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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’m into snacks, R&B, science, cuties, feminism, crime movies, saying “hi” to dogs, and my family.
Define your style: Minidress and combat boots is my go-to look.
Favorite Boston fact: So this one’s a little gruesome, but: there’s a book bound with human skin at the Athenaeum.
Your favorite place in Boston? The Isabella Stewart Gardner museum and Georges Island are my two favorites, but really anywhere on the water makes me happy.
Have you experienced/witnessed street harassment in Boston? What stood out most in your memory? So much! It’s so frustratingly pervasive and everyday that it’s hard for me to even remember individual incidents, except when it’s particularly funny or outlandish. The one that makes me laugh most to think about is once when I was wearing some low-cut jeans, a guy yelled “I can see your undies! (long pause as I continue walking by silently) … They’re blue!” (Reader, they were.) That said, of course, usually it’s not very funny, just exhausting.
What’s your signature response to street harassment – your go-to Hollaback? Mostly I ignore it to save energy and avoid confrontations, though occasionally I give the middle finger or a withering glare. But my favorite is when I am able to think of something to say that gives the harrasser pause or connects with them in some way. Once a guy called me mean for ignoring his “hey beautiful, come over and talk to me for a second”, and I responded “If I stopped and talked with all the guys who hollered at me, I’d never get anything done!” He seemed amused and taken aback and said he had never thought of that before. I think that a lot of harrassers have never given too much thought to what they’re doing (not that that lets them off the hook, of course!!), so if I have the energy, sometimes I try and catch them off guard and encourage them to think about it a little more.
Your superpower is… Being irresistibly attractive to bugs of all kinds.
What are you excited about in 2013? I have a break from school coming up and I can’t wait to just read a book and drink a beer on my porch.
What inspires you? I’m unbelievably blessed to have a lot of impressive, brilliant and compassionate people in my life, with my family foremost among them. Their love makes me better.
If you could leave the world one piece of advice, what would it be? Do you! Nobody’s keeping score. Also, this is two, but it’s important: put some grapes in the freezer, they make a really good snack.
Lily, thank you!
image credit: Lily Benson
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