So a few years ago when I was a junior in college, I attended Blackout. If you are unfamiliar with the festivities, Blackout is an event held at UMass Amherst where all the students of color from campuses all across the lands gather for a weekend of boozing, twerking, and just soaking in all of the Black that is lacking from their respective schools. So a couple of girlfriends and I got all decked out: heels, short skirts, skin lathered in cocoa butter and hair sealed with coconut oil and we went out. It was a great time. I was lit as fuck. I had just finished an entire special brownie and I was just at that stage where I could feel my eyes beginning to turn red and my grip on my current world grow shaky.
A couple of guys came over: “Hey miss, looking good,” one purred as he eyed us up and down. My friends and I ignored him and I continued on my ascend to the higher place. “Yo, why you do my mans dirty like that, where y’all from?” I hazily remember the other guy asking. Still no response. “Oh I know where y’all from, y’all from Boston. I should of smelled that shit right away. All y’all Boston bitches are the same…” one of them said before they trailed off.
To this day, that encounter has stayed with me. Boston bitches.
Being a Boston Bitch
Not only have I grown to accept that I am a Boston Bitch, but I also accept that I have no choice but to be one.
I’m a Boston Bitch because when I walk down the streets of Chinatown late at night I square my shoulders and wear my mean mug like an expensive bag.
I’m a Boston Bitch because I don’t speak Kreyol in Mattapan Square and I don’t speak English in South Bay.
I’m a Boston Bitch because my voice grows some base when I’m ordering food at any restaurant in Roxbury.
And I’m a Boston Bitch because these things and many more are on auto pilot, to the point where loser guys can cat call me on my way to high heaven and I won’t even notice.
What Does This Have to Do With Feminism?
Every single action that I and many women I know do is done not out of spite but out of our own protection from the dangers of men.
A walk down a dark street and a smile can mean rape, death, or both.
An acknowledged “hello beautiful” in shared language or even English could mean being stalked for five blocks until the cops are called.
A voice without base at certain restaurants is a voice that never gets heard.
A Boston Bitch is a woman who has mastered the art of survival.
There are a lot of definitions of “feminism” that float around, causing women (and men) to have to determine where they stand. Let me be perfectly clear: I am a feminist. I am a believer in the political, economic, personal, and social equality of all sexes.
I am a feminist because this world is filled with dangers and injustices both visible and “invisible” -to those that it does not effect-and because of this, a regular day in the life of a woman is to be a Boston Bitch or a Seattle Slut or a Harlem Hoe or a California Cunt.
It becomes second nature and even as second nature it still does not fully protect against the dangers that lurk. I’ve still had a man follow me for three blocks just to grab my ass and I’ve still had Uber drivers who refuse to bring me to my destination until I give them my phone number. According to an article by MarketWatch, “America is the tenth most dangerous place for women to live and ties with Syria as the third most dangerous place for women in regards to sexual violence.” Being a Boston Bitch is just baseline. We have to do more as a community to protect our women. On top of that, we need to change the way we teach our young boys to view and value women. I don’t know what kind of world we are living in but change needs to come and it needs to come soon. In the meantime, this is your favorite Boston Bitch signing off.