Tag Archives: street harassment

The Skinny Best

29 Dec

It has been an exciting year here at I’m Skinny, Now What? We’ve hit more than 100 posts, celebrated an anniversary and delved deeper into the weight-loss journey. As the year comes to a close, here are some of the 2014’s top posts based on number of hits.

What I learned:

Prince Fielder

prince_fielderThe Body Issue post may have done well because there was a naked man at the center of the post. I’d like to think it had something to do with the writing, though. Body shaming is a big issue to me. In short: I’m not here for it. No one should be made to feel less than because they’re not your idea of perfection. We are all flawed works in progress. Prince Fielder is an amazing athlete who can do incredible things on the baseball field. He doesn’t look like Derek Jeter or (insert your favorite hot baseball player here). He looks like a stocky man with muscular thighs that can swing a bat and knock a baseball out of the park. He’s awesome. It ends there.

Street Harassment

This post got a boost from advertising, but also from touching on an important issue to women: street harassment. Every woman has had to deal with unwanted advances from men. Every woman has their go-to deflection technique. And every woman has had to explain to men that this is a real problem, not just some stranger on the street saying hello. Some day we’ll get to the  point where women telling men this is a problem is enough and not just seeing a video to prove it.

Aerials

arial_4One of the first posts of the year had me seeing the world upside down. And it was ridiculous fun. I haven’t had a chance to do it again, but I’ve got to set aside some time. If you’re in New York, I suggest you make a date with Kiebpoli, because she has the patience of Job and is an excellent instructor. There are all levels of participants: from newbies like myself to people preparing for their first circus performance. Don’t be afraid of heights. You’re not going up that high when you start. But prepare for lots of upper-body strain. And a lot of fun.

BET Awards

nicki4To be honest, I do a lot of recapping in my professional life. I contribute to our entertainment site’s live blog of Oscar, Tony and Grammy coverage, so adding my two cents to the BET Awards was nothing new. It was different, however, to try to incorporate some Skinny Now elements. But that was just some added fun. My favorite moment of the night was Nicki Minaj’s shade/no shade moment with Iggy Azalea. In that moment, the queen conquered.

The End of Cuffing Season

Winter chills came a little early this year, pushing everyone’s cuffing-season plans into overdrive. With just a few days left until Christmas it’s safe to say that if you haven’t found your cuddle buddy for the next few months, it’s time to invest in a space heater and a large blanket. But if you’ve found that special someone to make the cold nights not so lonely, remember that you can’t spend all your time in bed. Some fun kitchen activities will help you refuel for what’s to come.

Honorable mention: The Ugly Truth

IMG_0737Even though this wasn’t posted in 2014, it gained some traction and actually got a few more hits than the cuffing season post. You guys really like my story about being dirty, funky and icky. Thanks peeps.

Next year, let’s keep this party going. Tell your friends about the site. If there’s something you’d like to see covered here, I’m welcome to suggestions. I’m Skinny, Now What? is about helping you along on your journey. We will continue to laugh, think and press forward as we strive to reach our goals. Thank you all for your support, and good luck in the new year.

Multi-Talented Multi-Tasker

3 Nov

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I’m a multi-talented multi-tasker. I am able to do several things at once. I can figure out my grocery list while in the middle of a 6-mile run. I can time manage my day while doing laps at the pool. As I’m typing this, I’m also editing a story for work, watching a football game and engaged in conversation about this past weekend’s activities.

I also enjoy spinning, reading, long walks on the beach and pancakes.

I’m a woman of various interests.

I’m saying all this because my recent post about street harassment, along with the national conversation the Hollaback video stirred up, has also brought forth the issue of distraction. Specifically, many of the video’s detractors seem to feel that women’s concerns with street harassment is distracting us from the real issues, like that of police harassment of black men.

Interesting, seeing as how not three months ago I wrote another post about how upset I was at the turmoil taking over my hometown of St. Louis with the death of Michael Brown. I was still upset when I took my dog to the vet the following weekend only to have a man say to me, “I’d kidnap that dog and hold him for ransom,” as a way of getting my attention. I was still upset about Michael Brown when a few weeks later a man in my neighborhood with whom I’d only exchanged simple hellos decided to let me know he followed me for several blocks while I was out walking my dog (a separate incident from the one I blogged about last week). I’m still upset about Michael Brown now, even though just this weekend as I was walking to the train station a stranger decided lean in to say, “Hey, ma, looking good” only inches from my ear.

Look at that. I can do two things at once. I can begrudge the actions of several men who refuse to respect my personal space and still fight hard for the men who are being hurt by those sworn to protect them.

It is terribly frustrating that the street harassment video has caused this kind of furor. There is a large crowd of women who are nodding their heads in solidarity with what is happening in that video. But there’s an equally large crowd of men telling women they don’t get the point.

I beg to differ.

I have been dealing with street harassment since I was 11 years old. And yet I’ve still been able to devote my attention to other pressing issues: 9/11, Iraq/Afghanistan, Syria, Russia/Ukraine, Boko Haram, Trayvon Martin/Michael Brown/Jordan Davis/Ranisha McBride.

If I am capable of having feelings about and devoting efforts to all of these issues PLUS expressing discomfort when I know a man’s hello isn’t just a hello, why can’t the detractors? Why can’t they see that racism is an important issue as well as sexism as well as terrorism as well as poverty as well as so many other things?

You don’t have to stretch yourself thin backing causes. But just acknowledging that there are many things for us to fight against helps matters so much. Showing a solidarity with people does more than you can imagine. And it’s possible to be in more than one fight at a time.

photo credit: (Carrie Sloan) via photopin cc

Running From Street Harassment

31 Oct

A couple of months ago, I was out walking my dog before my run. I was wearing what most runners wear: capris, a dri-fit T-shirt and running shoes. It was a nice day, so we took a longer walk than usual.

A young man crossed the street while Xander was doing his thing and said, “Hello.” “Hi,” I responded and kept it moving. When we got to the park, he showed up again and asked how my day was. I said fine, and moved along. A block later he caught up with me again and continued to try to carry on a conversation with me. I told him I wasn’t interested, but he kept walking with me. I used the usual tropes a woman uses when trying to get a persistent guy away from her: I have a boyfriend; I have to get going; I don’t have time; Take care. For almost five blocks, this guy followed me until I raised my voice and told him, “You’re just going to have to take no for an answer!” The rest of the way home, I was looking over my shoulder to make sure he didn’t follow me back to my apartment.

This was the second time I’d been followed by a man in less than two weeks. This type of harassment is something I’ve been dealing with since I was 11 years old.

I’ve mentioned several times on here how I’m an avid runner. What I haven’t mentioned are some of the comments, the leers, the striking sense of discomfort I get at times on these runs. I’ve had a guy cross over and nearly block my path to stare me down while I’m out. I’ve had men clap like I’m putting on a show when I’m just trying to get in some exercise. But I’ve often heard, “Damn!” “Look at that ass!” “Don’t lose too much now!”

These are just some examples from when I’m trying to maintain a certain level of health. I’d need another blog post to run down the instances when I’ve been objectified for just trying to get from Point A to Point B. Every morning on my five-minute walk from my building to the train station, I hear something from at least one guy. Every morning.

The woman featured in Hollaback’s catcall video was showing a slice of life that nearly every woman has to deal with on a regular basis. For detractors to belittle her experience by saying, “It doesn’t happen that often,” or “It was staged,” or (my personal favorite) “We can’t say ‘hi’ anymore,” is insulting, unnerving and misses the entire point.

There are women being verbally and physically assaulted for not giving some man the attention he feels he deserves. Some women are even being killed.

My walking down the street has nothing to do with anyone else’s desires. My desire to go about my day without having to appease some stranger’s need for attention outweighs any man’s need for a reciprocal hello. As one of my friend’s pointed out, some men need to learn to read social cues. Many men need to ask themselves a few questions before they speak:

  • Do you know this woman?
  • Did you two make eye contact?
  • Did she drop something and you need to get her attention to give it back?
  • Will both of you benefit from an interaction?
  • Are you going to say something to her that wouldn’t offend your mother, sister, aunt, cousin, etc.?
  • Does what you want to say absolutely, positively, without-a-doubt need to be said?

If you answered no to any of these questions, your best bet is to keep your thoughts to yourself.

This isn’t a new conversation. Women have been talking about this for years. Jessica Williams of “The Daily Show” did a segment on it earlier this month.

And still there are some men who refuse to recognize the annoyance that can lead to discomfort that does lead to fear for personal safety when dozens of strangers are trying to get your attention in one day. So, men, get over yourselves and recognize that my not talking to you has everything to do with my personal safety and nothing to do with your feelings.

I’m not going to ask if you’ve been street harassed. I’ll just ask what’s an instance that sticks out in your mind when you think of street harassment?