July 20, 2015
by Kasia Juno
I recently lead a feminist comic-making workshop in Berlin. I asked participants to create a short comic about a time that they were made to ‘feel their gender’. The comics ranged from old school office-based misogyny (the co-workers portrayed as dinosaurs) to the predicament of bathing suits and whether or not to shave unruly crotch hair for the beach.
This was my contribution. I wanted to write about gender-based street harassment, as it’s something I face on a daily basis.
When I walk out my apartment door, I become ‘woman’. At home, I’m barefoot, rumpled, under-caffeinated. I’m not really thinking about anything other than getting to work on time. But on my doorstep a transformation takes place. Suddenly I am boobs, ass, weight, hair, lips, armpit fuzz, lack of armpit fuzz. I am heels, flats, back sweat, cover up, neckline. I am spectacle. The message I receive from catcallers is that I do not have a right to the streets, that I am a trespasser. I am female and I am unwelcome.
Kasia Juno‘s fiction, poetry and comics can be found in The Best Canadian Poetry Anthology 2015, The Rumpus, Maisonneuve Magazine, GUTS, The Puritan, and SAND: Berlin’s English Literary Journal, among others. She lives in Montreal. Find her at www.kasiajuno.weebly.com