So last night I'm coming back from dropping friends off at the Metro. I am wearing a sleeveless shirt, shorts, and flip flops. To get back to my house, I have to walk past a few of the more popular clubs in Northwest DC where all the fabulous people congregate to consolidate their fabulousness. As I'm walking by, one guy feigns throwing up in my face, sound effects and all, as if to say "You make me want to vomit." I don't even turn to acknowledge it, I just keep on going. Part of me wanted to say to him "If that's what you think, have the balls to put words to it." But then the scenario goes south as I punt him right in the nuts.
This morning as I'm coming back from the farmer's market, wearing shorts, a tank, and sneakers, and schlepping a grocery bag with 10lbs of delicious spring chicken and other assorted goodies, this guy sitting on a park bench waits until I pass by and he whistles a soft wolf call. Yeah, I heard you.
The difference between the two guys (other than a difference of gentility) was age. Most guys under 25 see women as only being pretty in one way. Some guys over 25 have evolved to see the beauty in all women, or at least to keep their disparaging comments to themselves. That, and I seem to be a real hit with the homeless/drug-addicted crowd.
I'm used to guys treating me badly, and luckily I've grown a thick skin about it. But it still makes me wonder how we went from the ideal of the Courtier to men acting as buffoons.
I was chatting about this with a friend the other day -- that women treat each other pretty badly, or at least the majority of judgment women feel is from other women. If you look at the mastheads of many of the major fashion/beauty magazines, the high-ranking editors are mostly women. They've set the standards and the content of what we read.
The result is that because women treat each other badly, somehow we've given men permission to do the same. (Ah, feminism.... gotta love it. Sure we get some equality, but at what cost?) Women call each other bitches, they tear each other apart like hyenas to establish the pecking order. We read the gossip rags and mags, eating up the stories over who has gained weight, who jiggles, who is starving themselves on liquid diets, who has "improved" themselves with plastic surgery.
Once upon a time, artists painted and sculpted beautiful women who had curves, muscles, fat, strength, and above all, grace. I think it's beautiful to see artists (photographers, clothing designers, etc.) once again finding inspiration from this most womanly and feminine of forms. I don't mean to disparage those who are naturally thin, but for a woman, evolutionarily speaking, rail thin is just as abnormal as obese. We are meant to carry extra fat on our bodies to prepare us for the physical demands of motherhood.
Also intrinsic to our survival is the community of women around us. Before there were ever obstetricians and gynecologists, there were your mothers, aunties, cousins, neighbors, grandmothers, etc. They passed down the anecdotal knowledge we needed to make sense of ourselves, our roles, and our lives. They told us that what we felt was normal. They told us we could endure the pain. They brushed aside the hair on each others' faces. They supported each other.
There is so much richness in these female relationships. There is so much strength in this unity. I don't mean to be all "rah rah sis boom bah Girl Power" but I just don't know the exact words to express my desire for all of us to not only be kinder to ourselves, but to be kinder to the women in our lives. Just because they're one thing or another that we wish we were doesn't mean they're any happier.
In a perfect world, Mr. Vomit Face would have been walking down the street with his girlfriend. He either wouldn't have done what he did, or when he did, she'dve punched him in the nuts for me. That's doing a solid for a sister.