I had a dream that my car had run out of oil and I was left stranded on some highway with the engine fuming. I remembered my dream when I started to smell a burning on Interstate 55. I freaked out and jumped lanes getting off at the next exit and heading to the nearest gas station.
I walked into the gas station stylin’. I had started to feel sick this morning and spent the majority of my day in bed reading and drinking tea. I was wearing my 17 year old cousin’s red hoodie, black pajama pants and purple slippers. I hadn’t even bothered to put on real shoes. I picked out some motor oil and waited in line. The gentleman in front of me started a conversation with me as he gave the numbers he wanted to play to the attendant. I asked him what he was planning on doing if he won. He replied he would come and find me and take me out some place nice. I laughed gesturing at my slippers. He then told me not to worry about what I was wearing, that he’d get me out of my clothes first. It was then that I responded, still laughing at this dude’s nerve to say something like that to me, that this conversation was over. I paid for my oil and went back to my car.
One of my close guy friends accused me of being too flirtatious and then getting angry when someone crossed the line even though I had provoked that sort of response (please read here for more background). He said it as though I had somehow “asked” to be treated with less respect than I thought I deserved. I disagreed with him and even felt angry that he would think that.
My experience earlier this evening isn’t so unique or even interesting other than I had an epiphany while pouring oil into my engine. Human beings learn from each other. We learn from interacting with different people from different walks of life and engaging them in conversations or discussions. While this man started a conversation with me, I wanted to participate. People play the lotto all the time – but why (aside from the obvious reasons)? I wanted to engage this man, curious of what his dreams were. I wanted to participate in dialogue with the community around me.
If a man had asked the same question to this guy maybe they would have realized that they both want to buy the Chicago White Sox team or that they both want to invest in lobster boats or maybe this guy would have told him that he has always wanted to live in the north of Spain or something. Maybe there would have been dialogue, maybe there would have been a connection – not as a race, not as a sex, but just as humans.
Feminism isn’t about praising women as these creatures wiser and nobler than the other half of the world. It is not about superiority or control. It’s about being seen as a human being and not as a gender or sex. It’s about equality and egalitarianism. It’s about freedom: the freedom to engage new people in conversations, the freedom to learn about the world around you and the freedom to participate actively in it.
I’m not angry about what men say to me; I’m angry because I can’t participate as fully as I’d like to in society because of the limitations that my sex carries.