I’m small. I’m 5’6 and 110 pounds with a big attitude and even bigger eyes. I see things and I notice things and even though I may not seem like I’m always aware of my surroundings, I’m always in tune to how things make me feel. Living in a city like Columbia , South Carolina means that I’m a novelty. The biggest pick up line that people use on me is “I’ve seen you all over” or “I always see you on campus but you’re in your own world.” Fair enough- getting noticed works in my advantage (hello this is a blog after all.) But there’s a difference between being noticed and being creeped on because I present myself a certain way.
Case in point- Early Friday afternoon I was in my car outside of Walgreens, about to get out when I noticed a bro in front of my car, desperately trying to get my attention and talk to me. I furiously shook my head NO while avoiding all eye contact, only to see said bro come to the side of my window to try and talk to me. My heart was racing as I tried to plan an escape- should I just jump out of my passenger side and run for cover in the haven that is Walgreens? Eventually he got the picture and left- but not before I walked past him with a look of rage on my face without making any eye contact while going into Walgreens.
Here’s the thing- I don’t mind a compliment. I don’t mind a smile. But feeling blatantly objectified and disrespected and honestly SCARED is never fun. I don’t know who’s psycho and who’s not. I’m not sure if this bro is gonna pull out a knife or gun if I reject him- so I have to be civil. Dressing with confidence, dressing for MYSELF, does not give anyone else permission to make me feel uncomfortable. That’s not how it works.
After taking to Facebook to complain about getting hit on, I of course had another semi-terrifying encounter that night while trying to buy some flowers at Publix. I was getting out of my car and saw someone in a flannel and five panel walking towards me, while I was walking in from the parking lot. After many “hellos” which I ignored as I was walking inside (into safety) this older man decided to tell me he moved here from San Diego and had never seen a punk chic in Columbia I didn’t know what to say. I was trying to be civil as I rushed to the nearest aisle of the grocery store, while he was still following me, and then he asked if he could walk with me. I gave him the dead in the eyes look before finally saying I wasn’t interested and walking away, to which he replied “damnnnn” as I strutted down the aisle to take refuge in the wine section. After I was done shopping, I rushed to my car and thought I was safe until I looked to the car next to me as I was about to back out and saw this same man NEXT TO MY WINDOW. I started to roll my window up and he begged me not to, telling me he wasn’t a creep or a weirdo, and that he had never seen anyone like me in Columbia. I said he was hanging in the wrong area and that I needed to go. He kept calling me “so damn beautiful” as I frantically whipped my car into reverse and left the store.
SO- what’s the point of these ridiculously long and unnecessary stories? These experiences, these encounters happen to women everywhere. Not all men are like this, but YES- all women go through this sort of thing. And as a white women I can only sympathize with my sisters of other ethnicities and races who are objectified and discriminated on a level that I will never be able to fully comprehend. We can’t just scream F*** YOU because we’re scared of what will happen when we stand up for ourselves, and that in itself is terrifying. So what’s a girl to do? People tell me I look mean, or like a bitch- that I dress intimidatingly or scary. And you know why?! Because I don’t want people to mess with me!
One of the reasons I am so excited for this collab with Little Whip is because they stand for something I whole heartedly believe in- womanhood, unapologetic sexuality and power. By wearing pieces that are powerful and sensual I’m able to tap into both of those energies as I move through my day. Add to that the fact that this shirt is one of the softest things I own, and that I can pair it with pretty much anything and I’m hooked. Little Whip even has incredible pins like a whip (what else) and red lips. I’ll be blogging about those next week! But for now, I’m content pairing my cropped handcuff tee with some thigh high boots and an attitude that is unapologetic and confident. One that says- yes I love me but no, you don’t have to talk to me. Wearing something slightly “intimidating” means giving myself permission to worry and focus on myself- and not the creeps I have to keep away. So today, I am banishing the creeps. Thanks Little Whip.
Shirt:: LITTLE WHIP// Shorts:: Asos// Boots: Public Desire// Mesh and hat:: Vintage
All photos by my incredible sister Alexandra Herstik, @alexyael .
Make sure to check out Little Whip’s amazing pieces HERE– AND don’t forget to check back next week for PART 2 of our collab.