Most girls are relentlessly told that we will be treated how we demand to be treated. If we want respect, we must respect ourselves.
This does three things. Firstly, it gets men off the hook for being held accountable for how they treat women. And secondly, it makes women feel that the mistreatment and sometimes outright violence they face due to their gender is primarily their fault. And thirdly, it positions women to be unable to speak out against sexism because we are made to believe any sexism we experience would not have happened if we had done something differently.
I cannot demand a man to respect me. No more than I can demand that anybody do anything. I can ask men to be nice to me. But chances are if I even have to ask he does not care to be nice. I can express displeasure when I’m not being respected. But that doesn’t solve the issue that I was disrespected in the first place.
I can choose to not deal with a man once he proves to be disrespectful and/or sexist. But even that does not solve the initial problem of the fact that I had to experience being disrespected in the first place.
As a young girl, I wish that instead of being told that I needed to demand respect from men that I had been told that when I am not respected by men that it’s his fault and not mine. But that would require that we quit having numerous arbitrary standards for what it means to be a “respectable” woman. It would mean that I am not judged as deserving violence based on how I speak, what I wear, what I do, and who I am.”
04/2014 - Shinagawa,Tokyo,Japan
Silver Linings Playbook (2012, David O. Russell)
"Thank you. I love you. I knew it the minute I met you. I’m sorry it took so long for me to catch up. I just got stuck."
Vétheuil dans le brouillard, c. 1908
Sophie Turner photographed by Kristin Vicari
you are not fat
you have fat
you also have fingernails
you are not fingernail
Ireland by florescent
As a little girl, I loved getting ready for Indian weddings. It was one of the few occasions my mom would let me wear her red lipstick. Right before we would leave she would call me into her room and let me pick out a bindi to wear to go along with my colorful lengha. Back then I only understood bindis as pretty sparkly celebratory stickers that would eventually slide around my sweaty forehead on the dance floor.
As I grew up more and more people informed me I was not really American, I was Indian, and not just Indian, I was “dot-not-feather-Indian.” I was mocked for that dot. People would put stickers on their foreheads, chant fake prayers, roll their eyes back and bobble their heads. “Look, I am Indian too.” Their ignorant fallacy of Indians was boiled down into that dot and burned into my skin.
One halloween my Mom and older brother were sweet enough to take me trick-or-treating around the neighborhood. I wore fairy wings and my brother had a Scream mask on. I remember my brother being embarrassed my Mom was wearing traditional Indian clothes, but I didn’t understand. Why were we allowed to wear silly costumes, but my Mom was not allowed to wear her real clothes? It started to get dark out and my Mom was worried, but I begged to stay out a little longer. As we rounded a neatly trimmed cul-de-sac a group of white boys on bikes slowed down. They began shouting things at us. Then they started pelting eggs at us. My brother ran after them and they took off. Later, he explained that they had been yelling at us for being Indian. For simply being. My Mom was silent the entire walk home.
In college, my first American boyfriend told me that when his friends found out I was dot-Indian they asked if my pussy tasted like gross curry. It made my face burn red and my eyes well up as I finally came to the understanding that despite being born and raised in New York I would forever be considered a foreigner to these people. It didn’t matter if I wore clothes like them or spoke like them. I will always be a dot.
If I were the same little girl who was just excited to wear lipstick to weddings I wouldn’t care about you wearing a studded bindi to your EDM concert, but being called shitskin really changes things. I have been branded with this dot since I was born, along with every stereotype it holds. My dot is not a fad for you to wipe off when you are done with it. You cannot pick and choose with parts of my culture you will welcome into America with open arms for fashion’s sake while still barricading my family out.
There. You know, you wreck everything you touch.
shout out to shadows for making me NOT disappear against white walls.