#100BM Day 33
Occasionally, I write specifically about feminism in a very amateurish way, with little knowledge beyond what I carry around in my head, gleaned from a million sources that I can’t cite, not that any of them are academic.
That having been said, I do blunder through life not always specifically worrying about my own safety; I bike home in the middle of the night, I travel alone in countries where I don’t know a soul, I have been known to cut across parking lots when it is dark out, even though I was warned by a friend of my brother’s to NEVER EVER DO THAT when I was 14 because it was a sure way to get raped. (True story)
Last night was one of the rare evenings where I just didn’t feel great about my bike ride home. This happens on occasion. I rarely tell anyone, though, in case it makes me seem less tough or something. To be fair, I’m in full ovarian turmoil this this week, so maybe it’s partly the hormones talking, or perhaps it’s that the #YesAllWomen and @EverydaySexism campaigns continue to (at minimum) simmer without letting up (and with good reason), but I was very, very aware of every other person on my trip home (there were not many, but most of them were men, usually alone), every less-than-well-lit block, every drunken shout that may or may not have been directed at me.
Surely, I should be aware of those things always? I am. Mostly. But sometimes I forget the reality of why I am keeping a close eye on some dude on a rusty BMX slowly creeping down the sidewalks. It shouldn’t be (just?) to wonder how anyone came ride with their seat so low or wonder if I’m going to get a from-five-feet-away contact high off his weed stank.
And that makes me angry. I do not like being afraid to just be and exist. I do not like fearing other, presumably decent humans as a default (I already have enough anxiety about dealing with humans as it is). I do not like to worry that maybe my clothes aren’t baggy enough to hide the fact, in the darkened streets, that I am a woman(/target?).
I mean, what the hell? I can cheerfully go for months basically feeling like a warrior, or just neutral to whatever situation, but every now and again, my spidey sense goes haywire and I can’t seem to feel secure. In this case, it might be because the scope of the reality of women’s safety is being revealed more, and more publicly, and my (thusfar extremely lucky) self didn’t really ‘get’ it until recently. Maybe?
I’m hoping it was just a blip. Because I can’t live like that. Even though millions, billions of women do.
And what are my options? Going out even less often then I do? Driving everywhere, and holding my keys as a weapon (a trick taught to me as a pre-pubescent by my mother because, y’know, rapists) as I approach my car at night? Taking the bus, which is obviously never full of drunken asshats at 1am?
I am opting for none of the above. Constant vigilance needn’t be constant fear, so I’m going to try to keep that as my M.O.
I mean, it almost worked for Mad-Eye Moody, right?
Here’s a thing from the Daily Show that is on point like crazy.