Photo by Drew Gurian for Red Bull Media
By Mindy Seegal Abovitz
If you want to summarize what it’s like growing up female,* a large part of it is being aware that that man is sexualizing you. That he will subjugate, degrade, dehumanize or ridicule you. That society will mark you as naïve, “asking for it” or deny you your reality. Then there’s being insecure that that man is not sexualizing you and you are not a sensual, real, seen, valuable, desirable female because of a perceived lack of “wanting it.”
This back and forth of needing to be invisible and wanting to be seen, started at a young age for me and has not stopped. I have done everything in my power to de-emphasize society’s hold on me but I have not yet been freed from its grip. I am a drummer, a tomboy, a business owner, a lover of sports and yet I cannot escape what it ultimately means to be a female in today’s times.
I work everyday, tirelessly and passionately, on my magazine and media company whose imagery and messaging I can 100% get behind. Every decision we make as a company is with the intention to dismantle general media’s divisive ways. We (females) don’t need to be made-up, caked over and in stilts to be noteworthy. We (females) harness our power in many ways and will be celebrated for them all. We (females) will continue to fight to be heard, taken seriously, treated humanely and equally until we are. We (females) will stand in solidarity with those sisters, brothers, and anyone else who doesn’t have as much agency and control as we do at this point.
In Tom Tom, we highlight our subjects based on their talents, passions, stories and paths. This will never change. This is because of our shared experiences to which #metoo draws attention. Because, #whohasnt?
I am a person of action. I believe in providing tools for people to be kinder, more compassionate and more empathetic to one another. I strive to live my life the same way. Here are my short suggestions for actionable items we can all employ right now to make this place safer for the current and next generation of females.
- If you see a woman or girl being harassed on the street stop and bear witness. Get as close as you can to the scene to maintain your own safety and still apply pressure to the offender to leave or document the scene. Do not walk away and leave the woman alone and do not start a fight with the perpetrator.
- If a girl or woman tells you that someone made her uncomfortable, ask her questions, be there for her. DO NOT DOUBT HER. DOUBT HIM.
- Remind the females in your life that you value them based on their character and not their physical features.
- Do not ever make any assumptions about a female.
- No level of degradation or sexual assault is permissible. It is never ok and never funny.
- If the decision is ultimately about the female and her body, it is her decision. No exceptions to this rule.
- Spread the word. There is nothing more powerful than the empowered helping the disempowered.
#metoo because, #whohasnt?
*In this essay, female stands for female born and female identified people.