I've been subscribed to Hollaback DC on my Google Reader for a while now, and usually read with a strange fascination. It isn't just me that hates being gawked at, forced into awkward conversations, and asked for my hand in marriage.... all by perfect strangers. I hate when men I don't know motion for me to take off my headphones to tell me that they think I'm beautiful, Do I have a boyfriend? Do I have a husband?
My headphones were on because I didn't want to be bothered. My nose was in a book because I didn't want you to talk to me. I didn't make eye contact because I want to be left alone. You need directions? I'll give them to you. You need help finding where the nearest Starbucks is? Fine. But you want to proposition me for sex, you want me to smile for you, you want to distract me from whatever I'm doing just because? You want a hug from me so you can grab my ass? No thank you.
I've had We Landed On The Moon's cd, This Will Be One For The Books on a flash drive at a concert of theirs in February.
[Side note: On the clip above and at the concert I was at, the lead singer's vocals were not mixed high enough. Her voice is great and I think highlighting it would be the best for everybody.]
I was listening to it this morning on the way to work when "All The Little Lambs" came on. And it was angsty about all the Hollaback problems that I'd both been experiencing and reading about lately (an example of such angst; trying to find a place where street harassment does not exist).
The song starts with these repeated words, over and over and over again:
He said, "Hey babydoll, won't you come sit across from me
so I can look at you more."
Well, what you looking at me for?When I try to explain to people the situations, the fact that I don't like it, they don't get it. I don't see any reason for anybody to be gawking at me; he doesn't even want to talk; all he wants his her looks. Degrading, right? What if I don't want to cater to your need, your desire to look at me? To talk to me so you can flirt and hit on me? So you can use degrading nicknames like 'babydoll' to refer to a grown-ass woman?
The chorus is a little hard to understand. I think it goes something like, "And all the little lambs / we need to get a lock for the door." I guess I wouldn't compare myself to a lamb in this situation: I can do something. I can say no, I don't want to talk to you. I don't want to stay in the same vicinity as you. If it goes too far, I can call the police.
And a stranger saying this to a woman is seriously disturbing:
You got an old hand rag and a box full of magazines
Wipe the sheets where you say you keep score
Well, what you looking at me for?But the next verse makes me think she's a waitress:
You got some change in your pocket that you want to try to give to me
Should I pick it up from the floor?
Well, what you looking at me for?Dropping her change, her tip and livelihood so he can watch her bend down and pick up? Yeah, I've seen worse. Even the previous verse isn't out of the ordinary for someone working customer service. While being a cashier in a video rental store, I was handed six note pad pages. The first one and a half were about how the author of the pages (an older man, maybe in his 50s) was a good Christian man. The remaining pages were all the sex acts he wanted to perform on/with me.
I can't remember what I did, but I remember this part very clearly: I was angry at him for taking advantage of my status as a customer service worker. I was being friendly because I was being paid to be friendly, nothing more. And I wasn't asking for it in the way that I was dressed: I was wearing loose khaki pants and a polo three sizes too big. I treated him not differently before that than any other customer.
A waitress depends on her tips. Rocking the boat and calling someone out on their bullshit can hurt your livelihood. As a CSR, I was afraid that if I did anything that I would get in trouble for not being nice enough to the customer. That complicates things, and the harasser knows it, takes advantage.
The thing I like most about this song? It doesn't beg you to like it like most pop songs do. This is the song, this is the woman, this is the message; accept it. Most of the other songs on the album have a toe tapping beat and a nice melody; this features awesome, escalating, defiant vocals.
Yeah. I'm going to say this made my day.