Where I'm at with feminism this week, in three bullet points
Respect me for who I am and what I do. Just like everyone else.
On Monday at swim practice, we were waiting at the wall for the first set when a male lane mate started playfully splashing water at me. What I wanted to say to him:
Would you be splashing me if I were a guy?
If my husband were sitting right there on the pool deck, would you be splashing me then?
What I actually said to him: ALL RIGHT THAT’S ENOUGH, I’M NOT FIVE.
I immediately felt badly for that. But not badly enough to apologize. I’m tired.
The only kind of male attention that’s flattering is the kind that’s respectful and humane.
A sophomore boy A— used to regard as a friend until he started weirdly screen-shotting their conversations declared, out of the blue and in front of all her friends, “I LOVE YOU.” She was so humiliated she hid in the bathroom, and even then he wouldn’t move away from the door.
The next day he called her a whore and a bitch and threatened her boyfriend with physical violence. “You should just give him a chance,” people say. “He obviously really likes you.”
When she submitted a statement, the principal took it seriously. “I will speak to the student,” he said to us, and he was doing so well right up until the moment he turned to her and said, “In a way you should be flattered.”
I wanted to say to this man: A— is a victim. Is it flattering when your house is robbed? What decisions will our daughters make as they become women, when we tell them they should be flattered by their tormenters?
But A— cut him off. “I’m not flattered,” she said crisply. “I’m creeped out.”
And I am proud, proud she is learning to trust her instincts and to be strong—but oh my darling girl, not as strong yet, not by half, my baby, as what you will need to pass through the next seven years unscathed.
You can not work, and do the things you want to do—but there’s a price.
“I buy my own diamonds and I buy my own rings,” sings Destiny’s Child. “Try to control me boy, you get dismissed.”
But, as it turns out, I don’t want to have to buy my own house or groceries or car. I want to be a pro triathlete and teach yoga. I want time for being a bonus mom. And I want to write and journal and water plants. I am shocked at how deeply I want this freedom.
“You can choose that,” says my therapist. “You can choose to not work—but there’s a price, it’s not free.”
And she’s right, of course. The song’s refrain is, “I depend on me.” But that’s not really true; what’s true is, I depend on my job. So you can depend on a paycheck or you can depend on your husband, it’s a negotiation either way. But nothing is free.