A man and woman were shouting at each other under my bedroom window. It was early evening. The volume was so startling and the tone so charged that I jumped up from my couch to see if I needed to call the police. Was she in trouble?
I stayed out of sight, but listened and watched as this very large man and this woman of average build went at it, screaming nose to nose. It was vulgar. As it went on I realized she was more emotionally out of control. He seemed almost amused. At one point, while she was mid-rant, he leaned in and kissed her. I mean full out, French kissed her.
Passersby didn't know what to make of it. They were like me, it seemed, wondering if there was a situation here that warranted action. She kissed him back, then pulled away and resumed yelling. Soon it became clear to me that this was their dance.
As I went back to chilling on my couch, I thought about the song Blurred Lines and the fuss it caused a few years ago. Not the legal dustup that just happened with Marvin Gaye's family, but the one where some women felt this tune was a green light to rape. Their line of thinking is that there are no blurred lines. There's only yes and no.
But right outside my window I saw that isn't true. Of course there are blurred lines. Further, I believe it's essential that that be in the mix as this next wave of feminism sweeps in.
Recently at the Women in the World summit in New York, Hillary Clinton said this:
There has never been a better time in history to be born female.
As if she was reading my mind, she followed with:
Think about that.
I already was. That simple statement resonated deeply with me.
True confession. Lately I've been getting discouraged about our progress as a nation on the feminist front. There's still so much backlash around that particular 'f' word. Stereotypes abound. I have been almost weary, feeling like I was at the forefront of the battle for years and now I'm tired. I know this won't get me into the activists' hall of fame, but I often find myself thinking I just want to relax and reap some rewards and leave it to the next generation to fix.
But I know I can't close my toolbox. I have too much wisdom now. I am better than ever at using the written word to express, illuminate, rant, wonder.
Right now, in this cultural moment, it feels like it's sexuality that is pushing through gender boundaries faster than most other issues. That's why a song like Blurred Lines, even that very concept, triggers so many different responses among forward-thinking women. The ability to paint feminists with a broad brush is slowly going away. And for those who didn't get that memo, well, they're beginning to sound shrill. Our sexuality is ours.
Take this, for example. The acclaimed Broad City series on Comedy Central opens with a scene where Ilana -- via Skype or FaceTime -- talks to her BFF Abbi. It is only a few minutes into it that we, the audience, realize she is doing so while straddled on top of her 'friends with benefits' guy in the middle of having sex. Yes, I am talking penetration happening while she is chatting on a device.
I was amused, but probably more shocked.