Hey Guys,

…now, if I started this note with ‘Hey Ladies’, some of you would have taken it as a joke, a dis, a rub, a taunt, a jab or…an insult. But most of us hear ‘Hey Guys’ as a generic term for people and respond, regardless of our gender identity.

Many words in our language bring with them, a response and a reaction that A/depends on context and B/ reflects our lived experience. Words like ‘Queer’ are either seen as re-claimed words formerly of hate, still used to marginalize, or still provokes a chill whenever some hear it…words like the N-word or Fag are heard in closed conversations whether it be amongst ‘my friends who know I don’t mean it like that’ to a few people who toss the word with a lusty venom.

…but words like ‘bitch’ are so commonplace and ‘normal’ that we hear it on daytime TV and radio. From “…he’s your bitch” to “It’s Britney, bitch…” there are all sorts of everyday interactions with words that degrad women, that we don’t even blink anymore.

The other evening I was enjoying a night out with dear, dear friends and her upstairs neighbours, a bunch of good ol’ Lads who come from a place were the word ‘cunt’ flows like it’s on tap. They sat on Bloor St and tossed the word around at various women they came across…from the waiteress stuck babysitting them all night, to a woman walking just to get a shawarma. NOT MEANING it at all, of course…all in good fun, and don’t take it so seriously folks…

but how did these women feel afterward?

…when we all just stand by and watch, we aren’t just spectators in the ‘good natured sport of the degradation of women’ but team players.

Which side are you on?

It starts with words, but women, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, class, age, way they are abled or their style/appearance are subject to a sliding scale of shit that starts with “just some harmless words, man’.

This note is for Miranda, who shared some examples on Facebook of crossing paths with men on her daily routine, men who feel entitled to interacting with an attractive young woman. Interactions like the one on a bus that end up with her not being interesting in further interaction, that then resulted with the guy grabbing her ass as she got off the bus…as if it were a gesture to say “have a nice day”.

When you aren’t interested, you are called a ‘bitch’.

But, what about when you see something happen and don’t say or do something…what does that make you??

There have been times i’ve stopped a guy in mid-‘flirt’ to ask why are they disrespecting the sister and themselves…other times when I just watched like everyone else…

It’s not about what will happen to me if I say something, it’s what will happen, what do I contribute to, if I don’t say something…

Sorry Miranda, I was the person sitting on that bus who stayed silent, just watched, just stared, quietly got off on seeing it, or felt like there’s no point in fighting it…

We owe you better than that.