This photo hangs in a coffee shop near where I work. The quality of the image is lacking – the lights and the glare were really hard to work with – but you can still get the general gist of what’s going on. There’s one woman in the photo and thirteen men. Of the thirteen men, twelve are staring directly at her. Most of the men just appear to be appraising her from a distance, but one is grabbing his crotch as she walks by, another seems to be catcalling from his Vespa, and a third looks as if he’s hoping to block her way.
Look closely at the expression on her face.
I love/hate this photo. I love that it captures a real moment – it’s raw. I hate that I can look at her face and feel her humiliation, discomfort and indignation. I’ve been that woman, wishing I’d taken the long way around. I’ve witnessed other women experiencing the same thing.
As a Seattleite who is not so young, I’ve been able to forget (or maybe accidentally ignore?) these types of interactions lately. But this photo reminds me that while this photo should reflect an archaic way of thinking that the world currently rejects, that’s not actually reality. And then the world blows up with Trump’s “grab them by the pussy” recording, further proving that we are closer to this mentality than it often seems.
This is the most terrifying and embarrassing election I’ve ever experienced, but I’m stubbornly maintaining hope that something good can come from it. When Trump loses (to a woman), it will be a clear message to him, and those who share his mentality towards women, that there is no longer room for sexism.