You are on page 1of 3

Rationale

Idecidedtowriteashortstorywhichnarratestheexperienceofawomanwhoiswalking
aloneatnight.Mystoryisbasedonthearticle
TheVaginaonTrial:TheInstitutionand
PsychologyofRape StopRape
byKathleenBarrywhichwasfirstissuedinthe pamphlet,
issuedin1971.Thestorywaswritteninaninformaltoneandregisteravailabletothe
expectedaudiencewhichareyoungadults.

Itriedtoexemplifyhowlanguageisusedtorefertowomenandhowitisrelatedtothe
genderstereotypesandtheobjectificationofwomen.Themalecharacterinthestoryrefers
tothemaincharacterwithapatronizingtoneandobjectifieshercallingherasweetthing.
Sincethemaincharacterdoesnotrespondtothis,themalecharacterreferstothemain
characterwithsexualconnotationstowhichthemaincharacterpointsouthowinappropriate
itissince15yearoldsalsoexperiencethesamekindofharassment.Finally,aggressive
languageisusedwhichislinkedtotherolesattributedtowomenbymen,eitheraninnocent
sweetgirloramanipulativesexualizedwoman.Ontheotherhand,thelanguageusedbythe
maincharactertorefertotheotherfemalecharacterchangesfromaconcernedandslightly
condescendingtonetoanempoweringandreassuringdescription.

Thetwofemalecharactersthatarepresentedareverydifferentbuttowardstheendofthe
storybothquestiontheirposition.Theotherfemalecharacterhowevershowsthefuture
expectationsoflivingwithoutthefearofbeingsexuallyharassedorevenassaulted.

Thecorrespondingpartofthecourseislanguageinculturalcontext.Thepurposeofmytext
istoanalyzehowchangesinlanguageareusedtoreinforcegenderexpectationsaswellas
howitisusedtoobjectifywomen.

WordCount:299

WalkingAlone

Itslate.Yourewalking.Youentertainyourselfwiththetappingofyourshoesonthefloorbut
thefactisyourescared.Eyesfixedontheground.Feelingasyourcheeksgetcold,
distractingyourselfwiththoughtsinordertoignorethebeatingofyourheartthat
accelerates.Thestreetseemslikeadarkandendlesscorridorandstillyouhavetowalkfive
blocksmore,no,fourblocksmore.Youvepassedthefirstcheckpoint.

Yoursensesbecomesosharpatthesetimes,yourealize,asthefamiliarmemoriesofother
nightodysseyscometoyourhead.Youdontreallyfeelthere,yourewatchingyourselffrom
adistance,safeandscaredforyourbody.Youhearanunfamiliarsound,taptaptaponthe
floor.Youliftyourheadtoencounterayoungladymakingthatpleasingsoundwithherhigh
heels.Sheissoyoung,howpretty,youthinkbutyourealizeherprettyclothesarenotgood
tonight.Ifsomethinghappens,ifsomeonehappensshewontbeabletorun.Herdressis
blackandherhairpulledbackinaponytail.Ifithappenedtheymightpointatherdressand
pointatherbody.Theywouldpointatherforlettingherskinshow.Lettingherskinbreathe.
Shewalksconfidently,confidentofherself,confidentofherbeautyandshecracksthe
pavementasshewalks.Youreyesmeetandyouslipasmile,youreinthisnightrace
together,youprayforhersafety.Theresonlythreeblocksleft.

Theresnowableakandcoldlightilluminatingthestreetforyou.Thislightcomesfroma
conveniencestoreyoucouldseefromadistance.Fouryoungmencomeoutofthedoor,
theyareholdingbeersandlightingtheircigarettes.Oneofthemdoesntbelongtothegroup
andsoheputshisheadphonesandkeepsonwalkingwithhiscigarettelit.Thatseemsalien
toyou,youwouldntdothat.Itmightfilltheemptyspacearoundyou,fillingitwithmusic,but
itsarisk.Oneyouwonttake.Youscrutinizethemcarefully,atfirsttheydontseem
dangerousbutyoucanttellcanyou?Theresnootherway.Youmightbejudgingthemtoo
harshlybutyouwouldpreferforthemnottobethere.Youwouldalsoprefernottobehere
yourself.Soyouspeedupthepaceofyourstepsandfixyoureyestothegroundyourheart
beatingfast.Youcanheartherustlingoftheirclothesasyouapproachandrememberthat
timeyoucalledafriendcryingbecauseamanhadshoutedsomethingatyouinthestreet
andhetoldyouyoushouldfeelflatteredWomenaresohardtopleasehesaidbuthecould
notunderstand.Youarewalkingrightnexttothemandfillyourlungswiththesmelloftheir
cigarettes.OneofthemsaysloudlyWontyoucomewithussweetthing?Thisfeeling,this
weightpullingyoudown,compressingyou.Yourheartskipsabeatasyourhandsgetcolder
butthisisnotthejuvenilethrillyougetfrombeingcalledbeautiful.Youwanttolookathis
face,toliftyoureyesatlastandspitandshowthemjusthowsweetyouare,butyoucant.
Youfeelpowerlessatthisidea,youfeelfragileandtransparent.Youwishyouhadaccepted
theofferingofsomeonewalkingyouhome,maleofcourse.Maybeifyouwerewithanother
mantheywouldntsayanything.Maybetheywouldbescaredthemselvestosaysomething
andtheywouldfeelrestricted,notallowedtotakeupanyspaceasyoufeelrightnow.But
youalonewontposeanydanger.Youdontbelongtosomeoneandthereforeyoudont
needtoberespected.

Youdontanswer,youkeeponwalkingbutheinsistsWhataboutasmile?Sexy.This
makesyouwanttothrowup,hiswordscrawlingonyourskinandthatstupidgrinthatshows

histeethassharpasfangs.Andthosesamewordshavebeendirectedto15yearolds,you
rememberhowitfelt.Youclenchyourfistsbutnotveryhardorelsehewillnotice.Youkeep
yourfacestill,blank,absentmaybejustladylike.Youwillonlyhavetoendurethisalittle
longerBitchyouhearhimwhisperandhecontinuestosmokewiththeothers.Thewordis
notwhatslapsyourfacebutthefactthatyouprefernottosayanything,nothingsweet,
nothingsexyandnothingbitchy.Youshouldsaysomethingifyoudontliketheir
complimentssomeonesaidbutthoseworddontfeellikecomplimentstheyfeellikeworms
insideyourearsandyoucantspeakbecauseyoujawhurtsasifitwastryingtoprotectyou.
Theresonlytwoblocksleft.

Youthinkaboutthewomanfrombefore,youhopesheissafeinherhomebynowwhereno
onecantellhersheoughtnottodresslikethat,sheoughttobeembarrassedandashamed
ofherownskin.Shewonthideherwomanhoodormuteherwords.Andregardlessofthat
therewouldbesomeonewhowouldthinkhervoicewouldbetooquiettohearitstillthey
wouldcallheranicegirl.Butyoutookaglimpseintotheuniverseshewascarryinginside,
infiniteandeverexpanding.Youwouldslapanyonewhotriedtohurtherevenifyourmouth
tastedlikeironandyourvoicestartedtobreakandyouwouldtellherthatshedeservesto
beallshewantstobe.Theresonlyoneblockleftbutyoueyesarenowfilledwithfireasyou
pressyourkeysinsideofyourpockets.Tomorrowyouaretakingthenightshiftanyways.
Tomorrowtherewillbeanotherodyssey,anotherwoman,anothergroupofwolveslurkingin
thedark.Beingawomanisnotaneasythingbutsomeonehastodoitafterall.

Wordcount:998

Bibliography

KathleenBarry."TheVaginaonTrial:TheInstitutionandPsychologyofRape."StopRape(1971)
Retreivedfrom:https://www.uic.edu/orgs/cwluherstory/CWLUArchive/vaginatrial.html