Friday, April 11, 2014

And this is why I call myself a feminist. . .

Sexism is real, people. It's still around. Like. . . big time. And if you don't believe me. . . here's a real thing that happened last night.

I pulled up at the gas station last night around 11pm after Bible study. I was not dressed very interestingly. Long aline skirt and a t-shirt. And flip flops. 

A guy came out of the store and went to get into his van which was at the pump next to me. 

I heard a whistle.

I ignored it because it was 11pm at a gas station. Scolding people for disgusting chauvinist behavior downtown in broad daylight is one thing, but at this point, I just wanted to get my gas and get home. And you never know what kind of weirdos you're going to run into at 11pm at a gas station on the north side.

I heard, "Hey! Lil' mama!"

I looked around the entire station and realized I was the only woman there. Awesome. He was definitely talking to me and I was the only woman at the station.

So I continued to pretend I couldn't hear him. 

"Lil' mama over there, I'm talking to you, sweet thing!"

I picked up my phone to get ready to call the police. 

The guy's friend (I assume) spotted the seminary decal on my window. "Yo, man!" He said between giggles, "You be talkin' to a preacher's wife. Lil' mama over there a church lady!" With that, they left. 

I think this is the first time that I haven't bothered to be that annoyed by the fact that it was assumed I was the preacher's wife and not the actual preacher. I was just glad their sexist assumption made them go away. I wasn't really in any danger right there in the busy, well lit gas station (even if I was the only woman there) while I stood next to my lockable car with my cell phone in my hand. But there is something really dark and threatening about that sort of unwarranted and unwanted advance. It's a power play - a move to feel in control of someone. And it works. My brain knew I was fine, but fight or flight started to kick in. (I'm not sure which of the two I would have reacted with, either. My keys were between my knuckles, but I was also ready to just hop in the car and drive fast too.)

I associate myself as a feminist because I'm revolted by the thought of my son ever treating anyone that way. I'm a feminist because it's disgusting that my daughters might ever be talked to in that manner. I'm a feminist because my 7 year old daughter wants to be a pastor when she grows up and my 5 year old son wants to take ballet lessons and who on earth has the right to tell them girls can't be preachers and boys can't dance ballet? How on earth is it right to devalue someone because of their gender? Why does one gender get the right to treat the other like some sort of sex object up for sale? 

I know. . . not all men think it's OK to talk to random women at a gas station like that. There are many men who will read this post and be appalled that a man out there would approach/talk to a woman like that. I'm not saying we haven't come a long way. I'm just saying that we have a long way to go. As long as there are still little boys out there being taught that it's ok to behave like that, there is a need for change. 

Sorry, gas station guy. . . I'm not your "Lil' mama."

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