This guest post is by my good friend, Rachel. She's working on her M.Div at Yale Divinity School and is currently at a Summer Fellowship with Beatitudes Society in Chicago, her adoptive home. You can find her original post here.
A couple of weeks ago I realized how much my posture had changed in the past few years. When I was in college, I was often mistaken for a dancer, even at the times that I didn't have a ballerina's leanness. Shoulders back, back stretched long, hips where they wanted to be, strides long. People commented on my posture, and it felt good to move around.
Somewhere in the past few years I started, well, tucking in my rear-end a bit. This made my strides shorter and my shoulders slouched just a little. It also made my back ache just a little after some walks.
I did this because of comments from men about my body, most often about my rear-end.
Women all over the world have to do much more than I've ever done in response to sexual aggression. I know this.
I know my burden is light here, but it's just so clear and pronounced to me by changes in the way I carry myself. I walked to the fruiteria today and received multiple sexually aggressive comments and hisses. Hisses! I know not to respond to them. Sometimes the fact that I should be holding my tongue in such situations is even more maddening. I can't convince those men in that moment about why it's wrong and harmful and degrading.
I don't know what the solution is.
I should be walking in the way that feels natural. I miss that.