You are not alone

It’s hard to be light and funny when your entire Facebook feed is congested with posts stating, unapologetically, “Me too.” Some posts just two words, and others…others full tales of Harassment. Abuse. Rape.

Girl hiding behind tress

For those of you who haven’t seen it, women have been sharing stories on social media in solidarity with one another to show just how many women have been sexually harassed or raped. Spoiler alert: It’s a lot. We’re far from alone in these experiences. Which breaks my heart.

This is rape culture.

When girls and women know that what is happening is wrong, but it’s easier and sometimes safer to just brush it off or act as if it never happened. When we have to bring a guy friend with us to parties to make sure we’re safe. When we travel in groups to avoid confrontation. When we have to lie and say we have boyfriends to get men to leave us alone. And when that doesn’t even always work. When we break up with someone in a text or ghost them because we’re afraid of what they’ll try to do. When we let someone say inappropriate things to us and feel the need to smile and giggle even though we feel dirty and exposed.

It’s the little boys who chased me and looked up my skirt when I was just a child.

It’s the teen boy who directed a video camera into my bedroom window.

It’s the teen boy who exposed himself out his bedroom window.

It’s the guy at the teen dance club who kept coming up behind me, rubbing his junk against my backside, no matter how many times I moved out of his way.

It’s the bartender that always looked me up and down, appraising my curves and licking his lips as he told me how much he wanted my 18-year-old self.

It’s the man who blocked my car in a parking lot to ask me out and didn’t move until I made up a boyfriend who wouldn’t like it.

It’s the stranger who relentlessly offered to father my children because he liked my blue eyes.

It’s the man who, on the first date, asked if I had hangups about sex when I responded to his continuous begging and pleading with a broken record “no.”

It’s the man at the karaoke bar who belittled me when I told him I didn’t want to date him. Seven times.

It’s the man who flipped out on me in a restaurant parking lot when I wouldn’t go home with him after a first date.

It’s the man I was dating who took pictures of me while I was asleep, naked.

It’s the man who told me I owed him when he couldn’t finish because of his own drug addiction.

It’s the man I told no, who did it anyway.

I don’t tell you this to feel sorry for me. I tell you this so you can see how often women are put in situations that can damage or break them. How prevalent these situations have become. I know that I’m not the only one with a list, and these situations are not unique to me. But the more we see them, the more we can do to stop them.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

OMG what is she wearing? She’s just asking for it.

When I was 17, I was privately and publicly shamed by an administrator in my school. A woman I respected and admired told me that I couldn’t dress like the other girls. Because I had a more voluptuous body, a body I was already ashamed of because it was bigger than most teen girls, a body that I’d kill to have back, but one that I didn’t understand apparently held power against horny teenage boys. (I’ll tell you a secret, though: it didn’t. My body was not what teenage boys were looking for. It was something adult men found attractive, though. And I suppose THAT’S why I was told that my outfit was unacceptable.)

Rape culture and dress codes

What was I wearing you ask?

In the peak of the new Millennium, I could have been wearing a tiny crop top and tight flared jeans. Short shorts and a skimpy tank. A two-piece prom dress that left nothing to the imagination.

But I was stylish in my short overalls with thick straps and a fully covered abdomen. The problem was in the strapless tube top that covered my breasts and stomach. It gasp showed my shoulders. But not any more than one of the very popular camisoles of the time. Not any more revealing than anything any of my cheerleading peers, who were much thinner than me, were wearing on that warm May afternoon.

And I was called out. By a female administrator whose name I still remember with crystal clarity. Who tried to mark me as her equal in womanhood.

“Women like us have to be conscientious of how we dress. We can’t wear the same clothes as the other girls.”

She was nothing like me. Tall, thin, in her mid to late 40’s. She didn’t understand me. She didn’t know me. And she certainly wasn’t like me.

But she did have the power to make me wear an old hoodie from the bottom of my locker over my overalls the rest of the day. The rest of that hot, spring day in an un-air-conditioned high school.

And I did. Because I was terrified of getting in trouble (save all those tardy detentions). Because I believed in authority. Because, at 17, I was already ashamed enough of my body.

This is what rape culture looks like. Rape culture shames a woman or a young girl into thinking she can’t dress a certain way, because boys and men can’t control themselves.

Rape culture lets men like Brock Turner out of jail after 3 short months, even though he ruined a woman’s life. He violated her body, and because of his “bright” future, he got off easy.

Brock Turner is out of jail. Do you remember him? You should. And you should probably stay away from him. Because he can’t control himself around women. And instead of the government keeping him away from and protecting us, we must do our best to stay away from him. We’re told to dress less provocatively and not to drink alcohol, instead of men like Brock being told not to fucking rape.

Well, I’m sick of this bullshit. For 16 years, I’ve held that memory of the school administrator telling me that “women like us need to be careful what we wear” for far too long. And school dress codes that favor boys, limit girls and promote rape culture need to disappear.

Let’s teach the right way to behave and stop worrying how people dress.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

5 Things to Avoid When You’re PMSing

The other day, I was bawling like a toddler at the top of my lungs after watching a commercial. A commercial. I thought to myself, Why am I crying like a lunatic? What is wrong with me?

As the second question looped in my head, I knew what was wrong. My period was coming. I don’t care what anyone says, Aunt Flo is a real twisted sister. She barges into your life, disrupting your emotional health, your physical well-being and the poor suckers that have to put up with your shit every month.

When you're PMSing, you want to steer clear of anything that might send you on attack. Avoid these 5 things, and you'll be golden.

In order to make everyone’s lives a little less painful (and give my family fewer reasons to murder me in my sleep), there are a few things I’m going to avoid when I’m PMSing until I can get my emotions in check.

1. Watching television or going to the movies. No TV shows. No commercials. No movies. No movie previews. No YouTube. Not even a funny cat video. Because that cat is going to be wearing a dress that reminds me of that time my grandma … oh crap. I’m going to start crying again.

2. Having any kind of conversation with my mother. I love her dearly, but when I’m about to start riding the cotton pony, everything is fighting words. Her disdain for country music sets me ablaze, even though I don’t particularly care for the genre. Her opinions of my wardrobe, makeup, and hairstyle are unwanted, especially when Aunt Flo is whispering in my ear, “Sic ’em!”

3. Asking for someone’s opinion. I know that I’m right, dammit. There is nothing anyone can do or say to change my mind, whether I’m asking about dressing for the weather, dinner options or what to watch on TV. Next month, I’m going to take charge and do what I want. All. Week. Long.

4. Consuming alcohol. Hear me out before you get your underoos in a knot. I love Margarita Mondays, Tipsy Tuesdays, Wine Wednesdays, Thirsty Thursdays, etc. I’m all about the boozy fun, but during Shark Week, alcohol’s enjoyable traits (Dancing, Laughing, Singing) are replaced by their friends (Crying, Sleeping, Whining). Besides, I’d probably end up lying in bed, caressing a hot water bottle in the fetal position until the cramps subside.

5. Leaving the house. You know what? Might as well just give up before I start. When I feel as bloated as if I’ve eaten 15 hot dogs and three cupcakes and drunk a gallon of Coke, I know I don’t look too hot. I sure as hell don’t feel gorgeous. Why not spare everyone the trouble of telling me I look fine all four times I change my outfit before we go out? I’ll happily stay home with those hot dogs and cupcakes.

I guess that doesn’t leave a whole lot for me to do when I’m PMSing. I could spend that time cleaning, reading a laugh-out-loud book, or writing. But that sounds like too much productivity when I’m miserable. I suppose I’ll just have to use that time wisely … and spend it shopping with my tablet in bed.

What do you try to avoid when you’re PMSing or, for dudes, when your lady is PMSing?

©2015 Christine Wojdyla, as first published on Scary Mommy

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Felt Up By a Minion and the Objectification of Male Models

The BlogHer15 Closing Party was something of a shit show.  By that, I mean,  I was hungover from the night before and felt like shit, and there was quite a show.

image

Sure, BoyzIIMen stopped by for a 3-song set. When song three played and it wasn’t Motown Philly, I was ready to start throwing things. But they appeased me by rolling right into a fourth number, Motown Philly for the win,  without me needing to throw things or beg for an encore.

 

A video posted by Quirky Chrissy (@quirkychrissy) on

 

 

And yes, Nick Cannon (and I’m still not entirely sure who he is) tore up the house with mostly decent tunes. I didn’t dance all that much (but I was out on account of back pain).

And then there were the minions. They showed up to party with the bloggers, and boy did they get fresh!

image

But the real stars of the McDonald’s show at Pier 84 in New York were the dozens of male models Mickey D’s hired to serve us chicken nuggets and cheeseburgers.

image

About 30 minutes into the party I started noticing that every single server was a dude. And almost all of them were totally attractive dudes. Sure they were young, and made my “29” years seem older…but they were pretty.

image

I mentioned this to some of my friends…and they all looked at me like I was nuts.

Wait, Chrissy, you mean you DIDN’T notice this right away like everyone else?

Well, no, guys. I didn’t.  Upon entering this party, I was on a singular mission,  and that mission was chicken nuggets. I was thinking with my hangover. By 9 pm, the hangover had lifted like the morning fog, and this party took on a whole new world.

A world that involved a lot of ridiculous photography of male models in McDonald’s tee shirts that read I’m  Lovin’ it.

image

Me too, McDonald’s.  Me too.

image

When I realized what McD’s had done, I was almost afraid to say anything for fear of this being something other than politically correct. And then I didn’t care. Because nothing goes better with chicken nuggets than hot dudes.

They served us food and drinks, removed our trash, and brightened our evening for the one of the best closing parties this girl’s ever been to. I hung out with old friends and new, and reveled in the party at the pier.

The dudes were like the happy meal toys, and I wanted to collect them all. So before the party ended, I raced around the event searching for the servers. It was indeed a happy meal.

And so it was that McDonald’s made nuggets and cheeseburgers sexy by serving them with a side of hunk.

The Men of McDonald's at the BlogHer15 Closing Party really knew how to show us girls a good time.

And not one woman there was complaining about it.

 

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!