On Monday night, I watched a screening of V-Day: Until The Violence Stops, a documentary about how Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues became V-Day, a global, grassroots movement to end violence against women. It is a moving, harrowing, beautiful film. I can’t imagine anyone watching it and not being affected.
As you might expect, the film includes clips of famous actresses performing the monologues, and in one clip, Rosie Perez performs “My Short Skirt.”
There were eight women at the screening, and when the film was over we talked about it. One woman admitted to feeling judgmental about the piece. Feeling like “If you’re going to walk around like that, you have to expect trouble.” Another woman said that as women, we have to be careful, we can’t just walk around like that, and we have to tell our daughters they can’t walk around like that either. Someone chimed in, “I can’t believe what I see girls wear.”
If anyone said they were angry, I missed it. If anyone said, this is bullshit, I definitely didn’t hear it. I was sitting there trying to think of what would be the male equivalent, but I couldn’t come up with anything. Not only could I not think of a single clothing item guys should avoid lest girls get the wrong idea, I couldn’t think of any guys I know that would care if girls got the wrong idea.
It’s not that I’m naive. It’s not that I don’t know what they’re trying to say. A short skirt can be interpreted as an invitation, is what they’re saying. I get that, but shouldn’t we at least be pissed off about that? Shouldn’t we be judging the society that allows for such an interpretation? The legal system that has accepted it as a defense? The culture that shrugs and smiles and says, “boys will be boys?”
Please don’t tell me how I’m unrealistic, or how, if I had daughters, I’d know just how these women feel. I already know how these women feel. I’m a woman. I think twice before wearing a short skirt. I’m not writing this post because I have an answer. I’m writing it because I don’t. And because it pisses me off. And because it should piss you off too.