May 17, 2013
I am grateful for my freedom.
Today I took a run through the streets of several neighborhoods near my office. Some of the neighborhoods are a little more sketchy than others, which oftentimes raises my anxiety slightly. I carry my cell phone with me in case of an emergency. So far I’ve only been catcalled a couple of times, which I never know how to take.
Flattered because someone noticed? Offended because I’m being objectified?
Unlike women in developing countries, American women have incredible choices available to them. For one, we can go on a run BY OURSELVES down the road. Furthermore, we can choose to wear comfortable clothing. Lycra and spandex even! Can you imagine running while wearing a burqa?
Maybe women in other countries think of American women as strange, though. Maybe they are embarrassed by our excessive display of skin. Try to imagine yourself talking to half naked women living in the Kalahari desert, for instance. We would probably feel like they were a little too revealing in their attire (seeing as how there really isn’t much of it).
There are Muslim women in our neighborhood who look sad when they see me mowing the lawn. I know that they think a man should be doing the work for me. Sometimes I wish “the man” was doing the work for me, but I don’t like waiting until “the man” feels inspired to mow. The man in this case being my husband. (He makes up for it in other arenas.)
Also, we are confident enough in our security as a nation that we go out and do things. We aren’t so afraid that we cannot leave our homes. People are not bombing our streets on a daily basis.
So, as I finished my run today I savored my freedom. My little anxiety about sketchy neighborhoods seems like nothing compared to the challenges other women face in less democratic societies.