Feminism | Posted by Anonymous on 09/7/2010

A Reason to Believe in Feminism

I have for you a tale of feminism in its physical manifestation.

It was only weeks ago that I, a nineteen-year-old girl, sat at a window seat on a bus swindling its way down a road in the city one night. Ere long I felt another’s presence, and turned to find a beefy drunkard leering at me as he stumbled to sit by my side. He had prickly grey stubble covering his weathered cheek; bloodshot eyes and thin lips smacked together as he looked me up and down.

‘How ya going, alright?’ He grunted, and I nodded curtly before stepping away and re-settling myself on a different seat, a couple of rows back. I had smelt the Red Label on his stale breath and seen how his eyes had rested on my breasts, and wanted no part of it. Almost immediately he staggered to his feet and joined me.

‘’Ow old are ya, love?’ He grinned, and I didn’t answer, staring straight ahead and not knowing what to do. It was eleven at night, and this was the last bus; it was near empty, and we were too far away for the driver to know anything was amiss. My stop was at least fifteen minutes away.

Next I felt his fingers clumsily grasping at my hair; he was gazing at me, trying to fix his unstable vision on my face. I slapped his hand away and went to stand up, and he held me in my seat. I felt his grubby hand on my upper thigh and let out a bloodcurdling scream; the hand was withdrawn and the shocked bus driver squealed to a hault.

A woman, quite small, and no older than thirty, had wrenched the drunkard from me and was standing over him, striking blow upon blow, as I sat there sobbing. The man scrambled, crawling towards the open doors as the bus driver stood there, radio in hand, stunned; my saviour kicked the drunkard out of the doors and gently asked me if I wanted to call the police.

Of course I didn’t; and the woman, having instructed the male bus driver to continue on his route, sat next to me with her arm around me and I cried into her shoulder. I won’t pretend to have suffered excessively from this incident; it was just the shock of a stranger literally grabbing my vagina in public. At length I raised my head to realise we were at the end of the line; I assume the woman had missed her stop, and despite it being the last stop, had stayed to comfort me. She proceeded to walk me to my door, despite my reassurance that I was fine.

I guess my tears were partially due to overthinking; what if this incident hadn’t been on a bus? What if I’d been walking, and hadn’t been able to muster that scream; what if the man had been less drunk, younger and more agile? What if? My tears were for the fragility of womankind, and the extent to which we are hunted.

Yes, there is filth in our world; yes, you could have a close call on public transport. But know that there are people, and women, like the one who helped me out. This nameless woman gave me something to aspire to, and a reason to believe in feminism.

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  • Samuel W. @ at 11:58 am, September 7th, 2010

    Very inspiring. Some good news for once, not just the bad news.

  • Samuel W. @ at 12:01 pm, September 7th, 2010

    PS I would’ve felt almost the same way as you if some creepy old guy grabbed my thigh, and I’m a guy. I don’t cry really, at all in life more than a few times a year as it is, but I would feel sort of the same way :) .

  • Taylor S. @ at 12:04 pm, September 7th, 2010

    I don’t know what it was about this post, but it made me burst into sobs. It’s just not fair that women have to suffer through this every day. That woman that helped you out is a credit to our species.

    I’m sorry.

  • Jenna @ at 12:32 pm, September 7th, 2010

    Damn, this is terrible, yet I felt so relieved and happy that there was someone there for you.

  • Alex Catgirl @ at 12:51 pm, September 7th, 2010

    I hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate it when deranged boys/guys feel they have an inalienable right to touch our bodies, it makes my skin crawl and am filled with an irresistible urge to take a scalding hot shower to remove the filth.

    Lucky somebody gave the cretin what he deserved.

  • A @ at 4:05 pm, September 7th, 2010

    You are so brave to share this. It gave me chills, but like Samuel said it also resulted in positivity and hope. That is awful but it emphasizes why feminism is still pertinent. Excellent job.

  • Zoe @ at 5:43 pm, September 7th, 2010

    Stories like this always make me cringe inside. I’m glad everything turned out OK. What in the hell makes a person think that is an acceptable way to act, drunk or not?

  • Katherine C. @ at 6:38 pm, September 7th, 2010

    Thank you so much for posting this, and I’m so sorry that you had to go through that. We all need hope, and this story provided that. *hugs*

  • Missy @ at 1:01 am, September 8th, 2010

    You had me until “fragility of womankind.”

  • Manuela @ at 8:48 am, September 8th, 2010

    “My tears were for the fragility of womankind, and the extent to which we are hunted.”

    Beautiful, haunting sentence that sums up pretty much every woman’s experience on this planet… thank you for sharing!

  • Steph @ at 11:43 am, September 9th, 2010

    Hey, Ryan.

    With all the kindness I can muster?
    NOT A COOL POSITION.
    Not even going to get into it.
    Just not cool. In no way, shape or form.

    @Anonymous:
    The prose is a bit purple, but I think that once you strip it away, you have a story of strength. Not everyone might have acted, and you did.

  • Ryan @ at 12:59 pm, September 9th, 2010

    Again Steph, I have more sympathy for the pain, suffering, utter desolation and depravity that this man lives in than for the author.

    I’m not saying I don’t understand. I understand her feelings but she only sees one side of the story.

    I see him as the real victim. I see him as the powerless one. I see his story of suffering. With all due respect I sympathize more with his plight. Only men end up homeless on the street like that.

    Women have value to the opposite sex for the simple fact that they exist and men do not. If men don’t produce we have no value, women will not have us and we are left under bridges and on the street to rot.

    This man’s actions were that of someone in desperation, loneliness, pain and suffering. To me, this was an act of powerlessness not of power. Men are human beings with feelings.85% of the homeless on the street are men.

    I understand the authors feelings but as a man I understand female privilege. I understand and have compassion for the male condition while it is obvious to me that feminists and females in general do not.

    You see men as expendable and something to vie to be worthy of you. You see to it that in an emergency men must die so that women may live. You see yourselves as more precious and important. You want “choices” without ever asking yourselves what choices you allow men to have.

  • Quinc @ at 3:30 pm, September 9th, 2010

    Myself and 99% of the people who read this would disagree with that worldview, and understand it only exists because of what is valued in men and women. Women are valued for their beauty, and all too often for nothing else. Of course not every woman is conventionally attractive so men compete for what a Pick artist would call a “Perfect 10″ and the women are expected to sit back and watch, acting as both judge and prize. The judge part is what you call “female privilege” but the rules were decided by generations ago, and mostly by men. The prize part is horrifying if think about it too long. Essentially she has sex and even gets married not because she wants to, but because that guy came out on top and he is demanding it of her. Of course this can only change if men and women all agree to make it change.

    But reason the Original Post is scary isn’t because the guy lost that competition, it isn’t that he was drunk, it’s not the blood shot eyes, it’s that he laid claim to access to her body, to touch and grope with zero consideration to her feelings. He asked but didn’t listen. He was slightly worried she was too young and pure to touch, but didn’t even wonder if SHE wanted to touch.

    Why? Because in the competition for the females it doesn’t really matter what said females themselves want. You just take initiative and take it, and unless there is some other guy to challenge you, it’s yours.

    Yes Ryan, having to compete sucks, realizing you aren’t “Man Enough” to get whatever “Perfect 10″ you’re looking at sucks, but guess what’s worse? Being the prize. Sit there and be pretty until some guy shows up with a penis, a diamond ring, the strength to beat the other guys, and the money to run a family. Don’t really like his grubby hands? Too bad, he’s earned you, he deserves a break and a little fun tonight and you’ve been selected to give it. (I could go on…I’d tidy it but got somewhere to be)

    To believe in feminism is to believe it can all change eventually.

  • kanadra @ at 4:18 pm, September 9th, 2010

    There’s really nothing today to Ryans comment but “WTF”. I still don’t understand what kind of pleasure you get from being here.

    Aside from that, I quite appreciated this story-post. Well written and thought provoking. Thankyou, Anonymous for sharing.

  • Britt @ at 6:57 pm, September 9th, 2010

    “I understand and have compassion for the male condition while it is obvious to me that feminists and females in general do not.”

    Ryan, this statement of yours is especially interesting to me. Not because I agree with anything you posted above, but because you’ve demonstrated that you’re simply uninformed. That’s something you can rectify. Look into feminist theory and try learning about some of our concepts. Start with the essays by Bell Hooks (“Men: Comrades in Struggle”), for example. You’ll find that your black-and-white dichotomous generalizations are causing you pain for no reason. Good luck to you.

  • Katherine C. @ at 7:51 pm, September 9th, 2010

    Ryan, go away. This so so not the website for you, unless you get some kind of sick thrill from being such a blind asshole.

  • Verity Khat @ at 8:27 pm, September 9th, 2010

    Ryan, you are so far off base that you can’t even see the diamond anymore. What you call “female privilege” is actually objectification.

    I’m terribly sorry this happened to you, Anonymous. You did an excellent job trying to diffuse the situation non-violently, and I’m glad someone was around to literally kick the creep’s ass.

  • Bell @ at 10:03 pm, September 9th, 2010

    There is a rape apologist between us. That there are poor lone men (and women!) on the streets who shouldn’t be there and should be somewhere warm with someone to love them has NOTHING AT ALL TO DO with a person sexually assaulting another.

    You disgust me, Ryan.

  • Ryan @ at 10:30 pm, September 9th, 2010

    It has everything to do with it.

  • Manuela @ at 12:08 am, September 10th, 2010

    Ryan,

    did you ever in your life have another human being, one with more physical power than you, grab your penis and try to fondle it? Did you ever in your life have to think of your physical safety when you left home/work/etc at night? And did you experience each and every one of your male friends having similar experiences at least once in their lives, let alone every day?

    Because you say you understand the writer’s feelings – do you, do you really? Unless, of course, that’s a tokenist, dismissive statement prefacing your self-righteous indignation.

    Or maybe, just maybe, you really do want to understand, in which case may I recommend a few sites for you to visit and educate yourself before you leave any other comments (note: your understanding will improve considerably if you can bring a dose of humility to your readings):

    - Use ‘sexism’ to replace ‘racism’ in this piece and see how well your comments fit, in “How to suppress discussions of racism” at http://coffeeandink.dreamwidth.org/435419.html

    - go through the Required Reading at The Angry Black Woman’s blog, http://theangryblackwoman.com/required-reading/ before attempting any more writing.

    - If that’s more than you can deal with at once, you can start with the Male Privilege entry, at http://theangryblackwoman.wordpress.com/2007/05/14/things-you-need-to-understand-6-male-privilege/. Do try to read the rest as well, though, there are many things to learn.

    - then you can read Lucy Gillam’s piece at http://www.trickster.org/symposium/symp181.htm, of which I offer you an excerpt:

    “The second result of the invisibility of male privilege is that a lack of male privilege is taken as active oppression, as male-bashing or bias towards women. It is not enough that the mere presence of something which actively aims at women and women’s interests is taken as oppressing men; simply not catering to men’s interests is perceived as oppression. And I mean, by the way, honestly perceived that way.”

    Sounds familiar to you? Because I’m sure it does to all the women reading this, and that’s what we’d like you to understand.

    However, judging by your comments, I think the chances of you mustering any humility to try to understand are nil. I am writing all this more as a symbolic kicking of your abusive presence, however miserable its source, off this post, and a way of saying to the post writer, I think you’re brave and awesome, thank you for sharing, you are not alone!!

  • Verity Khat @ at 2:07 pm, September 10th, 2010

    I think I see where Ryan is missing the point.

    Ryan, what you are saying is that Mr. Drunk and others like him wouldn’t assault others if they had loving relationships. How do you know Mr. Drunk doesn’t have a great job and a lover that adores him and satisfies him 10 times a day? Sexual assault is not about love between two people, or even attraction; it’s about one person exerting power over another with no thought to the other person’s wishes. That is not the way civilized human beings treat one another, and there is no excuse whatsoever for such behavior. None.

    I myself have been drunk as a skunk in public while lonely for love or lust, and it never occurred to me to paw strangers. Maybe it’s because I’m a woman, but I suspect it has far more to do with the fact that I was taught to respect others as autonomous beings.

  • matt @ at 3:56 pm, September 10th, 2010

    First and foremost, I am very sorry for the pain you suffered through this. None of what I say is to discredit what you went through or the fact he violated and disrespected you deeply.

    But I fail to understand what this has to do with feminism. Isn’t this just human decency? Had it been a man who pulled the guy off you, would you be so vocal and praise worth of the male species? To single out this incident because it was a woman seems to imply there is something special about that. Which implies that it is unique and or different than if a man did this. How is this feminism? Why is it that feminism has turned into man-hating and not advancement of the female species as a whole? I’m all for womens rights, and gay rights. I don’t care who you are or what your preferences are. We ALL have rights.

    But why is it so many feminists seem to be spewing double standards?

  • JFV @ at 5:40 pm, September 10th, 2010

    Ryan, you are making so many negative assumptions towards that man. You seem to believe that he is a homeless man who wants but cannot get a female partner, causing him to instead use strangers on a bus for sexual entertainment. And there is no proof of any of that. There are plenty of drunk, stubbly men who have female partners and/or plenty of money. Assuming that he is in a low position is more of an insult towards the man than towards the original poster. This man was simply behaving the way that some men (and some women too!) behave when they are intoxicated.

  • Tessa @ at 6:19 pm, September 10th, 2010

    @Ryan,

    It’s not excuse that this man is homeless. He still DOES NOT have the right to put his hands on her. Your position is confusing. It doesn’t matter if a man is homeless or drunk because he still does not have the right to assault her. That right is extended to no one, no matter how poor or drunk or whatever. I have no sympathy for the man. However, I do have sympathy for you and anonomyous. Anonymous because of what she faced, and you because your perspective reeks of male privilege.

  • Ryan @ at 7:15 pm, September 10th, 2010

    And yours reeks of female privilege.

    How about we meet somewhere in the middle and agree that each gender has a power that could be used to harm or exploit the other.

  • Liza @ at 10:26 pm, September 10th, 2010

    Ryan,

    How in fucking hell is defending yourself from rape exploiting a man? So every time men drool over a Photoshop’d woman in a magazine and make real (by real I mean women who don’t have plastic skin) women feel like crap it’s not exploiting them? Every time we’re told to love our bodies even though the media sees us as either extremely skinny or extremely overweight we’re not being exploited?

    The only female privileges I can think of are wearing skirts and public; being gay without as many repercussions as men, and even this “privilege” is a stretch; and showing a lot of skin.

    Feel free to point out any I missed, I’m sure you’ll mention quite a few that my small and privileged female mind has missed since I’m too busy beating up men and giving birth to their children right before I steal their money.

  • M @ at 1:02 pm, September 11th, 2010

    @Ryan: What you describe is not female privilege…What you dudes have to put up with is merely the flip side of the patriarchal coin – sexism hurts both women and men. There is no battle of the sexes or zero-sum game…

  • anonymous @ at 3:26 am, September 12th, 2010

    Hi, Ryan. I’m the author of this piece and I’d like to make a comeback of sorts at your allegations.

    I was wary of sounding precious in my piece (admittedly not strong, I rushed to share it); which is why I was sure to say that I knew it seemed like nothing, but it was nonetheless frightening. I do think there is such thing as ‘female priviledge’- and it is something I as a feminist strive to eliminate from our society. So please don’t accuse me of it. I have every right to grumble when someone touches me when I haven’t given my permission. Nothing to do with me being a woman, or he being a man. If you read the story properly, you would see that the strong feminist point came into play when the seemingly fragile woman stepped up to protect and, effectively, save me. The story is effective (I think) because it’s not tragic. There was no lasting disquiet, no nightmares, no ‘emotional scars’. I just got jittery.

    Ryan, I really do understand where you’re coming from; this man had likely suffered, but the thing is, nothing excuses sexual harrassment (I wouldn’t label this incident as ‘abuse’). Please don’t excuse his inhuman behaviour.

  • Anna @ at 4:32 am, September 12th, 2010

    “You see men as expendable and something to vie to be worthy of you.”
    -And men see women in the same way. This is a human nature thing, not a gender thing.
    “You see to it that in an emergency men must die so that women may live.”
    -Women didn’t get together and decide women and children first’. This was an doctrine long before the feminist movement started. If anything that general mindset is a display of how women are treated as week (like children..) and unequally.

    Now, I understand that violence breeds more violence, but understanding why violence occurs does not excuse it. Saying that this poor man doesn’t know how to act, because women and society put him in a place of such weakness, is pathetic. We need to remember that adults need to act like adults and stop blaming society for personal behavior.

  • Heather Aurelia @ at 1:23 pm, September 12th, 2010

    I was almost taken an advantage of by drunk guy, that was scary. I knew him and worked for him. He sexual harassed me on a daily basis. Should we make up excuses for his behavior, Ryan?
    He was just lonely after all, really, he wife was at work all day and he had no one to take of him.

    There is NO excuse for Sexual Harrassment. PERIOD.

  • firefly @ at 3:53 pm, September 12th, 2010

    Ryan:

    Problem! Homeless men wouldn’t be raped. A woman walking alone, rich or not, might be.
    Also? Men made up the rules. About no women in the army, chivalry, etc. But every individual thinks of themselves as most important, and this selfishness is what creates the sense of “privilege” for both genders, though men have more say on it.

  • firefly @ at 3:58 pm, September 12th, 2010

    And matt:

    I think the author’s point is that it’s good that people REALIZE and ware willing to DO something for someone who has been assaulted, and realized that it was wrong.

  • Ryan @ at 1:12 pm, September 13th, 2010

    No, you are mistaken if you think “men made up all the rules”. If this was true then men would not be so subjugated to women.

    If this were true then men would have rights in marriage and thus divorce. If this were true then men’s lives, our safety, health and welbeing would be just as important as a woman’s. If men were equal to women then we would be inherently attractive and valuable to women as women are to men. If men made the rules then women would no longer be able to exploit men, force and coerce us to provide and produce for women.

  • Ryan @ at 1:38 pm, September 13th, 2010

    Chivalry is a product of male commitment. It was from a time when women had reciprocal obligatins to men in the personal social contract. This extended to what became the public social contract. Men extended respect and deference to women as a gender.

    I hope that chivalry dies as completely as the complimentary social contract between men and women has. Understand that as a separate socio-political and socio-economic class women are the competition of men, women are not an asset but a risk and liability to men and so is a man getting emotionally close to children. Marriage is a risk to men and something women use to force men on our knees with gold and diamonds. You ate the only gender with rights over your body and the fruits of its labor!

    Men should no longer commit to marriage or women. Men should not protect nor provide to women. Male responsibility should not be made to support women’s choices.

    Men deserve our own choices. Men should not commit to women or marriage. As women and men now compete against eachother I would expect that women do so fairly AND YOU ARE NOT!

    Provide for yourselves, pay for yourselves. Men no longer owe you commitment. Men no longer owe you anything. END ALL WOMEN FIRST LAWS IN COLLEGE ADMISSIONS AND BUSINESS HIRINGS!

    Men’s health, welbeing and safety are just as important as a woman’s. Fatherhood is just as important as motherhood. Men’s bodies and the fruits of our labor are OURS AND NOT YOURS. MEN DESERVE EQUAL RIGHTS. MEN DESERVE CHOICES.

  • Tessa @ at 5:08 pm, September 13th, 2010

    @Ryan

    Your arguments really don’t make any sense. Men don’t owe us anything currently, and we as women can take care of ourselves, as proven time and time again. Just read a little about marriage rates, affirmative action in colleges (favors men), and just generally about gender. Then you’ll understand why as women, we’re pissed off about male privilege.

    Let me ask you a few questions:

    Why do women make less money than men for the same work?

    Why are the rates of domestic violence so high (25% of women are abused by their partners, at least in a heterosexual relationship)?

    Why are women afraid to walk out alone at night in fear of being raped?

    Why, when a women is raped, is it considered her fault (people make excuses such as “maybe she was drunk” or “she was wearing a short skirt”)?

    Why are only 3% of Fortune 500 CEO’s women?

    Why are women’s reproductive rights (abortion) compromised during health care reform?

    Why do college admissions favor men?

    Why is there this huge double standard between sluts (girls)/players(boys)?

    THESE ARE THE ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS THAT SHOW MALE PRIVILEGE.

  • Minnah @ at 7:49 am, September 14th, 2010

    Ryan,

    Your comments make me glad to be a feminist, because your self-assured views are the very thing that motivate me to speak about what is right, and what is fair.

    Please stop commenting, you are only emphasising your ignorance.

  • Anna @ at 3:09 pm, September 15th, 2010

    @ ryan
    Read this WHOLE list:

    http://www.amptoons.com/blog/the-male-privilege-checklist/

    It was made for you.

  • Ryan @ at 5:24 pm, September 15th, 2010

    Anna I will not read your link because your moderator denied my reply to Tessa’s questions.

    I spent about 30 minutes writting a reply and linking to sources. So you may all speak your views in an echo chamber. Because you refuse listen to others, you inspire others not to listen to you. You deliberatly silence others and alienate those who are not feminists.

    Ask yourselves why you silence those who disagree.

  • Tessa @ at 8:46 pm, September 15th, 2010

    Why were Ryan’s answers not allowed by the moderator? I would have loved to see some good answers to the questions I asked.

  • blakerivers @ at 5:41 am, September 16th, 2010

    @Manuela: Yes, as Ryan points out, you may want to restate your question. A priori, a male is far more likely to be murdered than a female. So, in a way, you could say that your safety is in much more danger if you are a man. You might want to think about that before you plead victimhood.

    RE: ryan’s censorship of ryan’s comments-

    I hope it was by mistake. I for one was enjoying the debate.

    @Tessa: you ought to do some research and answer your own question of why affirmative action favors men in some colleges. The result is not what you (apparently) would expect.

    When it comes to women in the work place, that is a complicated matter. Most certainly male privilege and “the patriarchy” are mostly responsible in ultimum. But it is no simple matter, and proximately women are largely responsible for the wage gap. You might want to research that as well, since it’s an interesting problem.

    @Liza: Gender privileging is quite involved, multi-faceted, and well indoctrinated. If you actually believe your list of privileges to be comprehensive, then…I don’t know what to say to you. I could not list on 10 sheets of paper all of the female privileging I’ve seen, let alone all of the male privilege.

    In the words of “M” (the above commenter) “sexism hurts both women and men.” You all might do well to remember that before you go off about who’s to blame and who has more privilege.

  • Ryan @ at 11:40 am, September 16th, 2010

    Hey Tessa, I will rewrite my post for you. After work tonight I will make time.

  • Ryan @ at 5:15 pm, September 17th, 2010

    Hey Tessa my post was denied again but I’ll post it without supporting links but with enough info for you to find the source.

    The speech censorship on Fbomb is stifling.

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