Well it’s been a weird couple of months right – and a few where I couldn’t really find the motivation – or words – at times to write about fashion or travel or recipes when it feels like so many more important things are happening.
I’m sorry for my absence, but I’m not sorry for taking some time to myself. To recharge and become more inspired.
I really don’t want to talk politics on the blog because truly that’s not what this is for. I want to be a positive part of your day and the motivator you need to know you are awesome and you’ve got this. But I know my readers are all educated, empathetic women who can handle this conversation, especially when it affects us all: women’s rights.
I’m not here to inundate you with facts, I think we’ve all read them enough by now to know we don’t earn as much, we’re constantly sexualized, we’re considered less because of our gender. I am here to tell you it’s up to all of us to shut that shit down.
When I was young I never really understood what feminism was; I guess I kind of thought we were all automatically feminists. It really wasn’t until I started working that I was smart enough to realize I and other women were being treated horribly for no reason. To be clear, feminism is the belief that men and women are equal. Period.
I think the best way I’ve heard it explained is by Maisie Williams, “I feel like we should stop calling feminists “feminists” and just start calling people who aren’t feminist “sexist” — and then everyone else is just a human. You are either a normal person or a sexist.”
I never used to be someone who felt politically motivated or wanted to actively take a political stance in the fight for what I think is right. The past few months have really changed a lot. Politically, I’m pretty independent. I really want to hear both sides of an argument and understand the facts when I make decisions. But things are so deeply divided now, it’s hard for a lot of people to know where they stand.
A lot has happened for me personally over the past 6 months that makes it an easy decision for me to definitively and publicly say I will always stand up for women’s rights and the freedom to not be controlled by men elected by other men.
A few days after the election in November, I was in Napa getting ready to celebrate my best friend’s wedding earlier in the year. A couple of guy friends and I were at a bar just catching up and having a good time. I came back from the bathroom and before I could sit back down, a guy came up from behind me, reached around, and started touching my crotch.
You have this idea in your head that 1) this won’t happen to you or 2) if it does, you’ll punch someone in the face. In that moment I just froze. I was in shock. I couldn’t believe in a regular bar at 10pm I was sexually assaulted in front of 50 people. I was able to get it together and shoved the guy off, but my male friends barely even turned around before going back to their conversation. A group of guys standing off to the side asked me if I was OK and went back to their own drinks.
It was truly in that moment I realized women are very much alone out there even when we’re surrounded by people. 15 people saw the guy do this and no one stepped in, no one stopped him. I can’t imagine what would have happened if we’d been near the bathrooms where no one else was or if I’d have stepped outside.
It shouldn’t really surprise me when just days before half our country elected a man as president who admitted he himself had done that to women. 1 in every 5 women has been sexually assaulted at some point in their lives. This wasn’t my first brush with sexual assault and statistically speaking it won’t be my last.
If you think sexual assault hasn’t affected your life, you probably just aren’t aware that it has. My guess is a lot of women you know have been in a situation similar to mine or far worse and scarier, they just don’t talk about it.
We can’t let sexual assault be normalized in any way. Women shouldn’t be afraid to go out alone, we shouldn’t be afraid to go out with our friends.
I don’t look back on what happened and feel regret. I reacted naturally and I did what I had to in the moment to get myself out of it. But I do look back and feel really fucking angry that some man thought he just deserved to take what he wanted at my expense. If I could go back the only thing I’d change is that I’d punch him. Yeah, we should really be punching more sexual assaulters.
I wanted to share this story with you today, on International Women’s Day and the Day Without A Woman. I didn’t tell you this because I want your sympathy or pity. I want your voice, I want your stories, I want you to feel empowered to be as relentless in the pursuit of your rights as Apple is with your iOS updates.
If there were ever a time to speak up and stand up for what you believe in, that time is now. You may feel like I did; it’s hard to share something so personal and something that has affected you more than you’d let on. But the idea that by sharing my story I could change one person’s life or empower one woman to feel like she could stand up for her beliefs is the reason why it’s vital we all share our stories of sexism, racism, sexual violence, or just flat out bullshit like some guy telling you “you’ll be warmer in front of a stove.”
I hope you’ll join me today in the #DayWithoutAWoman by taking the day off or by wearing red to show your solidarity and don’t spend any money unless it’s a female owned and run business. This isn’t just for all women, the more men who stand for women’s rights, the better. This is a great day to call your representatives and let them know what you stand for and what you hope they will stand for in representing you. I encourage you to donate to an organization or cause that you are passionate about. Today I’m donating to Planned Parenthood and the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence.
I hope you feel empowered today and take this feeling with you every other day. Women’s rights are human rights.
xo – Tracy