Saturday, May 14, 2011

Street Harassment Happens to Everyone [Bossypants]

Tina Fey in Bossypants, page 15:

When I was writing the movie Mean Girls - which hopefully is playing on TBS right now! - I went to a workshop by  Rosalind Wiseman as part of my research. Rosalind wrote the nonfiction book Queen Bees and Wannabes that Mean Girls was based on, and she conducted a lot of self-esteem and bullying workshops  with women and girls around the country. She did this particular exercise in a hotel ballroom in Washington, DC, with about two hundred grown women, asking them to write down the moment when they first "knew they were a woman." Meaning, "When did you first feel like a grown woman and not a little girl?" We wrote down our answers and shared them, first in pairs, then in larger groups. The group of women was racially and economically diverse, but the answers had a very similar theme. Almost everyone first realized they were becoming a grown woman when some dude did something nasty to them. "I was walking home from ballet and a guy in a car yelled, 'Lick me!'" "I was babysitting my younger cousins when a guy drove by and yelled, 'Nice ass.'" There were pretty much zero examples like "I first knew I was a woman when my mother and father took me out to dinner to celebrate my success on the debate team." It was mostly men yelling shit from cars. Are they a patrol sent out to let girls know when they've crossed into puberty? If so, it's working.

This is it, America. I wonder when men first know they are men. Is it the moment that they feel a compulsion to lean out the window of a car, and yell out to a woman, "Suck my dick!" and by the time they realize they had that compulsion, they've already finished yelling it?

And yes, yes, Tina Fey also has a street harassment story. What woman doesn't?

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