I like to read my books during work.
I know I’m not suppose too, but when the shelves are clean
And the night falls silent, it helps bring me peace.
Expect something creeps along the peace of the quiet store.
The doors open and you see the worst thing you can see.
I’m use to it, we’re all use to it. They come in, they check out,
But the thing you don’t realize is that they’re also checking out
You give them their items, and as they leave. They smile, they wink.
“Bye Doll” “Bye Darling” “Sweetheart” “Cutie” “Honey” “Beautiful”
A shiver, I’ve heard them all, but it never gets any better.
My male coworkers shrug, they don’t get it.
How come it isn’t until one customer talks about his 10in dick
That they start to pay attention?
Where does this behavior come from?
You’ve heard it before and I’ll say it again:
Why do we punish girls for showing skin instead of punishing boys for looking.
I’ll show you my bra strap
And what do you think of that?
But my skin doesn’t mean you can grab my shoulder as you’re leaving and say
“That’s okay darling”
And leaves you feeling sick to your stomach.
One day I hope to speak out to their face, to be able to call out to them:
And have them turn around and look at me, looking a bit confused,
that maybe they forgot their receipt.
But instead it’s my small glimpse of freedom and in that moment.
Nothing could take it away.
“Don’t call me that” I would say to them. “Don’t call any woman that”
Because when you call women that you don’t see them as a person
But instead an object, an object that has no worth expect how much
You like to look at them.
But I know that they would complain, as all entitled men do.
Because like so many, they know they can’t be wrong,
And since they know and you know that if they say they meant no harm,
Then clearly they meant no harm. And then you’ll get in trouble for you
Feeling uncomfortable and unsafe, oh, and keep it up and you may be out of a job.
So I keep it to myself, and think of other ways to try to tell my stories.
Don’t greet a woman as beautiful, because a woman knows just how
Beautiful she is, as all women are and doesn’t need a man below her league
To reassure her that she is. We’re not dolls, or your little darling. So stop treating us
Like fragile things and start treating us like adults.
It’s not a term of endearment but rather a term of entrapment.
When a customer asks for the cute cashier to help him out to his car,
Don’t laugh and joke how she wouldn’t be able to lift the items. Call him out and
Tell him not to look at her again. Because she, like everyone else in the store,
Is a human being, and not an object to stare at.
So, I like to read my books during work.
I know I’m not supposed to, but it’s a great way to avoid the gazes of the
People who come inside. Yet even when I don’t look,
I can still feel them gazing at me. And as the night falls silent,
I stare at empty words, and wonder where I too can change, and
When I can meet the gazes back without fear and be able to stand up
For myself and the other women who go through the same thing every day.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lisa Brand is a recent graduate from Cal State Channel Islands and hopes of getting her work out there. She is currently in-between jobs, but has taken advantage of these times to get ahead on her stories and novels. She has a great passion for writing and hopes to become a book editor in the future.