Here is my contribution to the #YesAllWomen hashtag. A little late to the party, as usual, but honestly, I didn’t even remember it till last night.
First I must set up the story for it to make sense. Since elementary school, if not before, my peers let me know that I was not an acceptable female. Too fat, too flat-chested, not pretty, etc etc etc. I’d never have a boyfriend, no man would ever love me, and so on. The girls told me to my face. The boys, meanwhile, barked at me. It meant the same thing.
In high school, of course, none of the guys asked me out. In fact, guys pretty much ignored me unless they needed a sheet of paper or wanted to cheat off my test. (No, I didn’t let them. Maybe if they’d been nicer to me… but that’s another story.) I thought it was just kids being immature, but even as an adult, it continued. I was in a record store once (yep, I’m that old) when three other shoppers, two guys and a girl, walked behind me and barked. I did nothing to them. Didn’t speak to them, didn’t even look at them, but they had the right, because they were prettier than me, to point out what a dog I was.
A few years later I was at a strip mall, walking from one store to the next. Two guys stood on the sidewalk, looking out at the parking lot. I didn’t know who they were, hadn’t seen them in the stores. I did not speak to them or even look at them, but as I passed by behind them, they started barking. My years of training allowed me to ignore them impassively. It was really no more than I expected. I was still fat, still flat-chested, still about as unattractive as a female could get. I hadn’t changed. Why would other people?
So now we come to the actual #YesAllWomen story. In my 20s I lost some weight, which may have contributed to this event. Since I don’t know exactly what his point was, I can’t really say. Again, I was shopping, this time in a dollar store. There were two guys a couple rows over. I noticed them looking at me. Not again. I did nothing to them. Why must they all bark at me? I continued shopping and stayed as far away from them as I could. Maybe if I ignored them, they’d leave me alone.
Then one of the guys came down the row by himself. He quickly walked up behind me, grabbed my hips, and ground his pelvis against my butt. Then he and his buddy left the store. Like I said, I don’t know what he meant by that gesture, but I took it as sexual. I was ecstatic. I don’t expect most people – maybe no one at all – would understand how excited I was that someone had shown a sexual interest in me. Finally I had succeeded as a female. Someone found me not-repulsive enough to at least touch me. It was like finally being asked to the prom (which I never was).
I suppose it counts as sexual harassment, since some unknown male came up and touched me without my consent. But I’m still trying to convince myself it was a bad thing. Us ugly girls have to take what we can get if we are to justify our existence as females. Otherwise, we’re nothing but sexless dogs and really have no right cluttering up the planet with our ugly selves. Only pretty people have the right to exist. The rest of us must bow down and take what leavings they give us, and be grateful that we finally get to be counted among the #YesAllWomen alumnae.