“Me Too”: Confused Thoughts

If you’re on Facebook you’ve probably seen the ‘me too’ posts flooding your newsfeed in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault/harassment scandals (as well and a handful of similar scandals that have taken place recently).

I’m of course proud of the people around me for speaking out and identifying themselves as victims or sexual harassment/other bad behavior.

And of course, me too.  Obviously. Most of us. All of us. And some men as well, though I guess less frequently, because so much of this is predicated on a system of male dominance.

I’m afraid of talking about this in such a cis-het way. As though we’re only talking about women experiencing harassment and abuse at the hands of men.  But let’s say that that’s what I’m talking about, and that I’m well aware that there are many other experiences that fall outside of that pattern. And that those experiences are no less genuine, no less valid, and no less terrible.

“If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote “Me too” as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem. “

This is what we’re talking about.
And by “give people a sense”, by people we mean men. Because me too. Because all of us.
How do men not realize this yet? Why does it fall on women again and again to beg men to treat us like people? To take these problems seriously?
I’m really tired of it. I’m tired of posting about being sexually harassed. Sexually assaulted.  I got tired when I messaged my guy friend every time I was sexually harassed a few years ago, multiple times a day, to help him understand ‘the magnitude of the problem’.
I’m tired of women having to expose their traumas just so a ‘critical mass’ of collective harm can be observed and evaluated for its legitimacy and merits by men and the system that is so damaging to us.

Why is this necessary? Why is it falling on women to identify themselves as survivors and victims to start a conversation? So men can care about their sister, their mother, the girl in their class- because they don’t respect women as a whole, in the abstract? Because they didn’t believe that this was such a pervasive problem? How hard are they trying not to listen? How is it so easy for men to escape from the reality that is my daily life, the daily life of my friends, the daily life of all women.

If everyone (men, those in power, larger institutions like churches, the government, and schools) held aggressors accountable for their actions, this type of status wouldn’t be “necessary.”
Instead I see people I who have harassed me at parties or on the street, liking my friends’ statuses when they post “me too”. I listen to guys that I’m just getting to know speak about other women as though they were meet and then try to understand how they can think of me as a friend when I’m no different than she.

It’s not what I wear. It’s not that I’m flirtatious. It’s not that I’m asking for it. It’s not that I’m leading him on.

I was gardening in my yard in sweatpants and a large sweater. It was because I was outside. It’s because I was visible.

I was in middle school and sitting in my car with the window up.

I was walking to class.

I was in fourth grade, swinging at the playground.

I was just trying to get off the bus.

I was just trying to get on the bus.

I was just trying to be alive.

You say that you would love all of the ‘me too’ statuses to be your female friends acknowledging that they feel safe and secure in this world.
Wouldn’t we all? What are you doing about it?

I’m tired of the silence.

I want to see men calling their friends out on all of the problematic shit they say. Because when I do it, it doesn’t matter. I want to see people supporting transwomen. Because it’s not enough to love yourself when a system is trying to do you violence. I want women of color to feel safe. I want rapists of all races to be more fearful of the law than innocent POCs. I want cat callers and train pervs to be glared at the way some people glare at gay couples.

I want to see men, people in power, anyone and everyone who is complicit in this system to experience one ounce of the frustration and pain that women have to deal with every day. To call it out because when we do it doesn’t make a difference. And it won’t until someone decides that we actually matter. That our voices have a sound worth being heard.

Otherwise all of these ‘me too’s are nothing.

I’m frustrated to see people I love begging a deaf system to protect them from a problem it is trying to ignore. I’m tired of nothing changing.

So if you see that someone isn’t posting a ‘me too’, don’t assume they haven’t experiences sexual assault. Survivors don’t owe you their story.
And the responsibility to make a change should not be on survivors and victims. It should be shifted to the people whose actions or whose silence perpetuate this violence and allow it to occur.

But one last time, please. Me too. Please help and please listen. Please recognize that even if you haven’t seen it doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

  • Practice telling your friends that what they’re saying isn’t right, isn’t cool, isn’t okay.
  • Not only friends. Family too. And randos.
  • Consider that women might be telling the truth when they claim to be victims of sexual aggression. And be compassionate.
  • Don’t judge people for their appearance/gender presentation/sexuality.
  • Don’t treat women as targets to be gotten.
  • Don’t try to get a woman to listen up with alcohol or drugs.
  • Don’t continue making physical advances when a woman isn’t into it.
  • Rape jokes aren’t funny.
  • Capitalizing on the comparative powerlessness of women isn’t okay. Whether you are in a position of authority or are stronger than she is. Stop.
  • If you’re walking behind a woman who is walking alone, particularly when it’s late- slow down. Or even cross the street.
  • Also just don’t follow someone because you think she’s pretty? I was listening to a guy say that he was doing this without realizing the other day because he loved her perfume (#ISIPCA). He thought it was funny and I thought of all the times I’ve had men following me and had to think about whether I was in a populated area, whether I should grab my keys, whether his footsteps sounded like the footsteps of someone I could outrun.
  • Respect us. Listen to us. Recognize your power to help. Recognize your responsibility.
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Homesickness in Five Senses

Much as I’m loving living in France, there are some things that just aren’t the same and that give me a little ache when I think about them. This variety of homesickness is a lot less all-encompassing than the kind I had to deal with when I turned up at Yale four years ago (couldn’t tell you why), but for whatever reason this transition has felt much easier.

I do of course have thoughts about why, but that’s a topic for another day.
In the meantime, I’ve been finding it interesting to consider what it is I miss most about home (not necessarily America, but my own life there) and how there are some senses that are missing America more than others. Oddly, I feel like what I’m missing most are specific sounds, more than sights or smells or even tastes (though taste is a close second).

Sights:

  • Autumn color. Take it from an entitled North East girl who has spent all of her autumns surrounded by yellows and golds and oranges and reds. You definitely miss it. Leaves turn yellow and brown here- which is quite pretty- and you get the snow-like leaf shedding in the wind that I love so much, but the wonderland created by the other colors is just missing. Sighing for maples.
  • Giant supermarkets. Don’t get me wrong. I’ll choose France’s small stores and open air markets over a Costco or Stop&Shop any day, but there is something oddly compelling (and reassuring) about that almost inappropriate abundance.

Sounds:

  • Canada geese
  • Sirens. The sirens here sound different and much more musical. I miss our sinister alarms.
  • Blasting reggaeton. There are not enough people blasting reggaeton from car windows here. Though mercifully there are more than none.
  • English. Hearing people speaking your own language as you walk around. You don’t realize how subconsciously comforting it is until everyone around you is speaking French.

Textures:

  • There isn’t anything tactile at home that I can’t as easily palpate in Versailles, except maybe my bed. It’s very easy to miss your bed.

Smells:

  • Not anything really. The thing about perfume school is that your nose gets plenty of exercise and novelty.

Tastes:

  • Good lord home-cooked food. I miss it so much. I am cooking for myself here, but not any of the larger and more time-consuming recipes I would undertake at home. Partly because I’m sharing a kitchen with a host family. Partly because vegan ingredients are harder to find in these parts. Like the French don’t do vegan cheese. Why would they? Their cheese is a national treasure.  But Dad’s pizza? My banana bread? Chickpea cutlets? Cornbread? So many foods.

And of course I didn’t list anything relating to the people and animals I miss. Beings are amalgamations of so many senses. The feeling of a hug or of soft cat fur. Every person and animal’s individual smell and the sound of their voice…

Yesterday in Paris

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I spent yesterday in Paris and I have to say that it was truly one of the best days I have had on four hours of sleep (the other one being that time our flight to Florida was delayed but we still spent the whole next day at MGM/Disney Studios Hollywood/whatever they’re calling it now).

So the agenda was as follows:

  • I went in around 11:30 am, got in a bit after noon and went to the Grand Palais to see the Irving Penn photography exhibit that I missed when it was at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  It was really excellent and I’m very glad that I went. I kind of glided over the photography I was less interested in (the close up portraits of cigarette butts, for example) but I was really into the portraits of artists (Colette! Joan Didion! Always DTF Truman Capote!) and the beautiful nudes (which Facebook subsequently made me take down (free the nipple)).
  • After about an hour and a half with Irving Penn, I met Luis (a fellow ISIPCA student) and had a very refreshing Perrier while he had lunch.
  • And then we went to the Le Grand Musee du Parfum, which was super cool and overlapped a lot with things we’re learning in school- particularly the historical aspects. It helps that the professor who went through perfume history with us is on the artistic board/board of directors/I’m not sure what for the museum.
  • The gift shop had some lovely smelling opportunities, which were continued when we visited Jovoy, a niche-oriented perfume shop that wasn’t too far away.  Another student (Oliver) met up with us there. (My favorite thing I tried was Romanza by Masque Milano, but I already new I’m very into it, so no big new discoveries.
  • We went back to Gare St Lazare, stopped at Jo Malone on the way to try to get Luis a sample or Orris & Sandalwood, failed, and then made the trip home to Versailles.

Friday Links 10/13

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I have a lot of links and not a lot of time to think about more interesting and profound posts. So here’s what’s happening on my laptop!

Much love!

Last Night/This Morning and Samples (of Perfume)

I think yesterday may actually have been my first all-nighter? To the extent that I have been awake since 8 am yesterday morning (it’s now three minutes after 4 pm, today). And I spent the night hanging around outside in Paris, so I don’t think you can really ask for a better first nuit blanche (all-nighter in French). Interestingly, this also coincided with Paris’ Nuit Blanche music and light festival, so there was lots to see and do. And the Marais is always pretty active on Saturday nights.

I have many more things to say about French Tinder (Did I already mention that there are SO MANY PEOPLE NAMED QUENTIN?) like I now know how to say mind games. These are the important life skills.

But in the meantime I just want to talk about perfume.

As in if I could magically have the samples that I want most (that aren’t on m decant wish list) what would I pick? (Also I bought Rose de Nuit by Serge Lutens on eBay recently and I’m super excited! I have been wanting that perfume for quite literally 6 years.

Also did you know there are more Dior Private Collection scents in the stores in Paris that aren’t available in the US? I have to say I didn’t find any of them particularly enrapturing, but they were fun to visit. My favorite would have to be Jasmin des Anges, which was much more a tart blackberry than a jasmine. But it was a pretty nice blackberry.

Okay, back to the topic at hand.

  • Ce Soir ou Jamais- Annick Goutal: A super nice and musky overblown rose that I haven’t yet had the chance to try in any meaningful quality. I think I might love it.
  • Rose Trocadero- Jardin Retrouve: I seem to be in a rose mood. I want this to be the fresh green garden rose of which I have been dreaming.
  • Kingston Osmanthus- Eric Buterbaugh: Too bad 10 mLs costs three weeks of groceries.
  • Equestrian- Sonoma Scent Studio: Obviously I can’t leave alone anything doing with horses.
  • Miyako-Auphorie: This one got a whole lot of buzz not too long ago and I still haven’t tried it. But I’m here for fruity suede osmanthus vibes.
  • Onyx- Sage Machado: Musky coconut? Neat. I want to try.
  • Noir Exquis-L’Artisan Parfumeur: I tried a bit of this in store and one point and think I may be very much a fan. SO cozy!
  • A bunch from Zoologist. But if I had to pick it would be Nightingale or Civet. Followed by Dragonfly, Panda 2017, and Elephant.
  • Suede de Suede and Dojima- Mona di Orio: There are two new Mona di Orios and I haven’t smelled them yet. Shame.
  • Mardi Gras- Olympic Orchids: Speaking of Civet.
  • Acqua Celestia- Maison Francis Kurkdjian: I keep smelling this in stores and wishing for a bit of my own.
  • Joyeuse Tubereuse- Guerlain: Only if I can’t find my sample. I have the sneaking suspicion it’s still in the USA.
  • Tabacca-Costamor/Frank 3-Frank: You know you need to smell it when you’ve been waiting so long the brand and scent name changes.
  • Tabac Tabou- Parfums d’Empire: Tobacco, honey, narcissus. Give me.

By the way also all of these from DSH 😛

Friday Links 10/6

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I forgot to show you my October desktop last time!

French Tinder

I did something kind of dumb- which is, having never had a Tinder in America, I created a profile when I got to France.

It’s been a good way to practice French, truthfully, but also I’m learning (and noticing) some odd things. Fill me in- what’s normal for Tinder and which of these are weird specific to a 40 km radius of Versailles?

  • I’ve learned a lot of great but not widely applicable/appropriate words and phrases. Some favorites:
    Enculer- to ass fuck
    Je te mange le cul- I can eat your ass.
  • A guy named Adrien who looks weirdly like Adrien Brody.
    I do not mind.
  • A lot of Yankees hats.
    I DO mind.
    Yankees suck.
  • A good number who are mutual friends with friends of mine from college and even high school. It’s a small world after all.
  • The stereotypical douchebag look (lots of squinting, a fair amount of pouty lips and duck face, etc.) is alive and well across the Atlantic.
  • Someone who said their favorite things are penguins and waffles. Am ready to marry.
  • Too much facial hair. Although I do understand this is a matter of opinion.
  • A lot of people from this Middle East. I think because I am closer to the Middle East here.
  • A lot of guys giving health advice in there profiles. Like “Eat healthfully and live well, strawberries are good for the stomach.”
  • So much smoking. So much for living healthfully and strawberries.
  • A lot of guys named Quentin…?
  • Speaking of names… I never realized there were so many Thibaults. I dig it.
  • Also a lot of Mehdis.