My new essay explores how Beyonce’s feminist stance in pop culture helped frame my own feminist awakening:
"I am in my 30s and was emboldened by Beyonce’s feminist stance on that stage, and can’t help but believe that that image will be equally as powerful to young people who witness that moment, whose first engagement with feminism will be that moment. Maybe, just maybe, Beyonce will serve as the bridgebetween pop culture and feminists like bell and Barbara and Audre, maybe some young woman bobbing her head to ‘Blow’ or ‘Partition’ or ‘Flawless’ will do so while reading Ain’t I A Woman? or Homegirls or Sister Outsider.”
—FROM my new essay: My Feminist Awakening & the Influence of Beyonce’s Pop Culture Declaration
Janet Mock on Beyoncé’s feminism.
We can be sexual, sexy and flawless while advocating and fighting and educating and uplifting and critiquing and challenging and giving and everything.
I joined Alicia Menendez to discuss Beyonce, feminism, her sexuality and body and image in time for the launch of her “On the Run” tour.
And what’s the only thing, I think, Beyonce shouldn’t do on her new concert? (hint: It involved “Drunk In Love”)
I returned home today shaking. I was angry, frustrated, disappointed, relieved, frightened, hopeless and hopeful. I had just had lunch with my best friend Wendi. We ate at Whole Foods on a rainy day in the Lower East Side of NYC.
I’m frankly, and I know this is bad, desensitized to the fact that men hoot and holler at me on the street. I’ve learned to block that out despite the irritation. I’ve learned to accept street harassment as a daily part of my life, as common as seeing a rat in Tompkins Square Park.
On my walk home from lunch, I encountered a man who would not take no for an answer when it came to making my acquaintance. His sense of entitlement over this public space and my personal space astounded me.
Though I returned home unharmed and can gratefully say that he did not touch me, I was shaken up and took to Twitter to express my feelings and share my experience of #streetharassment, which has sadly become so normalized in our society.
Here’s my story:
Leaving lunch from Whole Foods, a man passes me on the sidewalk & extends his hand for me to shake. #streetharassment— Janet Mock (@janetmock) August 1, 2012
When I did not shake this stranger’s hand, he says, “Don’t act like that.”He then changes directions & walks beside me. #streetharassment— Janet Mock (@janetmock) August 1, 2012
He keeps his hand extended: “Come on!” I tell him to pls let me walk in peace. He begins singing “The Girl From Ipanema” #streetharassment— Janet Mock (@janetmock) August 1, 2012
A woman behind me says, “She doesn’t want to talk to you.” He says, “Well I won’t stop until she shakes my hand.” #streetharassment— Janet Mock (@janetmock) August 1, 2012
I say, “I’m sorry but I do not shake hands with strangers.” He counters, “I’m not a stranger anymore…” #streetharassment— Janet Mock (@janetmock) August 1, 2012
”..I’ve been walking with you for minutes now.” Me: “Against my will. Yes you have. Please leave me alone.” #streetharassment— Janet Mock (@janetmock) August 1, 2012
People pass. I wonder if they see it as a grand courting gesture, as if a woman should be used to this kind of attn. #streetharassment— Janet Mock (@janetmock) August 1, 2012
At a light on Allen&Houston, I turn to say “You’re making me really uncomfortable. Pls just let me be.” I feel vulnerable. #streetharassment— Janet Mock (@janetmock) August 1, 2012
"Stop being so stuck up," he yells at me, adding, "God bless you." He turns around and walks the other way. #streetharassment— Janet Mock (@janetmock) August 1, 2012
Never experienced #streetharassment to this level in my life. I was afraid he’d follow me home (even made plans to possibly go elsewhere).— Janet Mock (@janetmock) August 1, 2012
I want to feel safe, to walk home w/o some stranger injecting himself into my stroll. This should never be seen as normal. #streetharassment— Janet Mock (@janetmock) August 1, 2012
Lourdes Hunter delivers a powerful speech at SlutWalk 2011 that is giving me life months later:
"Yes, I am a transgender woman. But that doesn’t give you the right to solicit me for sex or assume I am a hooker. And let me tell you something: Don’t call me tranny. Don’t call me shemale. Don’t fucking call me a he-she."
"Yes, honey, I am college-educated, professionally employed and I pay my own damn bills. I define my own existence, and that is my choice."
"It’s time for all of us to take responsibility…We must equip ourselves and our young women with the tools of survival, like self-esteem, like love and like support."