The other day, four colleagues and I had a heated discussion in the VOX ATL podcast studio over whether sexism still exists and what it means to be a feminist. We covered everything from Meryl Streep bruising the egos of men everywhere to that NASA guy who wore a shirt covered in pictures of half-naked women to an interview and even furries. I’ll link to the podcast as soon as it comes out.
At the end, one of our mentors on adult staff asked how it went and I mentioned something about how the interviewer said he felt like he couldn’t walk up to girls and call them pretty anymore without someone crying sexual harassment. Mentor E said something along the lines of, “why do you need to?” (My personal opinion is that I don’t mind being called pretty by someone I A) already have some kind of friendship with and B) is within 2 years of my age, and C) is not some random stranger who happens to be riding MARTA with me. The only reason I took issue with the interviewer’s question is that it’s a great example of how male fragility can turn into a weapon of maintaining the status quo. A man getting called out for calling a girl pretty every once in a while is so worth it if it means that our culture is shifting to a place where consent is king).
A couple of other young women at VOX started complaining about how they can’t go through MARTA without at least one creep approaching them (even with their headphones in! Like, really?). E thought back to an incident last week where he was in line at the grocery store and this guy started flirting with an employee who was clearly uncomfortable but couldn’t be rude because she was at work and the customer is always right, right? But the guy was holding up the whole line! E said every morning of every year of their summer program, girls who are riding MARTA for the first time always tell the same stories.
“Hey!” said E. “We should do a thing once a year where every gay man approaches a straight man with the same tactics straight men use to pursue teenage girls. Like, oh, this is how it feels like to be harassed without your consent. It feels uncomfortable, huh?”
“Like the gay purge?”
“Like the gay purge!”
MARK YOUR CALENDARS!
Anyway, just thought I would share. Lots of love to whoever’s reading on this rainy day. (I actually have no idea who’s reading all this. I feel like I’m sending it into the void, but then I talk to my grandmother about it and she’s like, “oh yeah, I got a lot of feedback on that one!”) So if you’re here, thanks! You’re awesome!