Feminism vs. Flattery
Friday, May 22, 2009
I was driving home yesterday, after a long day. I had a full day of school, several errands, a few things to do at my after-school art program; I was racing home to make a dessert for dinner that night at a friend's house, for her husband's birthday.
"Hey there, how ya doin', sweetie?" I heard the guy at the corner, a Rasta complete with shades and beard and dreds, calling out to me.
And I thought about it as I drove. Part of me was annoyed - does he yell out to men? Only women? Are we back (or still at) sex object status? Why can't I just drive my car and not be hollered after?
And part of me - the aging, 54 yr old sweaty woman who spent 3 hours on the mural and cleaned buckets of concrete, the one with tired knees and aching back, feeling grubby and hot and ready for a shower - that woman unexpectedly thought, "I guess I still have 'it'!" "It" - that mysterious, enigmatic appeal that women have and want, that something that attracts men whether wittingly or unwittingly, that attitude and look that we don't really want to outgrow no matter how annoying the attention might be - I still have it.
So while I'm an ardent feminist, all for equal rights and all for being left alone and not harrassed by men on the street - at the same time, I'm a little flattered when some random Rasta dude (or any man in my general age group) gives me an appreciative glance, or says something tastefully flirty. Because as I've aged, and seen myself go from the cute young thing in the mirror to my mother in the mirror, it's nice to know that I still have IT.