I have a fantastic conference to write about, and an amazing wedding to go to next week, but:
Between Gamergate, the shootings in Ottawa (and all of the legal/social reactions), Jian Ghomeshi's sexual assault/harrassment scandal*, some friend drama, and my social/work related anxiety around posting to FB right now (basically I get a message and freeze then don't answer for a week, then do so in a burst of guilt), the internet is just... making me really tired and sad and angry lately.
*Basically I just want to link to/quote castlemew
/FB for all of my opinions on it because she says what my brain wants to say except smarter and funnier. Also this
Meanwhile, I had an uncomfortable situation recently that I want feedback/help on, but the subject is taxing and /hard/.
I was with a female friend (B) and the father of another friend, and the father said kinda inappropriate stuff: immediately calling B "CUTE", hugging her even though they've never met before, and suggesting I "take his wife back with me instead, and leave B" while his wife was right there. (This father also privately congratulated my SO on dating me because I'm hot. Which, I mean, yes obviously
, but, it's a little weird given I'm his daughter's friend?)
Anyway, I didn't know really how comfortable B was. Especially because while B has great english skills, she sometimes has problems with new accents, so she might not really have understood everything that was getting said. And on that trip she had already had to deal with people yelling slang at her on the street which she didn't understand, to the point where she didn't feel safe doing the 30 min walk to our hotel.
So I basically just tried to get us out of the place as quickly as possible (I was picking up some of the daughter's belongings for her), and get on the road. Later I hinted at the weirdness to the daughter, but when she asked if he had really creeped B out, I kind of went back on it a bit because it's not comfortable telling anyone their loved ones creeped other people out.
When trying to assess the situation in my own head, I found myself thinking the words, "Well, B never said she was uncomfortable..."
And that's when I really knew I had a problem. Because those are the words of the patriarchy programmed into my brain, and I know all the problems with them.
Because obviously, B wasn't really in a position to say she was uncomfortable - even later privately in the car it probably would've been just as difficult as me telling my friend. (who probably is already super familiar with her dad being uncomfortable, and likely face-palms everytime he meets he
So now I'm trying to think of ways I can respond better to situations like this. One obvious one is asking B how she felt privately because that'd just be a decent-human-being thing to do, and could validate her if she WAS feeling sketched out.
But also responding in the moment... how to get over the "let's just pretend things are fine and smooth this over and laugh at this stupid joke but then later HATE you" programming. Like, how do you actually do that? Especially in moments where it is literally a split second reaction. Stupid jokes, or people going to hug you when you're not into hugging, or sayin eyebrow-raising things then flowing on with conversation like nothing happened.
It's constantly one of those "DAMMIT I SHOULD'VE SAID/DONE SOMETHING" things for me, and how do you get better at saying/doing something? Especially in group situations where you are potentially not going to have back up, or are going to be the recipient of a "c'mon we were just joking" .
I want steps, and action plans, people.