Thought I Was a Girl...

By Mimi Notik

He's just your average college guy.

School team hat. Beaten jeans and sneakers. Blonde hair.

He sits to my right.

He is a boy.

I am a girl.

This girl and this boy are on flight 1016, both excited for their arrival in Miami.

They are sitting way too close for comfort They are sitting way too close for comfort, and this trip's battle over the armrest takes an easy loss on the side of the girl.

We're in the air.

The boy spreads out as much as he can, reclines his seat, and shifts his hat to cover his eyes.

Something's holding me back from relaxing.

No, not something.

A boy is holding me back from relaxing.

I'm not accustomed to sprawling out and resting in such proximity to a college lad.

So this girl is sitting upright.

There is no plan of action when you're stuck in 5 square feet and thousands of feet in the air. She'll just have to deal.

Soon enough, the young mister starts moving.

Ever so nonchalantly, our young man pulls out a magazine from his stuff.

And, no, it's not Newsweek.

They call it "Men's Health Magazine."

Apparently, a tan and barely clothed model has something to do with men's health.

I glance over. I have to see the expression on his face.

The pictures. The vulgar headlines. Is he seriously about to peruse through this magazine with a young lady seated right beside him?

This girls cheeks are probably a little flushed.

So he opens it.

The flashy pages totally grab my glances in this empty, crammed, and temporary space.

And now, every time he turns the page, I naturally look over…almost against my will.

The pictures. The vulgar headlines.

This men's magazine is totally dedicated to the objectification of women.

Women - for men's viewing pleasure.

I am utterly amazed.

Does this boy not realize?

I, too, am a woman.

I am a feminine being.

I have the same body parts

I may even wear the same lipstick.

And the boy sits beside the girl, turning the pages ever so casually.

This guy is acting as if I am a separate creation. As if I have nothing to take personally.

He is effacing my gender.

The lack of embarrassment is startling.

How could he not be uncomfortable?

Who does he think he is – exposing me to this?

Row 21 has never been the scene of so much squirming. I am cringing from within.

This girl wants to cry.

He is effacing my gender On a flight to Miami, I am forced to face the harsh reality of how all-too-many view the purpose of the female body, the truths of our all-too-often shameless society, and the horrors of a world with no respect for boundaries.

As I sat in 21E, this girl realized that people have become all too comfortable with their own perversions.

There's no such thing as "behind closed doors" anymore.

And not just that, but our young fellow has lost touch of the world. He doesn't even realize he's sitting next to a woman.

When he opened the magazine, I became an object.

That was the only way he could open the magazine without being guilt-ridden, without it feeling wrong.

After all, who opens a men's magazine with provocative pictures while seated an inch away from a young woman?

This girl feels a little taken advantage of.

She feels a loss of innocence.

And all because of your average college guy.

School team hat. Beaten jeans and sneakers. Blonde hair.

He sits to my right.

He is a boy.

I am an object.

I found this story on Chabad.org. i would not have reacted the exact same way in this exact situation but this story describes exactly how i feel on a daily basis when random men on the street make comments at me. i have yet to understand this behavior. ami supposed to run after them and fall into their beds? is it an awkward way of compliment? who are these guys parents and where did they go to school and grow up that this is considered appropriate behavior? my question is how do i tell this constatly changing random group of people that their comments and their behavior are inappropriate? it doesn't matter what i am wearing (i tend to dress more conservatively due to this particular problem) nor who i am with (while walking down the street with Bryson, which made it humorous in the end really.) i find myself muttering asshole undermy breath in the same way most of them mutter sweetie or sexy under their breath.sometimes when you hear something enough times you start to believe them. i get a hollow feeling, a questioning, maybe i am just an object whose only purpose is to be gawked at? sometimes it is hard to shrug. i thought of doing a project where i carry a polaroid camera with me and everytime someone said something or stared a little too intently i would take a picture of myself and hand it to them. apicture lasts longer anyway. though that too would have an aftermath and a consequence that i may or may not be worse than the problem.

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