You see a lot of things when you spend most of your time in airports, and you experience far more strange things than most could imagine–especially when you’re a single girl traveling alone.
I got my first thorough pat down before I even hit puberty, all because a bandage on my foot looked suspicious. (I’m sorry that I was a clumsy child?) Without fail, every single time I’ve gone through security, I get pulled aside and patted down. You would think since I look white, this wouldn’t happen, but I highly doubt it has anything to do with race. It’s all about being an attractive girl in a patriarchal world.
I’m sure that some of the times, the machine caught something, and they’re just going about business as usual, but when it’s every single time I travel? I don’t know about that. Maybe I just look suspicious; that’s cool.
When I was a young teenager flying by myself (as usual), I was walking through the airport; as I passed one guy, I heard him say “Daaamn.” Granted, I don’t walk like some shy young kid; I walk with confidence. Yet, I couldn’t have been older than fifteen at the time.
And guys, keep those comments to yourself. They don’t make women feel attractive or whatever you’re going for. They make us uncomfortable. We want to throw on 20 more layers of clothing and maybe hide under a blanket too. Or there’s some of us that just want to fight you for saying it. Take your chances.
Just the other day, I was crossing the parking lot to enter the doctor’s office and as I passed this truck I hear a deep ,“how you doin’” in my ear. It took everything in me not to jump halfway across that parking lot.
Maybe I mistook this man waiting in the truck and his intentions, but what he said, his tone, his timing, everything sure made it sound like he was cat-calling me, hitting on me. Whatever you’d like to call it these days.
I was so panicked for the rest of the day. Sitting in the waiting room, all I could think was how much I wanted my teddy bear and a blanket, I’m not joking. Who even hits on someone at the doctor’s? Most people there are sick for one reason or another, not the best place to meet your next partner. (I was only there for an allergy shot, thank you very much).
We always teach girls not to dress provocatively, like we’re “asking for it,” among other horribly sexist tips that allow boys to be boys. Why not start teaching boys not to yell out at random girls on the street because that is textbook sexual harassment? One simple change may have an eventual domino effect. That’s all I’m asking.
Follow Angela Garza on Twitter: @angarza15