April 11th, 2007

thinky tim

My "I hate people" moment for the day


I just went to use the restroom in my workplace - a single-user, unisex room inside our office - and this is what I saw: urine in the unflushed toilet, and something else. It was bizarre enough for me to look twice, rather than just cussing out inconsiderate people and flushing the toilet. My best guess (since there wasn't any toilet paper in the toilet and it leads me to think a man had used it) is that it was ejaculate.

But see, I don't know. Not being male, I've never had the opportunity for such a ... viewing pleasure. So I ask you, friendslist, if you can advise me on what spunk in a toilet bowl looks like. If you can tell me, I want to know - I promise not to judge you on how or why you have the information. I only judge fuckers who get off on harassing people.

In any case, I sent an email detailing the incident to our assistant dean to find out what can be done. It surprised me because this restroom is in our office, which is only accessible through our front door, which is highly visible, or a couple of other locked doors. And, while there are a few men working in our office, they are quite nice guys. (Not that that is a guarantee of anything, I know.)

So I don't know. Clearly this man wanted this to be seen and fuck with people. And I don't know what we can do besides give people a heads up to be on the lookout.

But you know? I almost didn't say anything. I almost went on my way, not wanting to trouble anyone else about it, because it wasn't a "big deal." Because, hey, just because I was made to feel severely uncomfortable and creeped out, what's that worth? And this is even in a strongly supportive, majority female work environment where I knew I wouldn't be judged for speaking up. It's just that I've had it socialized into the deepest part of me that I should stay quiet, keep my head down, not make a fuss. And most of all, not inconvenience other people for what bothers me. Because ladies don't do that, you know.

And people wonder why women don't speak up about sexual harassment more often.

Edit: Comments on this post are now screened. Go here for an explanation.
thinky tim

Introduction [Women and Violence, Part 1]

This is a bit of an experiment.

This quarter I'm taking a Women Studies course titled "Women and Violence." The final project for this class is open to creative interpretation, and so I'm attempting to bring together my academic feminism with my online feminism by using blogging as a part of that project. Over the next eight weeks, until the final week of the quarter, I'll be making weekly posts on the topic of women and violence. Each post will (hopefully) be inspired by the readings or discussions from class. They will be posted both here and on Shrub.com, and can be accessed through the "women and violence" tag.

The course itself approaches gendered violence as a continuum of behaviors that affect women, from the private to the public, the individual to the institutional, the legally prohibited to the socially permissible. This includes the most commonly discussed forms of gendered violence, such as rape and domestic violence; and also forms of violence such as war, abuse by prisons and other institutions, and indirect violence by the media. My series of posts will cover any of these topics, depending on what strikes me, or perhaps what is most relevant to the feminist blogosphere at the time.

If this all sounds kind of vague to you all, that's on purpose. I'm actually not sure how these next eight weeks will go, or what kind of writing I will do. I'm hoping to let the writing come organically out of influences from the course and online, so I'm not putting any limitations on this series for now.

Speaking of influences - while I always welcome responses from readers, I invite them even more heartily for this project. Comments or criticism - even if you don't have anything to add beyond, "I agree with you/Commenter A!" - please do make your voice heard. Part of the reason I'm using a blog format is so I can examine the responses I get, and how other people might connect to what I'm writing.

x-posted to Shrub.com