By two things: First, teacher told me yesterday that we would start working on the next step in my path towards Sirsasana. How weird that I overslept and did not go to the shala today. Hmmmm. overslept because I got riled up about the video below before bed. Not the video but the blowback online from people who are outraged about her daring to feel uncomfortable and complain about the cat calls. Specially about the “coded” ones like God bless You which really means god bless your tits and that fine ass. Or Smile, which really means be grateful bitch that I am paying attention to your appearance.
This morning I post it on facebook and receive a comment from one of my young nieces who without an ounce of irony says that this happens to the woman on the video because she is not a savvy new yorker and stupidly walks without headphones and tunnel vision. She is seriously proud of having to use armor and attitude to earn the right to walk the streets with the same entitlement as if she owned her own penis.
Then I get a PM from a young nephew who feels wrongly accused and bunched up with the crowd of cat callers and compares them (the cat callers, that took me a minute to grasp) to the beggars who know that someone is going to drop a coin and these men just know some girl will eventually relent. WHAT. I had to disagree explaining that the manner displayed by these men is more like a demand, and yes some beggars are demanding and that is precisely why it is sort of scary. It was like don’t feed the pigeons which is a step away from you should really wear that burkha. This is a sweet 20 year old kid, and his cousin is a recent college grad excited about her city job, but this is what the culture has told them to internalize. My head is on fire.
I did mention to my nephew why I might be “oversensitve” to this issue. When I was 17 in Medellin, I liked to sometimes go downtown using public transportation to shop or to meet friends for a movie or teatime. Always during the day and during office hours in the part of of the city full of nice stores and office buildings. If you have traveled abroad you know that in certain countries what you hear hurled at you is pretty filthy and intended to embarrass and make you cower. I got it on two fronts; One, I was a girl of means who was driven places instead of walking to them and they had access to me that they otherwise did not have and two, they could make me feel responsible for “arousing” them and making me feel I was the innapropiate one. I made the mistake of talking back one day to a boy much younger than I was. He in turn grabbed my breasts, slapped my face and called his friends who came and touched me everywhere. Two older men defended me but not without reprimanding me first for walking by myself. My parents reprimanded me as well for refusing to use the driver. So yeah, It could be that I am oversensitive. Or like my nephew said: That it’s terrible that this happened to me but this is different. Yeah.