover up the issues, put a book cover over the cover of Yes Means Yesand pretend I’m reading a cookbook.  I’m not going to sit down and shut up because people don’t like what it is I’m saying.  I’m not going to let my experiences be dismissed because they don’t fit people’s ideas about what they should be.

I don’t care that you’re offended by my shirt or my book or the stickers on my laptop.  I don’t care if you call me a “homo-lover”, or a slut, or a crazy person-~-oh, I’ll argue with you about those terms, I’ll tell you you’re wrong, I’ll try to explain why I think the things I think, but mark my words, I won’t change my mind.

I’m tired of people saying that feminists are hostile and offended and this means we’re crazy.  I may come across as hostile, and I may be offended, but there are reasons.

So, lady on the subway, you can’t see how I could go out in public wearing my t-shirt, but I can’t see why you’re not out there screaming with me.  For yourself.  For your daughters, for your sisters, for your nieces, if you have any.  For me, even.  I don’t see how you could live in a society that glorifies the idea of men hunting women, a society that objectifies women, and NOT be offended.  I think my shirt is the least of our problems right now.

I guess we’re both confused, then.  But either way, I can’t very well change shirts on the subway, so you’re just going to have to deal with it.


~ by Randi Saunders on December 21, 2012.

One Response to “Go Ahead, Glare At Me”

  1. Bravo!!!

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