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“Introducing” is an ongoing series in which we ask bloggers, activists, allies, entrepreneurs and assorted Bostonians about their inspirations, motivations, super powers and experiences with street harassment. If you know someone you think we should feature here, please drop us a line!
Tell us about yourself – what are you into? I am the blogger behind The Boston Fashionista, a Trustee of the Brookline Public Library and the Administrative Lead for the Department of Developmental Biology at a local university. In my free time, I love to read (Science Fiction), play with my cats (Truman, Clinton and Winston) and hang out with my husband.
Define your style: I think of my look as “Next Generation Brahmin.” I like classic tailoring and shapes in modern fabrics and colors.
Favorite Boston fact: Boston is home to America’s first public park, and the oldest public school – this city has always done its best to be in tune with the needs of its citizens!
Your favorite place in Boston? I love the Old State House, where the Declaration of Independence was first read aloud to the people in Boston. It’s amazing to stand in a place of such history, overlooking the site of The Boston Massacre, and see all the modern buildings and architecture that surround it. Also, this may sound silly, but I adore the view of from the Red Line as it heads over the Salt & Pepper bridge.
Have you experienced/witnessed street harassment in Boston? What stood out most in your memory? To me, the most upsetting thing is the frequency we experience street harassment, and the fact that everyone is vulnerable. Age, gender, race, clothing, location, whether you are alone or with someone…none of these factors is a detriment for street harassers (nor should they be reasons to be harassed). Recently, I was walking through the Longwood hospital area (a “safe” neighborhood), at 2:00pm (a “safe” time) holding hands with my husband (a “safe” person) and wearing a fairly conservative dress (a “safe” outfit). It didn’t stop someone from commenting on “my nice titties”.
I think the harassment that bothers me the most, however, is when someone calls out: “It’s a beautiful day, why don’t you smile!” or, “You look so lovely, can you give me a smile?” It is not my responsibility to walk around looking pleasant or friendly for others’ viewing pleasure. I don’t owe it to random passerby to fit their vision of perky, polite femininity.
Here’s the thing that some people just don’t understand: Street harassment is not complimentary. It’s accosting a stranger to assert some misconceived notion of masculinity. It’s about power, not being polite.
What’s your signature response to street harassment – your go-to Hollaback? God, I wish I could find a response that worked. I’ve tried everything, from snarky, sarcastic responses, to snarling “Back OFF!” I find any response besides patently ignoring the harassment results in my being called a “bitch” or “not having a sense of humor.” I’d love to hear people’s best retorts/responses! Leave them in the comments, or tweet me!
Your superpower is… I am excellent at the the That Guy Game. You know, when you’re watching a movie, and you see an actor/actress, and you sort of know them, because they played that one guy, in that one show, that was on that one channel? I can tell you how you know them (and I am not really a movie or TV buff)!
What are you excited about in 2013? My friend is getting married in Paris! My husband and I are attending, and then headed to Marrakesh for a little extended vacation.
What inspires you? Being around intelligent people, who aren’t afraid to try new things.
If you could leave the world one piece of advice, what would it be? Don’t spend your time trying to force people to say yes. Spend your time trying to understand why they say no.
Thank you so much, Kristen!
image credit: The Boston Fashionista
Have you taken our three-minute survey on the state of Boston’s streets? Please do, and share it with your networks – the more we know, the better we can serve our city!
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