(669) 221-6251 – bell hooks feminist awesomeness

three days ago, a security guard at whole foods waited for me in the parking lot after i ignored his attention in the store. he asked if i was married. i felt annoyed, as i usually do. ‘no,’ i said, ‘just not interested.’

in reflection i sought compassion in my heart – it must be so hard to get rejected all the time. asking if someone is married (taken/’you gotta man?’/owned/etc) is leading with the rejection you can handle.

if i am married, it implies that there is a possibility there in spite of the fact that i have given you no indication of mutual connection and blatantly ignored you. but alas, because i belong to someone else, we cannot act upon that possibility springing solely from your loins. eh…i kind of get it, as much as i can from the other side of whatever that line is.

but i want the people of the world who believe in this particular brand of sexual pursuit to try to get this: i am not property.

i am not property.
i am not property.

even though i am feeling healthy and great in my clothes, standing up straighter and kind of glowing from love and summer, and a man thinks from a distance that he wants me.

i am not property.

i am not even flattered.

**

two days ago i was talking with my neighbor and as i turned to walk from my house to my car a man was standing too close to me. he said he hadn’t wanted to interrupt but could he get to know me, he thinks i would like him.

i stepped far away, off the sidewalk, and said ‘not interested.’

he followed along beside me, asking for more information, asking for a number, while i ignored him. i am near my home now, as opposed to the neutral ground of a store parking lot. this makes me angry.

this sort of behavior has often driven me back to ice cream. constant navigating of unwanted attention triggers the danger i felt – and trauma i experienced – as a ‘pretty’ girl, which i have largely avoided as a big woman (though i won’t lie or play demure…a sexually empowered, happy-style wearing, confident big woman still gets a lot of attention).

i wish i had had this number on hand: (669) 221-6251. call it – it reads a feminist quote from bell hooks and then hangs up.

it’s so wonderful!

because generally i want to approach other humans as humans, and lonely humans as lonely humans. and men, particularly black men, i approach as my brothers, my family.

but there need to be tools for humans who treat me like property and/or make me feel unsafe. and i need it to not be my responsibility to risk my safety for the teachable moment. i need something in between a self-defense chop, screaming, and submissive kindness or avoidance.

i need this number. 🙂

(669) 221-6251.
(669) 221-6251.
(669) 221-6251.

The Scholar + The Feminist + Me, oh my…

A long time ago I started hearing about a project called Polyphonic Feminisms, and thought about submitting for it in an anthology. The anthology may still be forthcoming, but in the meantime the editors were invited to guest edit an issue of The Scholar + The Feminist and my piece, as well as a conversation I got to be a part of with other women Detroit organizers, is posted there. Please go check it out – lots of deep content 🙂


Does A Movement Need A Name

videos by Adele Nieves
Conversations between four women organizers in Detroit – Adrienne Maree Brown, Shea Howell, Jenny Lee, and Grace Lee Boggs

Transforming Ruckus: Actions Speak Louder
essay/memoir by Adrienne Maree Brown, on the transition of the last five years of The Ruckus Society