Jun. 30, 2014
I debated whether or not to share this story.
And then I debated whether or not to put it on Tumblr…but I decided it was important. Because in my own way, I can (unfortunately) point out exactly what is wrong with men when they don’t realize how hard it is to be a woman. How we do not have equal opportunities and freedoms in everyday life. How most men, even good caring men, have no clue what we go through on a daily basis just trying to live our lives.
So here goes.
I often ride the Metro when I commute from North Hollywood to Long Beach in order to save money. I bring a book, pointedly wear a ring on my ring finger to imply I’m married (I’m not) and keep to myself.
Without fail, I am aggressively approached by men on at least half of these commutes. The most common approach is to walk up to where I am sitting with body language that practically screams LEAVE ME ALONE and sit down next to me or as close to me as possible, when the train is not crowded and there are many empty rows. Sometimes an overly friendly arm is draped over the railing behind me, or they attempt to lean in close to talk to me as if we are old friends. Without fail, the man or boy in question will lean to close and ask me
What are you reading?
Is that a good book?
What’s that book about?
This serves the double purpose of getting my attention and trapping me in a conversation. If I stop reading the book I enjoy to talk to you, random stranger, you hit on me or just stay way too close to me. If I tell you to leave me alone, you get mad at me. Because I somehow, as a woman, owe you conversation.
Tonight when I boarded the train in Long Beach at 10:30pm, it started up right away. I was not on the train more than three minutes before three boys who looked eighteen sat in the row behind me and leaned over the seats into my personal space, close enough to breathe on me. The one with his arm draped over onto the back of my seat asked me—surprise— “what are you reading?” I went through my usual routine. I told them loudly and firmly that I wanted to be left alone to read my book. They got angry. I was told “Why are you going to be like that? I just wanted to talk!” His friends start laughing at me and they don’t move, telling me come on! and why are you gonna be like that? until I tell them to leave me the fuck alone, stand up, and move to the front of the car near the three other people on the train, a couple and a business man in a suit. They spend the next two stops shouting at me from the back of the car, alternating between trying to sound flirtatious and making fun of me, shouting "I bet she’s reading Stephanie Meyer! I bet she’s reading Twilight or some shit! You reading Twilight or some shit?"
They exit the train at the next stop, and I’m relieved. The train is going out of service at the next station, so we all exit to board a new train to Los Angeles. As we board, the business man steps aside to let me go through the door first and asks me if those guys were bothering me. I say yes, that it happens all the time, and he tells he’ll beat them up for me if they come back. He is a nice person who talks to me like I’m a human being instead of a walking pair of tits, and I make a mental note: This is how a real man talks to a woman on a train.
The business man and the couple exit our new Blue Line train an exit or so later, and I think my night is ending on a good note. A seemingly normal man enters the train with his bicycle. At this point I am three rows from the front of the car, another man was sitting near the back of the car, and the rest of the car is empty. Bicycle Man walks halfway down the row, and settles into the seat directly opposite me. Perfect, I think. Twice in one night.
It’s not the first time I’ve been bothered multiple times. As such, I’m still amped from the teenagers on the first train. So when this man leans across the aisle into my personal space and asks me, yes, what are you reading, I assertively but calmly tell him to please leave me alone, I am reading. The man stands up, moving to the front and muttering angrily over his shoulder that it isn’t his fault I’m pretty.
Yes. Exactly that. I am the bad person in this situation because somehow this is all my fault. I started this by being attractive. I am making a mental note to bitch about this to my friends later. I go so far as to write it down so I know I’m remembering it properly.
It is at this exact moment I realize Bicycle Man is not taking it well. The seemingly annoying but normal man a moment before is now talking to himself, becoming agitated. In my years of being bothered by total strangers, I have learned how to hold a book and seem to be reading while taking in everything around me. He is glaring at me, and says out loud in an angry baby talk voice “PLEASELEAVEMEALONEI’MREADING. PLEASE LEAVE ME ALOOOONE.”
Then he’s up out of his seat and things go from bad to worse. He begins pacing back and forth in front of his bike, alternating between screaming something about his mother being dead and calling me a slut, a hoe, a bitch. I am frozen in place. There is one other person in the car, and I’m not sure if trying to change seats will draw more attention to me or less. I trust my instincts and show no fear, doing my best to appear to be calmly reading my book, never once looking up to acknowledge the abuse he’s hurling at me. There are four stops left until we reach the main downtown station where there are lights and security officers. Those four stops are virtually abandoned, and I have no guarantee that leaving to wait for another train won’t motivate him to leave the train as well, leaving us potentially alone at a metro station platform just outside of Compton. I’m frozen in place, trying to plan what I’m going to do if he decides to take all this rage directly to me. I’m ready to kick him, scream, make enough noise that he panics and flees.
At this point he’s punching the walls and doors of the train, screaming at me. He stares me full in the face and screams
SUCK MY DICK, BITCH
YOU STUPID BITCH
YOU GODDAMN HO
IF I HAD A GUN I’D SHOOT YOU
I WOULD FUCKING KILL YOU BITCH
This went on for two stops. No one came to see what was happening. The man in the last row was as frozen as I was. I’m not angry he didn’t come to my defense. He was smaller, older, and frailer-looking than I was. Again, I was worried if I got up, I would be turning my back on him to walk down the aisle. In the state he was in, I had no guarantee it wouldn’t get physical, and I had more physical strength with my back to the window and feet in kicking position where I was. If he had chosen to assault me, I would only be making it easier for him by standing up and putting myself directly in his path. On and on, over and over, he screamed at me, screamed at his dead mother, screamed at me again.
The moment we reached the downtown station, I was out the door and down the stairs. I still had to catch a connecting train to North Hollywood, and made sure there was no sign of Bicycle Man before I entered the car. That’s when I finally starting shaking, and almost threw up. By the time I exited the Red Line and reached my car I could barely breathe and my heart was pounding out of my chest. Even now, in my own home, my hands are still shaking and for some reason the stress has made my back muscles feel cold and numb. From all the tension, I can only assume. I can’t eat anything, I still feel like I’m going to vomit, and I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t cried so much, so hard I still have the headache.
So when people (men) want to talk about “legitimate” forms of assault, tell girls they should be nice to strangers and give men the benefit of a doubt, tell them to consider it a compliment, tell them to ignore the bad behavior of men, I want them to be forced to feel, for even one minute, what it feels like to have so much verbal hatred and physical intimidation thrown at them for nothing more than being female and not wanting to share.
I just wanted to read my book.
It’s not my fault I’m pretty.
May. 31, 2014
On #YesAllWomen and the darling men who “troll” the hashtag
The other day, a little late to the party, I tweeted my experience with male entitlement as a part of the larger #YesAllWomen conversation. The tweet goes, “Too scared to walk home at night, only to have a taxi driver threaten to lock me in if I didn’t give him my phone number. #YesAllWomen”
Within minutes I had a few @replies from men who were clearly stalking the hashtag to intentionally mock, provoke, and silence the women speaking out. A man by the twitter handle @sawcasm (you know, like “sarcasm” except with a speech impediment, which is actually pretty cute on its own!), tweeted me asking why I didn’t just give the cab driver a fake number. One of his friends responded, saying I was “too dumb” to think of such a brilliant evasive tactic. And promptly, a third good friend of this person responded directly to me “let him tear your ass open for a free ride…?” which, you know, god, even though I was in fact broke as hell, I didn’t even think about as an option at the time!
At the time, I was so paralyzed with fear during the 25 minute cab ride, as a man, easily twice my weight, preyed on my natural friendliness to manipulate me into sitting in the front seat, and proceeded to ask me invasive questions about who I’ve dated, what I do to “party”, and whether I’ve ever been attracted to older men (like himself). At the time I was too busy fighting a full panic attack as the cab driver placed his hand on my knee and told me how “effortlessly sexy” I looked. At the time I was very focused on trying to swallow the bile that rose in my throat when I realized that, locked in this man’s car, in his touching/grabbing/bashing/raping range, with a dead battery on my cell phone, and no experience or athleticism to try and duck and roll, my only option to try and avoid potential assault was to continue sounding friendly, and receptive, but still dismissing his advances. Being forced to smile and laugh at his aggressive and threatening advances made me never want to smile or laugh again. I walked a tightrope of performing mild flirtatiousness to assuage any violence but not invite “more” advances. After profusely promising him that I would go out on a date with him, and being forced to sit in the locked car while he called my phone to make sure it was my number, I escaped what is the closest I’ve been to living hell. I shattered a water glass that night when I dropped it because my hands shook too violently for hours afterward.
I was not raped. And I cannot imagine the hell that survivors of rape and sexual assault must surmount to heal and live their lives. But if you think the above account is melodramatic or exaggerative, then go ahead and think that if its easier, but that is as close as I can get to describing what it felt like, and how it continues to feel living in this society of male entitlement and violence. To think that it is just part of life as a woman to always fear that men might like you enough to just take you.
Twitter only has 140 characters. So I sanitized my experience. I was nervous to share the extent of that cab ride. I felt I made my point, but in the most pared down and mild way, just to add my voice to the many who I felt so empowered by. And yet, this extremely watered down testimonial was still met with the leering taunts of men who feel so threatened by our voices.
I hate the word “troll” for this because it is dismissive to how vicious, destructive, and dangerous the words and actions of these men can be. As a fan of the power of writing, I love the idiom about the pen being mightier than the sword, but it stands to remember that the same pen that can be subversive and revolutionary can also be oppressive and cruel.
“Trolling”, is so often paired with “just”, and then usually followed by the urge to ignore. These men, self-proclaimed “MRA’s” usually, try so hard to come off with the blasé air of indifference and casual irony to everything, but I read their tweets and blog posts and comments and I can see past their steadfast adherence to this seemingly indestructible tone. I see the sizzling panicked terror just under the surface; I see the utter fear. They know their world is slipping away. In reality, we’re not close whatsoever to the hegemonic Matriarchal women’s commune I and all feminists are fighting for, but even the slightest loosening of the reigns on male dominion shakes them to their core.
The fact that a hashtag allowing women to share their experiences erupted into a national phenomenon of community and support and solidarity fills with me boundless pride for the capabilities of technology for good.
The fact that the inevitable backlash is so vicious, so immediate, and so pointedly ignorant only fuels my fire for all that is necessary to better this world I wanna live in for a few more decades.
All these men, whose cries of “not all men” are the backbone of the language in “yes all women”, are so angry. They are angry because they feel attacked. They are angry because they’ve convinced themselves they are innocent. They are angry because they know in the pit of their souls that they are not. They allow this culture, this rampant unchecked male entitlement, the clear cause and effect between the coda they preach and the skyrocketing of sexual assault cases. And for the first time, ironically through the guise of “trolling” a hashtag, they are seeing the destructive and malevolent world they’ve helped build and maintain. And if I were them, and I too saw its nauseatingly violent effects, I would bury my guilt deep down and also tweet threats to a cute 20-something girl who normally just tweets jokes about chicken nuggets. But their shame and guilt is nothing compared to the pain of women who’ve experience violence and sexual assault. So I don’t care. Instead I will tuck their tweets into a mental folder, and be fascinated by the rhetoric and logic and tone, and try to wrangle my anger into something helpful.
If you’re a guy, and you read this whole thing, good. You should read this, and you should read more, read every fucking #YesAllWomen post that rolls past you on social media. Don’t be the guys who have harassed me and countless other women sharing their stories. But that’s just the bare minimum. Be an ally. I know many who are and it makes me feel safe, and optimistic. Admit to yourself and to anyone ways in which you have probably, at some time or another, made life harder for a woman in your life. Do better. We want you to, we hope you do.
As for @sawcasm, I know he’s sad and pathetic, but I won’t ignore his “trolling”. He is still part of the forces at work. As far as I know, he didn’t lock me in a taxi, leering, and forcing me to play a sick game of cat and mouse. But he allowed it. And all the other accounts of terror women have shared.
For my part, I’ll probably go back to tweeting about chicken mcnuggets soon, but right now I’ll continue to be awed by the women speaking up, humorously, seriously, and bravely. And I thank them all for giving me the courage the write this too-long thing.
Once more with feeling, #YesAllWomen.
May. 29, 2014
same shit, different decade. 😒
But, folks wanna act like this is new…
May. 26, 2014
It seems to me that on one page I recognized a portion of an old diary of mine which mysteriously disappeared shortly after my marriage, and, also, scraps of letters which, though considerably edited, sound to me vaguely familiar. In fact, Mr. Fitzgerald (I believe that is how he spells his name) seems to believe that plagiarism begins at home.
—Zelda Fitzgerald, in a review of her husband’s book in 1922 (via trishahaddad)
Reminder that F. Scott Fitzgerald stole his wife’s writing, many times, while suppressing her works. See “Save Me the Waltz”, which he forced her to revise so that he could use parts of it in his own book “Tender Is the Night”. And which author do we study in school?
I didn’t know this.
He also encouraged her to have affairs so he could use that for inspiration, and when she wanted to leave him for a man she fell in love with, he locked her in their house and wouldn’t let her leave.
When she wanted to publish “Save me the Waltz,” Fitzgerald wrote in his diary about DELIBERATELY trying to TRIGGER her schizophrenic episodes and making her incapable of fighting that battle.
And Fitzgerald scholars KNOW all this. They write articles about how it was all okay because in the end, it inspired Fitzgerald to write Great Literature.
knife his corpse
NEVER READ ANY OF HIS BOOKS AGAIN. AND READ HERS INSTEAD. CONSIGN HIM TO OBLIVION.
Fuck I didn’t know this fuck ugh god why fuck ugh
Yep. All true. Learned about his trifling ass studying creative writing and English lit. at CSU. Didn’t read ONE of her books on high school, yet we’re taught how amazing and talented he was. Makes me sick. xBx
i am so conflicted and horrified
(via achsarah) Ew (via dailymurf)
May. 24, 2014
Black Crime =Gang Violence. Arab Crime = Terrorism. Hispanic Crime = Illegal immigration. White Crime = No crime, he was just insane.
here we go again. white kid carries out plan to murder people and already the mainstream media is going through with the “he was disturbed,” “he was mentally ill” and “he was insane” spin on the story. gotta protect that image of white purity and innocence no matter what.
(Source: , via misandry-mermaid)
May. 24, 2014
We don’t know if Elliot Rodger was mentally ill. We don’t know if he was a “madman.” We do know that he was desperately lonely and unhappy, and that the Men’s Rights Movement convinced him that his loneliness and unhappiness was intentionally caused by women.
Because this is what the Men’s Rights Movement does: it spreads misogyny, it spreads violence, and most of all it spreads a sense of entitlement towards women’s bodies.
Pretending that this is the a rare act perpetrated by a “crazy” person is disingenuous and also does nothing to address the threat of violence that women face every day. We can’t just write this one off – we need to talk about all of the fucked up parts of our culture, especially the movements that teach men that they have the right to dominate and intimidate and violate women, that lead to this, and we need to change things. Because if we don’t, I guarantee that this will happen again. And again. And again.
May. 21, 2014
I’ve said this before and I’ll point it out again -
Menstruation is caused by change in hormonal levels to stop the creation of a uterine lining and encourage the body to flush the lining out. The body does this by lowering estrogen levels and raising testosterone.
Or, to put it more plainly “That time of the month” is when female hormones most closely resemble male hormones. So if (cis) women aren’t suited to office at “That time of the month” then (cis) men are NEVER suited to office.
If you are a dude and don’t dig the ladies around you at their time of the month, just think! That is you all of the time.
And, on a final note, post-menopausal (cis) women are the most hormonally stable of all human demographics. They have fewer hormonal fluctuations of anyone, meaning older women like Hilary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren would theoretically be among the least likely candidates to make an irrational decision due to hormonal fluctuations, and if we were basing our leadership decisions on hormone levels, then only women over fifty should ever be allowed to hold office.
I’ve seen this a few times and now I’ve seen it just enough to warrant reblogging it instead of giving a silent nod of approval and letting it pass by.
Apr. 2, 2014
..Paul Ryan (R-WI) was busy protecting rapists’ rights. Buried deep in the latest Fetus Rights Bill (aka, Sanctity of Human Life Act , H.R. 23: To provide that human life shall be deemed to begin with fertilization), wherein feti are given more rights than the women carrying them, is a section that will allow a rapist to sue his victim in order to stop her from getting an abortion, specifically if she were trying to get an abortion in a state that allows them while she lives in a state that does not.”
In other words:
1) If you are a woman and live in a state that considers women to be nothing more than baby making machines, you’re out of luck. Get raped? Carry a baby.
2) But if you are a woman who happens to live in a state that considers you a person, even if you’re not in a womb, and you are raped and become pregnant, Paul Ryan wants the rapist to be able to sue you and stop you from terminating that pregnancy.
This man was almost Vice President.
So in the span of four years, we got a Snowbilly Grifter and a Dominionist monster all nearly one heartbeat away from the Presidency.
You voting in 2014?
Protecting rapist’s rights to further torture their victims.
How very “”“pro-life”“” of you, Paul Ryan.
Mar. 31, 2014
Shailene Woodley won’t let the media turn her against J Law
The media loves a catfight.
Now that the highly anticipated film adaptation of Divergent — a Hunger Games-esque dystopian tale — is officially in theaters, comparisons between its star Shailene Woodley and Jennifer Lawrence are rolling in. According to Joanna Robinson of Vanity Fair’s “The Next Jennifer Lawrence?,” “If Woodley’s other adaptation of a popular Y.A. book, The Fault in Our Stars, doesn’t do well then J. Law can breath a sigh of relief that her supremacy is safe. For now.”
Apparently being an “It Girl” is just like being the Lord of the Rings: There can only be one.
Again and again, the media pits successful women against each other, making one’s rise contingent on another’s fall. And this is bullshit. Even when recently goaded to dish about her supposed rival, Woodley wouldn’t bite
Read more | Follow policymic
(Source: micdotcom, via wiccansoulmates)
Mar. 25, 2014
Why don’t we talk about all the serial rapists?
In 2009, Detroit officials found more than 11,000 forgotten rape kits – some dating back to the 1980s – gathering dust in a police storage facility. The city launched an enormous initiative to process them all, and while only a fraction have been analyzed so far, a key trend has emerged: a lot of serial rapists.
So far, 1,600 victims’ rape kits have been processed. Among those, the Wayne County Prosecutor’s office identified 100 likely serial rapists, through matches in CODIS, the country’s DNA database.
These numbers underline the miscarriage of justice that this stockpile of abandoned rape kits represents, a tiny slice of the estimated 400,000 unprocessed rape kits across the country. For example, there are the two young women who were violently raped by the same man five months apart in 2003. Their rape kits were shelved for 10 years. DeShawn Starks was finally charged after he raped two more young women last November. He pleaded no contest, and this week was sentenced to 45 to 90 years in prison.
The number of serial rapists also underlines a more obvious, but often overlooked, fact: serial rapists are responsible for an enormous percentage of the rapes that happen.
Mar. 25, 2014
Every damn year.
I need to learn how to draw a decent Batman pic.
So what you’re trying to say is that
women people prefer well-drawn pictures of their favorite superheroes over really shitty indie comics about boobs?
Are we supposed to feel sorry for the person whose humor comic featuring a disembodied pair of breasts on the cover is getting passed over?
this feels like it should be a parody but it isnt and that’s hilarious
maybe try not being sexist unfunny douchelords next time
HEY, WE DO A HUMOR COMIC ABOUT [SOMETHING THAT LOOKS EXTREMELY SEXIST] HEY WHERE ARE YOU GOING
No, no way is this a serious complaint (I said to myself). No one’s that un-self aware. This has got to be a parody about gross “indie” comics skeeving up the con atmosphere, and the schadenfreude we’re totally intended to feel at their failure.
So I went to the OP’s tumblr to check context and.
This was just supposed to be a comic about how hard it can be for the unknowns to find their audience. Anything else you see is your own interpretation of the page.
They are serious.
That is more hilarious than any punchline actually in the comic. I’m honestly crying with laughter right now.
"how hard it can be for the unknowns to find their audience"
Hey genuis, here’s a tip: If you’re aiming for an audience that isn’t exclusively made up of fratty dudebros and actual breastfeeding infants, try putting more than a pair of tits on the cover of your comic, you sexist dipshit.
Mar. 24, 2014
Really? Men want to make all these weak ass “women should be in the kitchen jokes” and then they want to pull shit like this
Fuck u top chef Canada and ur sexist bullshit
A woman’s place is in the kitchen, unless we suddenly want to act like being in the kitchen is respectable difficult work. Then women need to get the fuck out, right?
Women can’t even have their patriarchy-defined roles once men decide they want in, and that is bullshit.
You saw it with computer/software work in the 50s. Women were doing really, really well and men decided they wanted in on that. Now it’s a ‘boy’s club’.