Oh hai, it's been awhile. I'll get back in the swing of posting recipes, random crafts and squash dicks soon, but first there's something I need to bring up.
So if you follow @kittnen on Twitter, you may have seen this:
A US senator once told me that I would do well in life because I have nice eyes and nice hair. #YesAllWomen— Quincy (@kittnen) May 26, 2014
The #YesAllWomen movement is incredibly important in our culture right now as we try so desperately to stop ourselves from telling our daughters how to protect themselves, and rather teach our boys how to be respectful.
So many great articles and blog posts have already been written on the matter. I wanted to take a closer look at the experience that brought up that tweet.
When I was 15, I joined the Montana Conservation Corps for a 5 week program that was for teens. 5 weeks in 105 degree weather building trails on a hillside where if you told someone you would meet them at "The Tree," they knew where you were talking about because there was only one. 9 hour work days if we were close enough to town; otherwise we would hike back to the camp and have to cook dinner for ourselves rather than asking our mommies to do it for us. I actually gained weight during that time, but that was from all of the excessive muscle I was building from swinging a hoe/axe combo tool all day long. All of that for a $300 stipend. Not per week, for the entire 5 week program. $300. Total.
And guys? I freaking loved it. 11 years later I still count it as one of the most important things I ever did. I learned tons of really great skills during that time that carry with me to this day. I'm really damn proud of the work that I put into those trails.
So, where does the US Senator enter into this? Well, a few weeks after we were done, there was a dedication ceremony for a bridge in town that had been recently renovated. The adult MCC crew had done the renovation, but they were out of town for the opening ceremony, so they rounded up the kids to represent the organization. I was incredibly vain at 15 (aren't we all?) and since my crew members had only seen me with dirt stuck to my face by sweat and my hair pulled back, I decided to pretty up a bit. Back then I prefered the "raccoon eyes" style of eyeliner, and I flipped my chin length hair outwards into a cute style.
We got to the bridge and lined up to meet the dedication crew, (former) Senator Conrad Burns and his cronies. He moved down the line, shaking everyone's hands when they told him they name. When he got to me, I said, "Hi, I'm Quincy." He looked me up and down and said, "Wow, Quincy. Y'know, you have very pretty eyes. And pretty hair. You'll go far in life." Then he turned to his cronies and they all laughed because oh it's so hilarious to say that to someone. To a 15-year-old girl. Who was really freaking buff and could have easily kicked his ass.
Tell her that her worth was not placed in the hard work and dedication to her beautiful home state that she just sacrificed 5 weeks of her summer vacation for. Tell her all of those wonderful skills that she just learned wouldn't get her anywhere if she'd been an average looking girl, but only because she looks nice today means she'll do well later on. That's what the person who was elected to represent me thought.
This is why we need feminism. This is why we need hashtag activism like #YesAllWomen, so that our voices can be heard, and rising above the cacophony of "You'll never be enough unless you look how we want you to look," you will hear us screaming, "NO. WE ARE ENOUGH."
I am incredibly lucky that my story does not involve violence. Many of the tweets I saw today say things like, "I was too afraid to say no." My heart goes out to these women who have dealt with such horrific experiences. My story pales in comparison. But that's the thing, it shouldn't. Random insensitive remarks should be the worst that we have to deal with. Instead, 1 in 3 women will be attacked in their lives. This has got to stop. And it starts with us speaking out about it. Speak out, dear sisters. Let's end this.