Enemy of the Downtrodden

The library post continues to be a pain in my butt. I continue to be pissed at the whole argument that I’m classist. It’s not classism to expect that the bathrooms at the library will be in working order or that the behavior of the men on the third floor will not be sketchy and alarming. It’s classist to believe that because people are homeless, they can’t use the library in a manner respectful to the other people who want to be there.

Plus, fuck it. If my argument is classist, let’s be clear that it’s a different kind of classism than “rich person dogging on poor people.” I am alarmed that I can’t feel safe at the library because I have to use the library. I’m not rich enough to just buy every book that might be interesting to me.

But the other reason it pisses me off that a subsection of feminists is criticizing me is that I feel like there’s this bullshit expectation in this city that women are supposed to either curtail their behavior (oh, men acting weird at the library? You’d better just stay home, woman) or put themselves in danger (a strange man coming up to your car window and demanding to talk to you in order to sell his paper) so that men can do what they want.

You’d think feminism 101 would include “you have a right to participate in public life without harassment from men,” but I guess there are some men whose harassment we just have to tolerate because otherwise we’re big meanies?

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3 thoughts on “Enemy of the Downtrodden

  1. I’m so sorry you’re getting this treatment. I’m sure it’s a minority of people being amplified by the internet, most people would not be upset with your attitude, especially if they know you. I’m a feminist and I don’t think you’re horrible or classist.

  2. As a feminist and a librarian, I agree with you. I don’t know that I would have thought the whole thing through this way before you brought it up, but yes, I think you’re right.

  3. It used to be, and I expect still is the case, that if one was a woman riding the subways in NYC late at night, one got into a car with other women in it. And then you all gave any man who got into that car the side-eye, and if he didn’t take the hint and move into another car, you all gave him the stink-eye. No offense to those guys, almost all of whom were also just trying to get home late at night and tired and not wanting to be on their guard, but why risk anything?

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