Searching through cyber-feminist territory looking for inspiration for a blog post, I happened upon a video on WAM!‘s website entitled “Walking Home”. While watching the video I felt as if I already knew the script, like I could voice the words in unison as if I had written them myself; it’ a damned if you do and a damned if you don’t sort of situation because no matter what I say, no matter what I do, I’m a Bitch. So if you ask me what my name is, I might as well just introduce myself with the title because we both know all that means is I’m just another independent, no-shit-taking kind of woman that causes you to question your man-hood and flex your ego. So yeah, I’m a Bitch.
I knew a girl who once said that when she left New York, she missed the men pst-ing her. She said it made her feel good, like she was wanted and attractive. Here she is, walking by in confidence during the same moments I hum and sing to myself, counting the number of blocks I have left ‘til I’m home. I had a male co-worker tell me women should stop showing so much skin if it bothers them so much. Another one said if a woman’s breasts are exposed, he has the right to look because that means she is asking for it. My Father once told me that when I move to New York, I have to pay attention to what I wear, especially late at night and left his insinuation for me to figure out.
On Hollaback!’s website, an organization meant to end street harassment, there are a number of such stories, the cat-calls and elbow grabs a standard experience. Its cultural acceptance is explicit in the fact that there is no legal defense for these occurrences, that this merely comes with the territory of being a woman and at the end of the day we see it as “no harm done”. But the harm is done when its redundancy becomes so normal that women come to admit its inevitability and accept it.
My name is Tessa…don’t take off the A. My Mother chose it simply because she thought it was beautiful. And now, when I walk home, I remind myself of this video and what it taught me. “The air whispers: This is your home too…I know your name…walk on”.