I’ve always heard stories of people having social interactions with people that invoked their inner-feminist to act/speak out/think differently about how males & females are perceived differently, and how this difference is harmful majorly to females. Having read tons of stories on the news & tumblr, especially those about the dress code of females (whether it be at school or in public), I’ve always wanted to encounter such a situation so I could stick up for not only myself but for females and educate someone with what I’ve learnt as right & wrong.
However, when this wished incident occurred I couldn’t place my finger on where to start in educating this person on where they should start learning about this stuff differently. So hold up, let me take a minute to tell you exactly what happened and what got me so hyped up to write this post.
About 2 weekends ago I was volunteering for a festival in my city, as a volunteer from a city division. Our tent was in a lot full of vendors and other city services. The festival was geared toward the general public in the town of the city I live in. As such, there were many families attending the festival where there were many family-oriented booths. One of the volunteers from the tent beside us remarked at how the weather was of course very warm, and how there were “girls wearing those itty bitty tops that show their stomachs, and guys wearing those macho-looking shirts”.
It’s been 2 weekends and I still can’t forget what this person said, partially because of my reaction at that moment. As much as I wanted to tell this person to stop being an ignorant fool and degrading women the way they were, I just sat there thinking about their comment at first. My first thought actually started degrading these girls in my mind for a split-second, thinking “yeah, why are they wearing inappropriate clothing at a family type event”, but the next second I realized my mistake… It’s people like this that shame women, and make it our fault for stepping out of line, when in fact the females that day should never have been degraded in such a way, knowingly or unknowingly. And what held me back from giving him a piece of my mind? Me doing the job I was there to do, representing the city. Not knowing how this person would take what I would say. Worried that I might know what to say after the initial comment. The fact that it’s harder for me to speak out to someone I don’t know than it is to point out something wrong to someone I know personally.
In the end, I had a situation at hand finally but I chose to not take action. Maybe because of my reassurance that “old dogs can’t learn new tricks” and to let the situation be. Regardless of what my reasons to not go through with any actions were, I thought to myself after the shift that small steps were better than none. Realizing and understanding what type of thought harms this gender divide, is the first step to correcting it, right?
In regards to my worry about not having a proper come back if the reply was not something I expected, I’ve also come to the realization that I don’t have or need to know everything about a movement or have an opinion on everything there is in the world. I will always not know something and that’s ok. As long as I keep educating myself and taking steps to ensure a better future, these are the steps that will make a difference (even if it’s not big, it’s something!) somewhere down the line.