Good Woman, Bad Woman.
Street harassment. I watched a few of the street harassment videos that have recently circulated the internet, including the one of Shoshana Roberts, a woman who gets catcalled during the entire 10 hours she walks through New York City. While there were a few instances where I would’ve felt uncomfortable or even feared for my life, I have to say that I personally had no problem with 70% of what I saw. I’ve experienced catcalling first hand although it does not happen nearly as often as it does in the video. For the most part, I take each comment as a compliment.
Maybe I’ve just been lucky, but with the exception of 2 or 3 men who were blatantly rude and disrespectful, most of them have said something along the lines of “Damn, you fine” or “Mahal kita”, then let me walk my merry little way. And as long as they’re not jerks, I will either smile in acknowledgment or seem too preoccupied to have heard them to begin with if I feel like they’ll want to start a conversation with me. I just believe that men and women alike should be polite, and I find nothing impolite about a man telling a woman she’s beautiful.
Racism. Merriam-Webster defines the word exotic as being 1) introduced from another country : not native to the place where found and 2) strikingly, excitingly, or mysteriously different or unusual. Because the origin of the term refers to plants and animals, many women of color take offense to being called exotic. I am not one of those women. When I think of the word exotic, I think of women and then flowers, ones that consist of rare beauty. I think of Adriana Lima and Birds of Paradise. Maybe I’ve just been lucky to have not experience blatant racism. Dominicans in NY mistaking me for being Vietnamese is the closest to “racism” I’ve been lucky to have experienced, and I didn’t even take offense to that. And I don’t take offense when people ask me what kind of Asian I am, because I may very well want to know what kind of “White” they are.
Physical Abuse. I remember being in middle school and walking towards the bus stop at Serramonte mall. A teenage girl and boy were having a verbal disagreement when all of a sudden the boy decked her and she flew at least three feet away. It was extremely painful to see. I was appalled. He wasn’t that much bigger than her, yet still overpowered her.
I believe that unless a man’s life is in danger, he should NEVER hit a woman. If a man cannot physically take himself out of the situation, he has the right to defend himself to a certain point (i.e. Aggressively push her out the way, so that he can get past her). I also believe domestic violence can go both ways and should not be taken lightly. If a man is being obviously provoked by a woman and he gives in by physically assaulting her, I won’t think she deserves it as I seldom condone violence to begin with regardless. But I won’t feel bad for her either. I repeat, with the rarest of exceptions, a man should never hit a woman. However, some women take advantage of this notion and purposely test them, when the reality is, not all men abide by this unwritten rule. As a rule of thumb, do not hit anyone unless you’re prepared to get hit back.
So am I accepting unacceptable behavior that I shouldn’t? Furthermore, am I making it unacceptable behavior acceptable by accepting it? Am I stunting the forward movement of women everywhere? Am I the anti-feminist? Am I for lack of better words – a weak minded female? I’d like to think not. Perhaps I tolerate more than others, or maybe I just pick and choose my battles differently wisely. But in general, I believe that if you dish it you should be able to take it. And being a good person is more important than being a good man or woman.