Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Spikes Not Tights

First of all, I want to keep Lara's post from earlier today front and center.  This kind of consciousness raising about "victim blaming" should go viral.  Maybe it sounds very retrograde, very second-wave feminist, but I don't care.  In some ways, things haven't gotten any better for us girls in tight places.  Just sayin'.

The other day on the subway, I spied a young woman wearing an old school biker jacket--which has made a resurgence with all things '80s--but hers was particularly vintage in its heft and the way it was so liberally spiked.   Studded like that, she reminded me of puffer fish--built to look intimidating.  You wouldn't want to tangle with her in a mosh pit in that jacket, or perhaps not even be thrown against that shoulder in case of an an abrupt train stop.  And what about that woman with her eReader?  She especially shouldn't get too close.  

And then I thought about how when I used to go out as a young woman alone into the night (and I went out alone a lot), I felt like I had to dress for battle:  combat boots, any boots with steel toes were what I always wore.  I thought of my boots as potential weapons.  They were what I built my outfit around.  Had I ever been attacked, I had this idea that I could use my shoes in my defense, which is funny now.  Right?  Because chances are, they would not have been enough.  And I remember thinking I had to dress like this, that I had no choice but to arm myself sartorially.  And I also remember thinking that girls who didn't weren't being conscious.  And now I wonder why I thought about this so much.  Lara's post makes this clear.  I'm also reminded of this film and Moore's thesis that the United States has embraced, in part, a "culture of fear."

But now I'm veering off topic.  If you do nothing else tonight go back to Lara's post and read this:  Sexual Assault Prevention Tips Guaranteed to Work

Enough said.  At least for tonight. 


  1. oohhh--that is so interesting! i'm flashing back to the time when i had first moved to ny when i was 20 and another young woman taught me to hold a key in between each knuckle for self-defense. i never "armed myself sartorially", as you so aptly put it, julie, but as a "greenie" in ny, and a young naive woman at that, i remember learning all these strategies to protect myself and avoid harrassment.

    great post!

  2. just read the article about short skirts in bklyn you posted. wow.