Tonight at the Y

Tonight at the Y: I was headed to the women’s locker room after Yoga class in a safe, well-lighted space. I got about 10 feet from the hallway (wide and also well-lighted) when I noticed three muscular young men turning into the hallway. My immediate first response was to stop (although I’m sure it was barely noticeable to anyone who may have been watching me-just a hiccup, not a breaking of stride) and think quickly about whether or not it was “safe” to enter the hallway with three unknown men. The barely noticeable hiccup was because it’s a safe, well-lighted space with room to move.

This is what it’s like to be a woman.

The women’s locker room was pretty deserted and I had my pick of showers. As I was shampooing my hair with my eyes closed, I heard someone moving around a few feet away, and although I knew it was probably someone that was supposed to be there, I quickly washed the soap off of my face so that I could see and be able to defend myself.

This is what it’s like to be a woman.

It’s not like I walk around looking furtively into every dark corner; I don’t. I don’t worry incessantly about being attacked and distrust everyone I meet. But society has taught me that if something *does* happen to me, I’d better make damned sure that there’s no way I can possibly have been construed to be at fault for not being careful enough. It’s my job to make sure I’m not vulnerable in any situation. You can’t make that kind of demand of a human being and then expect them to not live this way.

This is what it’s like to be a woman.