In passing

I have posted this before on my personal blog, but it is relevant to sexuality and intersectionality and art is revolution so, I am reposting it here. With intro too.

The one where I think and ramble about skin color & privilege & a tear between two homes that see me through different eyes. Being whiter-than in Mexico and being able to pass as white (or Canadian, at least) in Montreal, attempting to speak about race eloquently while trying not to take up too much space while checking my privilege while taking note of the ways in which said privilege applies & doesn’t when far from the birth-home. Balancing others’ attempt to decide how I should identify / act, while realising I have no idea how I identify either. The rambling continues:

I am white… enough that
my family believes, and reminds me
that I DESERVE a white man
by my side.

I am white… enough that
I am perfectly bilingual
And you don’t wonder how come
Or, who paid for it?

I’m white… enough for bro’s to say
“Babe, you look French, Italian, Greek
But NOT AT ALL MEXICAN.” (wink)
Like it’s a goddamn compliment.

I’m also latina enough to surprise you
with my incredibly charming movie quotes
How could you know Hollywood has sparkly combat boots
That colonized my childhood?

I am white enough, but brown enough
that no one ever asks
about the gross inequality
that raised me.

I am white… enough that
when I’m at Halloween parties
sometimes maybe no one puts
a fucking sombrero on my head

I am white… enough, but latina enough that
I have a last name to dump,
and the European one to keep,
for job interviews..

I am white… enough that
my skin tells an awful story
of my people being systematically,
unforgivably screwed over.

I am white… enough that
I can let people forget
I am an Other,
If– no, WHEN — it’s necessary.

I am white… enough,
but latina enough
That I can camouflage
but I still need to.

I am white… enough that
You feel a bit too comfortable
your white ally card sitting in your pocket
when you make “ironic” “post-racial” jokes

I am white… enough that
I’m not always fetishized
That my sex can sometimes, maybe be
Something other than “exotic”.

I am white… enough
to be pretty fucking privileged
but my blood is dark enough,
that sometimes I don’t see it.

I am white… enough to be asked
to speak about racial inequalities
and be heard. But also to know
That I know nothing. Not really.

I am white… enough that
I never had to think about it
Until I was no longer
The whitest.

I am whiter than-
but darker than-, as well
I learned early on to know
my worth in relative terms.

I am white enough but latina enough
That I’m not immigrant enough, not assimilated enough
Not privileged enough, not oppressed enough
Not light-skinned enough, not dark-skinned enough.
Not white enough, not latina enough

To speak in good enough words
To be visible in clear enough colors,
To exist in a way that makes sense.

Hello, my name is Feminism, and I am unloveable.

I am re-posting this entry I had in my other blog, as it fits well with the themes in this blog as well. I am editing a bit from the original, too. — My dad recently shared with me a fear that I know he’s had for quite some time. He told me, “I am worried that because of your choices (to study and speak loudly about feminist issues, to seek a career in sexuality education, among other “choices” he might suspect but doesn’t speak about), you will never get married.” I laughed.

I laughed because what else was I to do, really? I laughed because I knew it, I knew that a lot of his efforts to keep me away from activism, from women’s studies, from gaining weight, from dressing like a tomboy, from being too outspoken, were not exclusively about him not wanting me to be that way, but him thinking no man would ever want me otherwise.I laughed because after years of becoming more confident in my own skin, my own ideas, it sounded like such a laughable thing: “Oh heaven FORBID I never land a husband! What would my life mean then?!” I laughed because I have been loved and will be loved BECAUSE of who I am, not IN SPITE of it. I laughed because I think it’s cute (in a weird, kinda horribe way) that my dad thinks the kind of man that finds me intimidating is the kind of man I would even want. I laughed, too, because he said “man” and “get married” which are two things that are very much optional and avoidable in my life plan.

But really, let’s think about it for a second. I know my dad’s worry all too well, and it terrifies me that most people who were raised as women probably know it too.

It’s the line that isn’t written in every lady magazine article about how to look younger, hotter, thinner. It’s whispered after statements such as “oh I believe in equality, but I am not a feminist or anything radical like that”. It’s what you can hear if you play any good old slutshaming parent’s record backwards.

It’s the worry that if you don’t play by certain rules (shout out to the patriarchy!), you will become “unloveable”.

I know I have feared that too, more than I care to admit. I also know that I laughed at my dad’s “confession” because I can laugh now, now that I love myself enough to know sexist disapproval is just that: sexist. I understand the fear of being unloveable, because we all want to be loved, accepted, appreciated. But the fact that most women are at least somewhat familiar with the “no guy will ever love you” (implicit or explicit) threat makes me really anxious, and angry too.

I want parents worried that theirs sons would stay away from feminist women. What would a decent human be afraid of in a feminist?

I want parents worried that their sons will reject a woman based on what she does or doesn’t do with her body hair, or her weight. I want parents worried that their sons grow up feeling entitled to an opinion when it comes to women’s appearance or bodies in general.

I want parents worried that their daughters will stay silent about things they care about in order to please men. I want parents worried that their daughters think feminism is too radical a thought, that equality is too much to ask.

I want parents worried that sexuality education is a field that gets so much heat, that gets slut-shamed. That slut-shaming is a thing that exists. I want parents worried that slut-shaming & sexism in general would deter people from persuing whatever career they want.

I want parents worried that the media and the patriarchy have led us to believe that a woman’s – and a man’s, to a different degree – only road to happiness (because I do think my dad wants me to land a husband so I can be happy) is heterosexual, monogamous marriage. [Not that it can’t bring people happiness or that it isn’t a valid choice, of course. But there are as many roads to happiness as there are people.]

I want parents worried that their kids are being taught that women’s lives revolve around men. That women’s worth is dependent on men’s approval, or men’s desire, or even men’s love. A person’s worth is dependent on them existing in this world, period.

Honestly, there is so much I would be worried about if I was a parent. However, whether my daughter can find a husband who will take her in all her feminist, sexuality-educator ways would not be one of those things.

Self-love and what relationships should be about.

Hang in there, I am still in finals. I wanted to write something relating to this blog post on relationships that I saw a while back. I appreciated it a lot, largely because it came before my eyes right when I needed it. Back then I still thought my entire worth and sense of self was about someone else, when the way I looked at the mirror depended on someone else. I want to talk about how we are taught a very unhealthy version of romance and relationships.

First, read this: The Whole Point of Every Relationship (is probably not what you think it is), from the blog Elephant Journal.

It is a pretty nice piece with a few thoughts on what relationships should be like. It is by no means exhaustive or a rulebook, but I found it to be very neat.

I want to address a couple of these thoughts because although I tend to talk mostly about sexual politics and feminism here, a great deal of what feminism is (at least to me) is about accepting oneself in all of our worth, refusing to accept others’ definitions of what we ought to be, questioning what we are taught, and realising our own potential as human beings. It is true that relationships can help us in that direction, but only healthy ones. And it is up to us – this is important to remember and SO easy to forget – and not up to them to make relationships healthy for ourselves.

 

Holding each other accountable.

We forget we are not their journey, or their goal, or their gift. They have their own journey and goals and gifts to give to the world, and we are there to support each other in making the most of them. Understanding that their life does not revolve around us: we are part of it, and we are there to try our best to make it better and more enjoyable, in whatever their journey is about. Blaming is not what it is about, but understanding where both come from and where they want to go, and cheering them in that direction.

 

Let go.

Again, their life is not about you. When journeys go separate ways, it is important to let that happen. They should not change their journey because of you. Understand that loving is also about wanting them to reach their potential, in whatever way they need to. Do not change your journey either: a person who loves you will understand that you should not have to.

 

Remember that your job is not to make him happy (but to allow him/her the space to find their own happiness).

Cheesus, how I wish someone had told me this (not because it is rocket science, but I could have used a reminder) a couple of months ago. What this means is that you are not responsible for her, and she is not responsible for you. Supporting each other and being able to count on each other is one thing, but the relationship should be about two people who can walk on their own two feet, but decide to walk alongside each other, not two people limping and holding the other’s arms because if not they’ll fall.

We are taught that it is romantic to say or think “I depend on you” or “my heart is in your hands” or “you hold the keys to my happiness” (I have been studying a lot, so my grasp on what people actually say is a bit off right now, but you get my point I think). There is a difference between being able to depend on someone and actually depending on someone, between trusting someone with your heart and actually making it their responsibility, between being happier thanks to her and being happier because of her. It should not be romantic to engage in codependent relationship in which the world absolutely shatters when the other is not there. Relationships (any kind, not just romantic) should be about encouraging the best in the other, allowing the space for them to be their own happy person, being happy for the other’s journey being realized. Again, a cheer-leader, not a coach. The hand that is there in case you need it, not an arm into which you always lean.

With this, another lesson I have learned comes to mind as well. We must work on ourselves before going into a relationship, we must be whole on our own. The notion of “your other half” bothers me because to me it sounds like such an unhealthy thing. You are literally making up for your insecurities by leaning on someone else, by filling up that space with someone else. As I have talked about before, we are taught to search for that special person to complete our journey, and I feel like that logic is all wrong. Our journey should include many people, not just the couple (insert my video on coupledom here). Moreover, our journey should be first about ourselves and our own sense of self being where it belongs and then comes whoever else, and we should not be shamed for thinking we come first. We should come first, it is our own life. And we should take care of ourselves, because if we cannot do that, how can we help someone else take care of themselves too?

 

Be honest.

I was completely dishonest once. Not to someone else, but to myself. Even today, I keep catching myself starting to be dishonest, and I have to correct it. And this has to do with thinking that the 100% of who we are could never find a partner or a friend or a lover or a whatever, which is a very flawed way to think. If we are all being dishonest, of course we are never going to find it, because we are looking in the wrong places. The only way is to throw ourselves out there with all of who we are, and trusting that we are worth it, that our personal journey is worth it, because we fucking are.

 

Fight well.

Oh how everyone I know needs to remember this. We need to think of problems and obstacles and misunderstandings and bad feelings as something external to us, because they are. They are the space between us and our partners. I like to think of them as a fire that is standing between the two (or three, or however many partners there are), a fire that everyone involved is responsible for grabbing an extinguisher and fight it. The fire, not each other over who started it, who fueled it, who was the last person to do something to it. Once the problem, the fire, is gone, you can talk about it to make sure it does not light up again.

 

Embrace attraction to others.

Why do people not understand that it is a fact of life? We have eyes, we have body parts that tingle when we see something good looking, and we have hormones that run rampant when we find something attractive (hormones that actually make us happy, a micro-teeny-tiny orgasm kind of happy). This has everything to do with jealousy, which has everything to do with insecurity, within ourselves (but we’ll get to that in the following point). I find people attractive all the time – I live in Montreal, so literally all the time – which does not mean I jump on people all the time, and this is true whether I am with someone or not. Jeez, I find every dessert incredibly attractive and I do not eat them all, now, do I? Attraction is a natural thing to have for humans, which does not obey the social construct and laws of monogamy which are not natural (not saying they are necessarily wrong or any less real, but they are not natural). The more you embrace it and communicate clearly and honestly about it, the more trust you’ll have.

Personally, I love it when the person I am with tells me about someone they see that is attractive. It means they are comfortable saying that, it means they know I trust them. The same way, when I say I find someone attractive, it means I am comfortable doing so, it means I feel like they trust me. We can communicate about it freely because it means nothing more than “hey, my serotonin levels just had a bit of a boost with that passing stranger over there”. Serotonin is good, and we should feel good about what makes our partner feel good, whether it is for a split second or for a day or for three years. Bitching about jealousy issues increases stress, attraction decreases stress. So really, what is healthier?

 

Do your work.

This has a lot to do with the previous one sometimes. If you are jealous, it is first and foremost about you, not him. If you are stressed out, it is first and foremost about you, not her. What I mean by this is that what YOU are feeling, YOU should work on. Communicating about jealousy is good, blaming because of jealousy is not good.

We are often taught, informally, that jealousy means they love you. To me, jealousy means they do not trust me, which itself means they don’t love me enough to trust me and to not try to control me. We are also taught that we are responsible of making sure the other is not feeling hurt, or jealous, or unheard, or whatever. It isn’t. Can we help them in not feeling that way? Sure. But through communication, not through not doing certain things or not acting certain ways. This has a lot to do with being honest about who we are and what we want and recognizing when our journey does not fit another’s. It isn’t true that love is about becoming one, but about becoming two stronger separate ones. Not about belonging to one another (I hate all those songs that allude to partners as property like “I’m Your Man”, “Sweet Child O’Mine”, “Are you gonna be my girl?”, “Be Mine”, “The boy is mine”), but about wanting to be with each other, and in case of monogamous relationships, wanting to be with each other – as opposed to only being with each other because you’re “taken” (insert imagery of a butt imprinted on a seat, signifying that it is taken).

There are healthy ways to communicate feelings of jealousy. “Hey, I felt a bit weird with the way you talked to that person. I just wanted to let you know so you can help me figure the root of this feeling of insecurity.” Not “Hey, I feel jealous about the way you talk to this person so YOU figure out how to make me feel better about it”.

 

Remember that you’re a mirror too.

I find it is so much better and more effective to actively seek to compliment the other and let them know what you see in them. I find asking “do you think I am smart/good looking/sexy/good in bed” so problematic and inherently unhealthy. It is much nicer to go up and say “I think you are gorgeous/super smart/sexy as heck/such a turn-on” first. They obviously find you smart and interesting and attractive, hence the being with you, silly. But reassuring that as opposed to asking for it makes everything more enjoyable.

 

Enjoy the ride, man!

Yes, yes, ABSOLUTELY YES. Just like a road trip, when the ride is no longer enjoyable, one must be willing to admit it and stop. Maybe it is just a pause to talk about  why we feel dizzy and wrong, maybe it is a stop to get some fresh air, walk around a bit and perhaps come back if it feels right, perhaps the destination is just not the same anymore for the both of you, and you should get into separate cars. Either way, it is better to stop when we feel queasy than to get into a car crash later on.

 

 

Anyway, like the writer of the original post, I am no expert, not even close. But I am constantly learning, and that blog entry definitely helped. So I thought I’d share.

 

Our self-worth, body image, sense of self and identity, should not depend on someone else. If someone else (anyone: friend, partner, family member, mentor) has a positive impact on our journey, on our happiness, then great, keep them in your life. If they stop making you grow and start making you shrink, if they stop making you shine and start making your light dim, know you have every right to want something better for yourself.

 

Something cheesy, but indubitably true :)

Something cheesy, but indubitably true 🙂

 

Unlike dogs, tags make me feel more lost [a poem]

I have struggled with labels all my life. Where do I fit? What describes me? Why don’t they feel comfortable? What is this deal with us trying to fit into containers much too small for our infinite possibilities for growth and movement.

I will float from one label to the next and it is not out of convenience (although I have, too, been guilty of that in the past) but out of trying to see if they feel right, when do they feel right, why don’t they feel right. In doing that, I’ve become increasingly aware of how political they can be, but also how sometimes they strip you of any sort of individuality. You’re your community, and I cannot and should not represent anyone but myself, really. Labels can be useful, but they can also be stressful.

first and foremost

first and foremost

 

I have found some labels describe me better than others, and sometimes I end up using a label because it makes everyday life a tad easier. I am still debating on the ‘my body as a political stance’ part, because it’s problematic, and it tends to violate my personal space when I need to declare my sexual preferences in order to help them not be invisible.

In any case, I wrote a poem. I know I usually write essays for this blog, but I haven’t had the time. So here goes…

 

Think straight. Walk straight. Stand straight. Be straight-forward.

Be straight. 

Stop thinking.

 

I am not crooked or broken or confused.

I am beautiful, with curves into my thighs and spirals in my mind;

I am brave, I am fire:

“A work-in-progress”, the cliché goes.

 

And while we are on the subject of being straight-forward,

I say fuck that. Fuck your names.

I am not confused,

Your names confuse me.

Your labels blur me, they erase me.

A 404: Error.

Identity not found.

 

I am tired of wasting time thinking

What am I? All the while

thinking in terms that you will understand,

thinking in boxes, thinking in lines.

Where do I draw mine?

Why should I?

 

I’m frankly exhausted,

bruises all over from bumping into walls and

Pipelines you built, in the middle of my sexuality.

I will not be bound, muted, colonized.

 

I don’t have to be straight, gay, bi, pansexual, queer

I could be either, or neither, or them all.

I can dance among them, between them, in them.

It should not concern you

My name is Lu, and that’s it for all you know

I’m not yours, to figure out.

 

Hell, you try to put labels on me,

Pour dichotomies on me;

I scrub them off

not as a political stance,

but because I do not get them.

And they don’t get me.

 

I have yet to discover myself, so

don’t pretend you’ve already done that for me.

You can’t do that.

I don’t own much, but that much I own.

Unrelated. But hey, how sexy is that?

Unrelated. But hey, how sexy is that?

Quick blog fix: couples edition + le moi on YouTube

I decided to make my first video! yay me. Super informal and kind of not the same format that I’ve been working on with this blog, but I am just testing the waters.

I have been absolutely absent from this place and it is killing me. I have been working on stuff that don’t make me nearly as happy as this blog does, but no one pays me to blog (yet… bahaha.. maybe) and there is no uni course on blogging about social constructs that make me uneasy.

I decided to talk a bit about two terms relating to coupledom: being “taken”, and “serious relationships”, and babble in front of a camera about why these terms have a strong ick factor for me. I leave with a lovey-dovey (but totally heart-felt) message for y’all, though 🙂

I will write more as soon as humanly possible; I have so much to say about so many things, it is insane and excruciatingly painful as I am too busy to elaborate on anything I just said on this vid, for example.

Anyway, let me know what you think about relationships, singledom, couples, monogamy, polyamory. What is your experience regarding status, pressures, ownership, exclusivity, etc?

I’ve been working on a blog post on polyamory for forever, but I am still doing research so it’ll be as comprehensive as I can make it. Any one part of the huge topic that is polyamory that you’d like me to focus on?

A (painfully) personal note on Steubenville and rape culture and why I can’t sleep.

The first thought in my mind, every time that I read about or hear about a rape case, is this: I could have been be that girl. We all could have been that girl.

The Steubenville case I have sort of followed since Anonymous brought light to it, but in particular since the trial was breaking news in CNN and the horrible, horrible way they covered it and then Fox News and MSNBC aired the name of the victim and then Twitter people decided to send death threats to the victim of rape and then not a single news source but Yahoo! Sports had a decent coverage of the crime and then people on YouTube (why do I read their comments? one of them alluded to me getting myself raped – me, A PERSON ON THE INTERNET – for saying that the victim could drink all she wanted and she still deserved to be respected) were being dickwads too.  Then I saw a news article on Facebook about an 11-year-old gang rape victim in Texas, two years ago, who was basically blamed for her rape because she had age-inappropriate clothes. I had to do something with so much powerlessness and anger and sadness and just UGHHHH and so I did what I had to do: I put on some Amanda Palmer piano-ey goodness and cried uncontrollably for a good 10 minutes.

That is not what I wanted to talk about, though, my crying. I am having a grilled-cheese sandwich and a beer right now as I am deconstructing my feelings and thoughts about this case and rape culture and sexism and calming the hell down. I like giving myself time to be angry and sad and outraged, but it is not constructive after a while. Anyhoo.

My personal letter refers to what I said first, that my first thought was that it could have been me, it could have been pretty much anyone in my family or group of friends. Any one of my classmates, or teachers, or neighbors, or blog followers. It could have been Amanda Palmer. It could and can be and might be any one that any one reading this knows or cares or knows about. It could be our future potential daughters or sons on trial, either as victims or perpetrators.

And I don’t mean this in that abstract, trivial way we talk about any crime, “phew! it could have been me”. I mean this in a more concrete way. I mean that it could have been be my school classmates blaming me for being too drunk, it could have been be my parents doubting me for flirting with guys, it could have been be my “friends” laughing as I lay naked “like a dead body”. It could have been be me having my word questioned on the basis of my sexual choices, on the basis of my drinking habits, on the basis on the clothes I wear, on the basis of the people I hang out with. It could have been be me receiving death threats on the Internet by people I know AND by people that don’t know me but feel so strongly about me being to blame for my own rape that they go on and tweet about it. It could have been be me having my name aired on national television as the girl who was victim of “rape, essentially”. It could have been be me roofied and then called #Alcoholic #Whore. It could have been be me with my life, future sexual, romantic and otherwise relationships, sense of self worth forever ruined or at the very least severely damaged. It could have been be me having to endure the entire Internet being about me, about whether or not I deserved it, whether or not I am a slut, whether or not my rapists deserve a sentence that is not even remotely just. It could have been be me watching as a major news source as CNN sympathizes with my rapists and even hints that I should feel guilty for coming forward and ruining those star football players’ lives. It could be me.

You know how I know it could be me? It is not because my friends are horrible human beings or because my family sucks or because all the men are know are sick in the head or anything.

One basic reason it could be me is covered in this rape mythbusting summary.

The other reason it could be me is that everything I have heard on the news, that I saw on the filming of the trials, that I have read in news articles from CNN, Fox News, Huffington Post even, every tweet I read and every YouTube comment I painfully went through resonates with things I was taught when I was younger. It resonates with comments I have heard before, cautionary tales I have heard before, how-to-not-get-raped bullshit I have heard before.

It could be me because I was always taught all that most girls – and in Latin America, pfffttt even worse – were taught, to the bone. I was told that I should never wear a short skirt so that men do not get “the wrong idea” about me, so that I do not get into “difficult situations”. Meaning that I should not wear short skirts so that men do not assume I am a whore because whores are not raped, they are “convinced”. I was told that I should watch my drinking carefully because drunk girls are seen as easy and “taken advantage of” – another rape-apologist word for rape. I was told to never go out alone because I would give men a reason to harass me – I was literally told that more than once, not joking here or making a vague generalization.

I was even taught specifically to never stay alone in a room with a man, because that evidently led to him thinking I wanted sex. Which is to say, unless there is a concrete wall between you, the answer is “yes”; in other words, he will only stop himself if he is physically separated from you. I was also taught that I should always say no to every man – even the ones I could actually like – because saying yes to more than one guy (meaning, sex before marriage – oh lordy, the blasphemy!) meant I was a slut, and meant my answer was yes to any guy. I was taught not to accept drinks from any men because they might contain drugs. Not once did I hear my father say as much as a – hey, son, when in doubt, DO NOT RAPE. But I did hear a whole lotta “restrain every part of your individuality, femininity, sexuality and sense of worth and ownership of your own body so you don’t get raped”.

It could be me because my family or schooling is not special or unique in what it taught me. Because most people I know – although many have grown and read and learnt and know better – were taught the same things. Because the girls from my high school called (and still call) each other sluts for as little as going from one boyfriend to another in “too little time” (which varied of course depending on how much they liked the girl), or “wearing the wrong kind of clothes”, or “flirting the wrong kind of way”.

Because the men in my community roll their eyes when a woman is drunk and say things like “does she see the kind of message she’s sending?” meaning her drinking is an invitation to her body, usually.

Because consent is not taught well enough, and people I know still go out of their way to distinguish between rape when there is alcohol involved and rape when it is the person’s partner and rape when it is a stranger on a dark alley (the most common stereotype of a rapist, the least common situation of rape) and rape when a woman is flirting but does not want sex, as if they were different degrees of rape. Because most men and women in the community I was raised in still immediately assume that a woman claiming rape in national television must be lying – when it is only 4 to 6% of rape reports that are false.

Because, still today, my biggest fear surrounding vaginismus is that if I tell a guy to stop mid-process because it hurts, he wont: I still hold, somewhere inside my head, the idea that men’s basic mode is ‘rapist’. Because so many women I know still apologize when they need or want to stop, or when they have been flirting but then say no to sex, or when they do not feel in the mood for it and refuse their partners.

Because women still feel the need to resort to refusals such as “I have a boyfriend” in a bar because the threat or the imagined presence of another man is the only thing that will (or might) stop a man from harassing a woman, because a woman’s lack of consent is not enough.

Because Trent Mays apologized for sending pictures of it around, not for the rape. He did not feel the need to even apologize for the crime he committed, because he thinks the “only” (not to minimize it) crime he committed was child pornography. He raped someone and he regrets sending the pictures, because that is what got him caught.

Because a (pardon my language, really, I am trying to be cool) fucking dead-looking pass-out-drunk body of a teenager, captured in pictures, detailed accounts in texts from many young men and women including one which read (I am paraphrasing) that the song of the night was Rape Me by Nirvana – which means the teen sending that text was aware that it was rape what they were doing -, and the testimony of a girl are made accountable by only one and two years respectively, for only two of the approximately 50 high school students that were accomplices of the crime.

It could be me, or you, or any woman or man I know. It could be any one of us because we all (or most of us did, before you get all upset) have drunk while underage, many of us have been drunk, all of us have flirted, all of us have worn something that someone has considered “slutty” (we are all too prude or too slutty to someone, it is called girl-on-girl hate, and slut-shaming and both things suck: stop doing it), all of us have been partying “too hard” according to someone, somewhere. We all have been someplace our parents, or someone, told us not to be, all of us have trusted someone we shouldn’t have at some point in our life. We all have been that girl in Steubenville. Except that not all of our binge drinking and partying and being-a-freaking-normal-teenager-ing has resulted in some assholes raping us and playing with our body as if it was a toy and posting it online and CNN and other news sources being insensitive idiots to us and the whole Internet looking and judging us and our lives being ruined forever.

And if it had been me, or you, or any woman or man, it would not be my or yours or anyone else’s fault either, except the RAPISTS.

Murder–> murderer. Terrorism –> terrorist. Rape–> rapist. Get it?

Grammar makes things so simple for me sometimes.

Let’s create a world in which we never have to be the family of the perpetrators, but not because that would be such a tragedy on their promising careers, but because we taught them better than to treat women like objects to be handled at will.

[When I read about rape cases now, I think, it could be my nephews on the stand. I don’t want them to be those guys, and I will fight like hell so that they are never those guys, so that your nieces wont be those victims. Not the other way around.]

It all starts with us, speaking out, spreading awareness, teaching consent, practicing consent. It starts with us communicating and not being afraid of our sexuality, of our bodies, of ourselves.

my message to you <3

Inspired by Tim, my message to you 🙂

Oye ¡güerita! quién fuera tu ginecólogo…

A veces la gente no comprende porqué el acoso sexual en las calles es algo grave o preocupante. Porqué importa, porqué nosotras las feministas nos ponemos “de intensas” al respecto: “pero si sólo son manes divirtiéndose sin afectar a nadie”, “¡es una broma!”, “son sólo palabras, ¿sabes? no estamos haciendo nada”, o la absoluta peor de todas, “deberías sentirte halagada”.

Quiero hablar de cada una de estas justificaciones, y otras. El acoso en las calles es algo serio. Y me voy a referir a ustedes, hombres (hetero, supongo, aunque si eres un hombre acosando a otros manes también es para ti esta entrada) que nos gritan, manosean, fotografían de forma sexual, chiflan, tocan el cláxon, o cualquier otra señal grotesca dirigiéndose a una mujer desconocida (o que no te dio su consentimiento) en un espacio público. Me voy a referir a ustedes que creen que no es la gran cosa pues son chavos decentes que no harían nada malo.

1. Sí, son manes divirtiéndose. Y yo sé que la mayoría de hombres (hetero) encuentran diversión en el cuerpo femenino. Yo también encuentro diversión en el cuerpo de personas del sexo opuesto – o del mismo para tal caso. Pero, ¿podrían, como yo, divertirse solamente con el cuerpo de alguien que ha dado su consentimiento para ello? ¿Así porfis? Así pueden divertirse entre ustedes todo lo que quieran, y dejarme a mi en paz. No he dado ni daré mi consentimiento jamás a que un man grotesco (nada que ver con apariencia, chavos: si me acosan en la calle me parecerán grotescos) tenga “diversión de hombres” a costa de mis senos, mis piernas, mis nalgas/cola/pompas (el problema de saber que me leen de distintos países hispanohablantes). Yo decido quien se divierte conmigo, ¿estamos?

2. El acoso en las calles no debería ser divertido. ¿Les parece divertido cuando alguien que no conocen los hace sentir humillados, incómodos, cosificados, devaluados y les arruina su día entero? A nosotras tampoco.

Nadie debería encontrar divertido el violentar a otra persona, el dañarla. Lo que me lleva al siguiente punto.

3. No es sin afectar a nadie. Por supuesto que a ustedes no les afecta, ustedes son los que están acosando. Pero si nos daña a nosotras, nos afecta en varias maneras.

Primero, nos hace sentir incómodas. Y si estas haciendo algo que incomoda a la mitad de la población mundial colectivamente, y eres una persona decente, dejarías de hacerlo.

Nos hace sentir que no estamos a salvo, seguras. ¿Por qué? Porque no hay garantía (no tenemos manera de saber que eres un chavo decente y no-violador porque no estás haciendo lo decente que es no chiflarnos) de que nos atacarás sólo con palabras, primeramente. No hay garantía de que no nos vas a toquetear, seguir, asaltar, golpear, violar. Probablemente tienes la fuerza física para hacerlo. Tienes también la actitud desagradable hacia la mujer y el machismo que se requiere, claramente (¡nos estás chiflando! no somos perros, ¿sabes?)

Nos hace dudar de nuestra persona y nuestro valor como seres humanos completos, no sólamente, como dicen “senos con patas”. Nos hace internalizar tus claxonazos y empezar a cosificarnos a nosotras mismas. Nos hace pensar que nuestro valor como personas y nuestro acceso a tu atención está solamente en nuestro cuerpo y qué tan bien nos veamos nos veas.

Nos hace sentir como ciudadanos de segunda, pues claramente las calles y otros sitios públicos no son tan nuestros como tuyos.

4. Esas no son bromas. No encontrarías gracioso si una broma consistiera en tenerte cuidando tus alrededores a cada instante mientras caminas a tu casa, evaluar tu elección de ropa dependiendo de si tienes que pasar por el sitio de construcción o no, tener que asegurarte de estar con alguien cuando pasas por ciertas calles, manejar tu horario de manera que no estés fuera a ciertas horas. Te aseguro, no te gustaría el chiste. No se te haría tan divertido si dañara TU libertad, si tus papás te dijeran, “No, hoy no te puedes ir de farra con tus amigos porque hay unas personas allá afuera que sienten derecho de evaluar como te verías desnudo”.

5. Tú eres el único que sabe que son sólo palabras. Como dije, no tenemos forma de saber que eres un hombre decente pues no te estas comportando como tal. Tenemos miedo de responderte pues te puedes enojar, o violentar, o ser más grotesco en tus comentarios. Podrías tocarnos, o seguirnos, o quién sabe qué mas. La sociedad nos enseña que debemos temerle a los hombres, pues no sabemos qué puede pasar si cruzamos esa preciosa línea que los hombres cruzan todo el tiempo: con sus comentarios, su acoso, su mirada no bienvenida, sus chistes sexistas, sus amenazas de violencia, sus violencias socialmente-aceptables (porque, no es de damas levantar la voz, claro). Le tenemos miedo, más que nada, a la idea machista de que tienes derecho sobre nuestros cuerpos, a ser violento si no nos acomodamos a tus caprichos.

No queremos averiguar si eres un violador o si “solamente” hablas como uno.

6. El que me acosen en la calle me hace muchas cosas: me enoja, me decepciona, me atemoriza, me molesta, me incomoda. Pero no me halaga.

El que pienses que me halaga es en sí un insulto. No busco la aprobación masculina, lo creas o no. Y puede sonar a frase de feminista enojada y sola, pero creeme que no lo es. (Por mucho tiempo lo fue, claro. Tomó tiempo el valorarme – toda yo, incluyendo pero no sólamente mi cuerpo). Mucho menos busco la aprobación de hombres que ni siquiera conozco ni me importan. Sé cómo me veo, sé que tengo senos, muslos, brazos, nalgas. Estoy conciente de mi anatomía, y me siento sexy por lo que siento, por lo que veo en el espejo, por lo que soy. No porque hiciste alusión a lamer mis partes (quisiera estar inventando que alguien me ha dicho esto).

 

Un güey una vez me dijo que al menos me prestaban atención, que a muchas chavas ni les chiflaban. En ese momento yo no era tan respondona, ni tenía tanta confianza en mi misma, ni sabía qué tan sexista había sido su comentario, pero ahora que pienso en él me dan ganas casi de llorar. Me hace pensar que en materia de reclamar las calles, los salones de clase, los autobuses, el mundo, tenemos muy poco espacio siempre y cuando no reclamemos primero esa dicotomía estúpida y reduccionista de “hot or not”.

Si somos de las suertudas que somos consideradas bonitas en estándares de hoy en día, nos acosan diariamente, nos cosifican. La gente se sorprende de que seamos inteligentes, de que seamos feministas. Nos tienen con estándares muy bajos, y nos socializan así. Nos dicen que todo lo que tenemos es belleza, y que ésta será lo que nos de poder en la sociedad patriarcal en la que vivimos. Nos dicen que debemos también cuidar esa belleza, que no se vaya; que debemos odiar a otras mujeres pues son nuestra competencia por esa mirada masculina que debemos buscar siempre.

Si somos, por otro lado, de las suertudas que no son acosadas en las calles diariamente y cosificadas y no tomadas en serio, entonces somos ridiculizadas constantemente, botadas a un lado. Nos dicen que no tenemos ese valor femenino de la belleza, entonces no valemos nada. Nos hacen pensar que nunca nos vamos a casar (¡y eso es una catástrofe!), que nunca tendremos nada que valga la pena.

En resumidas cuentas, no podemos ganar. Nos hacen dudar de nosotras mismas constantemente. Nunca somos suficientemente bellas. Pero, si fuéramos más bellas, tendríamos más poder, más amigos, más dinero, más empleos, podríamos hasta escoger a nuestro esposo. Podríamos ser más bellas, pues las revistas y el acoso y la pornografía nos dicen que ni somos tan bellas. Así que devoramos cada producto que nos promete ser mejores como mujeres. Pero es que o somos demasiado bonitas para nuestra conveniencia o no somos suficientemente bonitas. No podemos ganar.

Además, hay muchas cosas que sí me halagan. Que me reduzcas a un cuerpo sin persona al cual tienes derecho y el cual tienes derecho a criticar a placer no me halaga. Si eres un man saliendo conmigo y me dices que me veo linda, sí me halaga – no es que estemos en contra o blindadas contra cumplidos o contra sentirnos y que nos hagas sentir bellas, obviamente. Pero ahí habría consentimiento en cuanto a cierta cercanía e intimidad, a un espacio personal reducido en comparación a una banqueta. Se entiende que la interacción es más profunda que partes del cuerpo a las cuales chiflar.

En la calle, quiero sentirme segura, respetada, y que me dejen en paz. Claramente no quiero que me hagan sentir como un hueso en un patio de juegos de machos en el que quien quiera puede y va a disparar groserías o chiflidos hacia mí. Claramente no quiero, después de ser acosada, que me digan que les “regale una sonrisita, mami” que porque “¿por qué tan seriecita?” si me están halagando. Tengo que sonreír para hacerles saber que estoy más que de acuerdo con sus avances, y es que, ¿quién no lo estaría?

 

Se me ha hecho temerle a mis calles, a mi ciudad, a mi propio cuerpo y feminidad toda mi vida. Mientras crecía ni siquiera cuestioné nunca que jamás debería caminar sola, o tarde en la noche, o portando cualquier prenda fuera de una sudadera con capucha. La sociedad me ha hecho sentir que debo vestirme como hombre para que así me traten como hombre, o séase con respeto. Mostrar que soy mujer sería mostrar que soy débil, que me pueden no respetar, que me pueden engañar, que me pueden tocar o atacar pues no hay nada que temer en mi cuerpo y mi persona. Que estoy “abierta” al acoso. Me enseñaron bastante claramente que caminar sola en mi ciudad, como mujer, es dejar que me hagan lo que quieran, pues me lo estoy buscando. Crecí con miedo de cruzármele a un man, de provocarlo, de causar que se bajara del coche del cual me esta gritando y que me hiciera algo. ESO ES EL ACOSO EN LAS CALLES.

El acoso en las calles, más que nada, es un modo de vigilar y supervisar nuestros cuerpos y nuestra sexualidad, las horas del día a las que salimos y bajo el cuidado de quién, vigilar que no estemos ‘rondando por ahí’, a dónde y cuándo salimos, qué hacemos. Es literalmente asegurarse de que no se nos deje solas ni un momento, “por nuestro propio bien”. Es asegurarse de que nos quedemos en casa. Y puede que no nos lo pongan así, con esas palabras, pero eso es lo que efectivamente hace con las mujeres. Si andamos caminando por ahí solas de noche, seguramente somos “chicas malas”. Así que obtenemos lo que merecemos: paranoia, acoso, y quién sabe qué más. Si no queremos ser víctimas de estas cosas, o de la vergüenza de ser llamada “promiscua” o “mala mujer”, más nos vale quedarnos en casa, más nos vale caminar con un hombre a lado nuestro. Más nos vale no ser vistas donde no debemos estar.

 

no piropo

Yo me rehúso a aceptar esto. Tenemos derecho a nuestras calles, tenemos derecho sobre nuestros cuerpos, nuestra auto-estima, sobre lo que vestimos, dónde estamos y cuándo. Tenemos derecho al mismo ambiente seguro que cualquier hombre. Tenemos derecho a dejar de contener o doblegar nuestra sexualidad porque un hombre no puede guardarse sus comentarios. Tenemos derecho a no ser juzgadas, avergonzadas. Tenemos derecho a decidir sobre lo que nuestros cuerpos, nuestra ropa, y nuestro horario dice de nosotras; a no dejar que un hombre decida esas definiciones por nosotras.

 

Únanse a estas campañas 😉 y chequen este reportaje y entrevista, súper interesante.

 

– Interviene cuando alguien está acosando a alguien más. Dile que está mal y porqué.

– Calmadamente acércate y diles porqué te lastima lo que acaban de gritarte. Esto toma mucha valentía, pero puedes intentarlo (cuando no estés en peligro tú, claro).

– Toma fotos de los agresores. Ponlas en la calle: “No respeta a mujeres”, “Cuidado con este auto, no te respeta”.

– Habla con la víctima del acoso en la calle. Hazla sentir segura y tranquilízala. Ayúdale a hacerle frente a los agresores.

– Cuenta tu historia en http://www.ihollaback.org/#