Amanda once asked if I considered myself a feminist.
I think I've always identified as a feminist, but today I am sure of it.
Michelle and I went out shopping one Friday afternoon, and we shopped well into the night. As Michelle popped into Forever 21 (which was like our tenth stop) I decided to wait for her on the bench outside the shop. I was feeling a little worn out so I sat on the bench and zoned out a little, eyes directed at some indefinite destination, gaze unfocused and thinking of nothing in particular. So there I was, alone and female, the combination of which screams for street harassment.
Obviously the harassment came. I didn't see it coming, but I understood why it came the way it did, despite being in a crowded mall on a Friday night.
From the corner of my eye I noticed a middle-aged Chinese guy with hair down to his shoulders coming my way. I purposely continued averting my gaze and pointing my pupils away from him, hoping that my ignorance will bore him and eventually drive him away. But no, he came closer. As he walked towards me he made it very clear that he was staring at me and wanted me to notice him. He came so close that I could grab a fistful of his hair and yank them without much effort if I wanted to. I could sense him right next to me, too close for it to be an unintentional position. I fleetingly looked at him then went back to my unfocused gaze again, planning to give ignorance another try.
At that point I was ready to attack; adrenaline pumped and poised to defend myself should he attempt anything. I was hoping that it would not have to come to that. If it did, I would be alone in it, despite the swarms of people around me. The fact that the old fucker attempted to annoy/ intimidate me in the midst of the crowd already reflected the inability of crowds to act as deterrence.
I tried my best to look disinterested, and pretended he was just a pesky fly that flew too close. That fucking insect. He noticed me ignoring him, muttered something about my oblivion towards him, and then walked away, unhappy that he failed to do whatever it was he meant to do by invading my personal space.
When he was gone I was reeling in disbelief. I was just sitting there!! I was wearing a freaking T-shirt and my hair was all messy from a whole day of school! I wasn't making eye contact with anyone! All of which I was entitled to do, of course. More than anything I was annoyed that it had to happen in a place that was supposedly safe. I mean, what's safer than crowds? If even crowds aren't safe anymore, where can we go?
I think we deserve at least a place to feel safe. Despite being alone and female. The combination of which shouldn't mean anything more that.
Incident #2 (The Trigger Incident)
In the restaurant where I was working there was this table of three Japanese middle-aged men. There was some unhappiness about the waiting period for their food to arrive, so I was in charge of their problems. I handled their table for most of their dining period, and when they were done with their food, they came over to the cashier where I was standing and
1. tapped me on the shoulder
after which I turned around, like oh it's you what's up, like yeah I get that kind of touch was meant to get my attention
and then Fucktard #2 fucking touched me on my waist.
Again this happened in a restaurant full of people.
Of course, the brilliance of the act owed itself to the subtlety of it: just a light, casual touch; nothing blatantly noticeable or anything. It was probably nothing intentional, and I am just making things seem more alarming than they are. I probably would have dismissed it as a casual act, but nearly a year of Internet feminist enlightenment has taught me otherwise. It might have seem casual, but the implications of it are otherwise.
Firstly, all touches, regardless of intent, are inappropriate if non-consensual. You DO NOT just touch your waiters/waitresses because there was some fuck-up with your order. You are not entitled to that. Secondly, the fact that you felt entitled to touch strangers says volumes about your attitude on women. I highly doubt you would have touched a nineteen-year-old guy on the waist like that. Thirdly, you obviously had no respect for my personal space. You would only feel like that because you do not regard me, or women in general, as deserving of your respect.
I glared at Fucktard #2. If eyes are the windows to the soul, he would have seen violence acted on him swiftly and justly. I was so close to punching him, but the crowd that was supposed to have protected me acted against me instead. I didn't want to cause a scene, because people wouldn't understand. They wouldn't understand why I was making such a fuss. The clueless Fucktards #1 and #2 wouldn't understand why I hit them. They were not worth saving. I saved instead my punch and swallowed it. Also, the fact that they were customers helped preserve their faces.
This whole incident stinks of oppression. It's like there's nothing we can do against Fucktards except ignore them and forget about it.
Two incidents in one month? That's not right. That's two incidents too many. That's madness. I refuse to live in a state of subtle gender oppression. I'm not going to let it pass. This is why I need feminism. Not so these Fucktards get wiped off the planet, because that's not going to happen. But so when these incidents happen, people would understand why the women are making a fuss, and help. So they're not alone.
It's the only way to get back at those Fucktards.
Also it would be nice if the Fucktards get wiped off the planet.