Archives for the month of: November, 2013

Yesterday evening I was walking back to my apartment from the parking lot I am forced to park in due to not being an in-state resident where I go to school. The lot is about a block or two away from my apartment.

It was about nine at night, and I was walking alone. I’ve walked this route many times alone, as I have lived here for six months with my roommates’ schedules sometimes lining up with my own, but not always. Again, it’s about two blocks away. I also live directly across from a police station.

Last night, as I was crossing the street and turning a corner, a car with two men in it slowed down and stopped behind me, and the man in the passenger seat asked me how I was doing. I gave them a confused look and said “Fine” and continued walking.

These men proceeded to back up and turn down the road that I was walking on, driving alongside me and saying things (I’m not sure if they were talking to each other or to me, though at one point one of them did say “Sexy” and “don’t be like that”, so…) I did not look at them, I did not respond to them -I continued to walk normally.

I walked about 3/4 of the block like this, with them following me in their car. Then, the driver got out of the car and crossed over to me and asked if he could walk with me. He was smiling. I said no. He asked why I “had to be like that”. I kept walking. They drove away as I was turning into my complex.

I made sure they drove away before walking inside the complex and then called my boyfriend, and then cried on the phone to him while I locked my apartment in every way possible.

Tonight I want to talk about harassment.

After this experience, and after I had some time to calm down and think, I began wondering what else I could’ve done. Should I have been more forward to this man about my displeasure? About my disgust? About my fear? What if he had reacted badly and tried to grab me -what would I have done? Would any of the three people next to the building have done something? And then I started wondering why I was wondering what I could’ve done differently.

After thinking about these things for a while, I began to get very very angry, and I still am. I am angry that these complete strangers thought it was an ‘okay idea’ to follow a single woman in their car at night and try to hit on her. I am pissed off that my rejection of them and their advances was seen as something negative (which can be inferred from his question “why you gotta be like that” when I walked away) while their unwanted advances (and stalking) is not seen as such. I am angry that when I wrote about this on facebook, another female friend of mine wrote that she had also been followed last week by a man in an SUV while she was running, who asked her if she wanted a ride multiple times on different streets and continued to follow her after she refused. I am angry that people don’t think street harassment is a real problem, and I am furious that people think that it is actually a compliment.

No.

It is terrifying.

Being followed by two people in a car at night is terrifying.

Wondering if you are going to have to defend yourself physically against someone is terrifying.

Knowing that you cannot run because of health problems while a stranger is approaching you is terrifying.

Also knowing that, if it came down to it, you probably could not defend yourself physically against said person -because of those same health problems -is terrifying.

I wish that I could see that man again. I wish that I could ask him why he thought his actions were anywhere near appropriate. I wish I could ask him if he honestly thought I was ever going to get in his car when I didn’t know him at all and he just followed me down a block. I wish I could ask him why he thought I wanted his advances when I was very clearly ignoring him. I wish I could tell him to stop what he was doing and to never do it again. I wish I could tell him how scared and unsafe he made me feel.

Instead, I will tell you all something very clearly:

If you want to hit on someone, and they are actively not looking at you or are turning away from you or are not responding to things you say: they are not fucking interested. Leave them alone.

If you ask someone if you can walk with them, or if they need a ride, or anything even vaguely similar and they say no, or I don’t know, or I’m not sure, or nothing at all: they are not fucking interested. Leave them alone.

I cannot go back in time and change how I reacted, but maybe this post will help someone understand that street harassment is not okay ever. No one likes it, no matter what anyone else thinks. It’s not a compliment. It doesn’t make our day. It doesn’t make us feel pretty. It makes us feel scared and terrified and shitty and it just reinforces all of the bad things about this culture.

And, yes, my situation could’ve been a lot worse, I am absolutely sure of it -but that does not make it okay or something that I need to get over. Street harassment needs to be talked about, it needs to be identified, because that’s the only way that we can stop it.

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Friends, let’s discuss Thor 2, a movie which recently came out. Now, if you have not yet seen Thor 2, I suggest you don’t continue reading unless you are alright with plot spoilers -because I will be talking about the movie in detail, and it will ruin some plot points for you.

So, fair warning, if you have not seen Thor 2 and don’t want it spoiled -do not continue reading. Come back after you’ve seen it.

I suppose I am supposed to be happy over the fact that Thor 2 passes the Bechdel Test. I mean, the Bechdel Test is super important, and not many movies pass it anyway (at least, not in America.) But, yay, Thor 2 passes the Bechdel Test -huzzah for jumping over an already low bar.

I guess I should also be happy that there was no pointless and useless sexualization of women like there often is in movies about men. I should be happy that women were presented as being very strong and put-together and not-taking-anyone’s-shit.

But I’m not happy.

I am furious at Thor 2. I am so tired of getting excited over movies and then being so completely disappointed and disgusted. I am so tired of believing that a movie would actually be decent towards women even though it’s focused on one man.

They [the writers, the directors, who the fuck cares] put Frigga in the fridge.

[If you don’t know what I mean, take a look at the “women in refrigerators” website or the wikipedia link]

I am raging.

Frigga -the All-Mother, the only other person/god with high enough status to sit on the throne beside the All-Father, Odin, her husband -was killed in the movie by the villains.

“She’s just a casualty of war”, you say, “Someone has to die, her gender has nothing to do with it. You’re over-reacting.”

I would not be so angry if they had done the same to Loki.

They spent the entire movie lining up parallels between Loki and Frigga -they have the same magic, the same fighting style, even. Loki was Frigga’s favorite, or at least she doted on him. Loki loved Frigga -this can be seen by him “creating” an image of her to talk to in his cell and then by completely trashing it after he learns she is killed. Even Tom Hiddleston, in an interview [starting at 2:20], explained:

“Part of the back-story we created was that Frigga was really the most attentive to Loki when he was a child. And Odin didn’t really know how to connect. He connected much more with Thor. They were sort of cut from the same cloth. And Frigga and Loki had this kind of beautiful, sensitive, more artistic relationship. And it was actually her who taught him all his magic”

Meanwhile, shortly after Frigga is killed and we watch her funeral take place, Loki is “killed” in a very similar way. Frigga was stabbed with a longsword, and Loki is similarly impaled on a sword (or something sharp, but it really doesn’t matter).

At the end of the movie, we find out (SURPRISE SURPRISE) that Loki is still alive.

This is why I am furious.

Because Loki literally learned everything he knows from Frigga. Frigga is much older than Loki is -she [according to the movie] is his fucking adoptive mother -she raised him. AND YET HE IS “CLEVER” ENOUGH TO LIVE THROUGH GETTING STABBED WHILE SHE IS NOT. SHE HAS THE SAME MAGIC AS HIM IF NOT MORE OF IT AND SHE STILL DIES AND REMAINS DEAD.

I am done. I am so done.

Why are men in movies always able to come back to life, but women are not? Is it because women are just meant to bear life rather than actually live it? And then, once they are killed, they can help the men “get their revenge” through their man-angst?

So, no, I will not be happy that this movie passed the basic standards of what all movies should-be (the Bechdel test and the lack-of-female-sexualization) because they still relied on a trope. They still showed their sexism in the end. They killed arguably the most powerful woman in the entire movie in order to propel the men of the movie into anger and action, and that is unforgivable and disgusting.

And this sucks for so many reasons. It sucks because the movie was actually pretty good -it was partially predictable, but it did surprise me at some points. It sucks because I am going to be seen as over-reacting, and not many other people are going to be angry at this. But it sucks because I feel like I have been betrayed.

I don’t want to see movies that star male characters anymore. I don’t want to be this angry at things that aren’t even real. I don’t want to be a feminist anymore when I can’t even go see a movie with my boyfriend without becoming furious and shouting in the parking lot.

But I also don’t want to be seen as someone who’s life can be thrown away to further the plot/life of a man. I am not just a plot device. Frigga should not be reduced to just a plot device. She was important. We are important. And I’m just so tired of not being seen that way.