When Feminists Need Defense

, , , , , | Friendly | May 23, 2018

(I am at the gym, using the back and leg weight machines while reading an interesting hardcover book I brought with me. I think it is very appropriate to be reading this one in the gym, since it’s about self-defense tactics for women. The book has a long sentence as a title, and one of the many words in it is “feminist,” used as an adjective. I’m a young woman. Some random young guy comes right up to me while I’m sitting at the back-extension machine.)

Random Guy: “Hi there. It really looks like that book is fascinating. What is it about?”

Me: *wondering where this is going* “It’s about self-defense.” *looks back down at the book*

Random Guy: “Oh.”

(He looks at me for a beat, then, without a word, extends his hand, takes hold of the top of the book and, while I’m reading it, tilts it upright so he can look at the cover. He looks for all of one second, then:)

Random Guy: “Oh. It’s about ‘Fehhhminism.’ Why didn’t you just say it’s about ‘Fehhhminism’?”

Me: *speechless*

(I said nothing, just stared him down in sheer disbelief at his gall until he seemed to get the message and went away. Really, it’s like he was going for top award at the Mansplaining Competition — “explaining” to me what the book I was in the middle of reading at that moment was “actually” about, from his own grand expertise of skimming the title, with extra bonus irony points for the coincidental involvement of the word “feminist.”)

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