There's a fantasy we all have. You're walking down the street, you're Beyonce and everyone is staring at your perfect hair and face and you KNOW they're watching and it's AWESOME and there's a spotlight and perfectly timed wind and you're holding a Pepsi that is really cold but it doesn't make your hand cold in fact your hand is at the perfect temperature because you're Beyonce.
You all know what I'm talking about. Yeaaaaaah, you do.
Then there's that time when you're bringing a bunch of coins to a Coinstar in the local Stop&Shop and your hair is not really hair and your shoes are not really shoe-like and there are lots of people around so when you start putting coins in the coin slots it's THE LOUDEST SOUND THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED and, like in the Beyonce fantasy, everyone is staring at you. But not in a Beyonce way.
I've spent a lot of time in two major cities this summer. And because I'm not an amorphous parasite, a good amount of men have overtly looked at me when I've past them. (I say men because even if there were women looking, women are typically a lot subtler about checking other people out, whereas men will look like they're playing Twister so the world will know what they're doing)
So, this is my question: WHY DOESN'T IT MAKE ME FEEL LIKE THE AFOREMENTIONED BEYONCE FANTASY?
And WHY does it make me feel like Coin girl from Coin world?
Maybe this is not an actual problem. BUT MAYBE IT IS. Because when I was a pre pubescent little ball of braces and blue Gap training bras, I was made to believe that when that magical day came and a man looks at me when I walk down the street it will be SO AWESOME because that means WOMANHOOD. Right?
Well, no. This is clearly wrong. It's wrong that we make young girls believe that self worth will be correlated to how many heads turn and how many inappropriate comments are made when their bodies develop. (Ewww "bodies develop" was the WORST to type)
But it's also wrong that even when we reach the age of head-turning-ness, we're not even supposed to admit that maybe we're uncomfortable with it. Because, let's be honest. I bring up to people at a party how weird and uncomfortable I feel when men on city blocks make extremely obvious gestures and looks in my direction and the responses will be (and have been) something like "oh my god poor you you're too hot they could have raped you and that would have been better than my week."
So I'm gonna say something I'm never allowed to say, right here (A Starbucks, if you wanna send a photographer) and right now: I feel actual anger and discomfort when a cluster of men break their backs to stare at me. I don't feel flattery. I don't feel a rush of confidence. I do not start Beyonceing down the street. I feel weird.
And I'm not proposing that people (of all sexualities and gender identities) stop checking each other out. I'm proposing that we stop insinuating to girls and women that they should just suck it up and "appreciate" the looks and comments on the street, especially when they might feel really uncomfortable and insecure about them. I think it's okay not to feel like Beyonce.
But you should TOTALLY pressure yourself to feel like Beyonce in every other situation. Like when you're opening a perfectly chilled Pepsi. What's wrong with you? You're Beyonce. Own that shit.
(P.S. I'm pretty sure this summer has proven that I can never be famous. Like, the other day I was walking to class in NYC and this guy stared for maybe 2 seconds too long and I wanted to scream "DAHN'T LOOOK AT MEEEHH!" like an old timey move star who got a bad haircut.)