Posted by jennthem
This is a post that is part of Bitch magazines Feminist Portrait Project. In the very first issues of Ms. Magazine, they wrote of feminism starting with a “click” in women’s minds. This project is about us modern ladies blogging about our “Click” moments.
I was a sophomore in college, and had already considered myself a feminist. My mother is the antithesis to girly, so I always thought feminism was a good thing, even tho my father wasn’t exactly a liberal feminist himself. I even attended an all girls school that was routinely smeared as “full of feminazis,” so I thought I had a good grasp on feminism.
Well, one evening my roommate, I’ll call her Sarah, at the time had a
gentleman over. They were just “talking,” to use the parlance of the day, meaning they’d exchanged texts/IMs but hadn’t actually hooked up. I had another roommate at this apartment, I’ll call her Veronica. Veronica was a year older than me, her parents were highly educated immigrants from Kenya who spoke with British diction, and she had grown up in the fairly posh suburbs of Montgomery County, MD.
So there we all were, with this man, Hector. Hector was a DJ. He was regaling us with stories of wild parties and events he had worked and attended in the DC metro area. Typical of my mindset at the time, we were laughing at much if his crude humor, enjoying his judgey stories of “hoes.”
Then he told this story: An inebriated woman had indicated to him that she would like to have relations with him at a club he was DJing. He wasn’t really that interested, but she was persistant. So, “just to see if he could,” he told her that if she also had sex with his buddies, then he would hook up with her. Then Hector goes on to describe the “train” his friends “ran” on the girl.
Sarah laughed uproarously, “Stupid hoes.”
I felt a pang of horror in the pit of my stomach at this story. But, I didn’t say anything. Why would I? I knew how everyone saw it: that girl had gotten herself into that situation.
After a few moments, a flabergasted Veronica spoke up, “Did you really do that? Did that really happen?”
Hector said that it did. Then Veronica said something that has stuck with me ever since, “You know, just because someone is sad and vulnerable and pathetic DOES NOT make it ok to take advantage of them. That’s disgusting.”
It was like all the air had been sucked out of the room. It WAS disgusting, the scene he had described to us. His actions, and further BRAGGING about it, was even more wretched. But why, just moments before, had I felt that it was innapropriate to say so?
Oh, because I was, in fact, still colluding unconsciously with misogyny. I was attached to my persona as a “cool girl,” and was still sensitive to the sort of talking-down and reflexive eyerolling that is a staple of college aged males when any pseudo-feminist sentiment is expressed. I was smirking and semi-validating remarks like this all the time, even though they made me FEEL sick. It was the first time I realized that NOT speaking up in those moments was actively excusing that kind of mindset.
It IS wrong for anyone to take advantage of a vulnerable person. Such a simple, rational, civilized idea. But I was afraid to stick up for it, until I saw a bad ass chick speak up. She didn’t yell, she just stated the facts, simply and clearly. CLICK!
Thank you, Veronica, you didn’t know it, but you changed my life that day.