Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sometimes I'm a Superbitch

I’ve always been small. I’m confident but sometimes I feel like a pushover. Somewhat of an easy target. Someone who people think they can throw jabs at. Whether playful or not things add up. Mixing this with my ability not to be mean, you have what is called a doormat.

But that was then.

Because of Morocco I have finally found the bitch in me. For most of my life there was always some part of me wishing I could be mean. Wishing I could give someone a piece of my mind if they cut in line. Wishing that I wouldn’t have to always wear a happy mask even when I’m pissed off. Before I was too afraid to show this side of me, if it even existed. But to survive, to stay sane, Superbitch was born.

Through my daily life I am bombarded with men on the streets who ask me how I am, who are total strangers. They don’t care about how I am, they just want the chance to talk to the American woman or any woman for that matter. I get continuous words from every angle that my only shield to is my mind. Tuning it out only goes so far.

I do not exclusively receive this treatment, Moroccan women spend their whole lives dealing with this kind of childish behavior from people who like to call themselves men. Most women can agree that ignoring it is the best tactic.

I’ve gotten very good at this. And this is where my bitchy-ness began. In American culture we can agree that ignoring someone when they are talking to you is rude. To my happiness, I’ve been very rude. I would assume that in most cultures this fact is true, but I’m just not so sure here. The men of this culture are so used to being blown off by women that they seem to have no feeling in being ignored. Even have no feeling in being told off, because all they are looking for is a reaction, whether it’s good or bad. Embarrassment comes along with rejection. But I still think Moroccan men are wearing an embarrass-proof suit. I’ve been told that they never feel embarrassed, they still just want to talk to you.

I have to walk around with my guard up all the time here. I justify most of my rudeness on a cardinal rule that we all learned from our parents when we were very young. “Don’t talk to strangers.”  I get overwhelmed daily with strangers trying to talk to me and I just don’t feel comfortable in this culture talking to people I don’t know. I don’t want to talk to you when I am going to buy my eggs. I just want to get my eggs and get on with my life.

The thing is this is working for me, but only in my mind. Continuously ignoring mens’ comments doesn’t stop them from coming.  When you live in another culture you learn how much is cultural. Being a bitch doesn’t translate in this culture. This look on my face and this attitude that I’m carrying screams “don’t talk to me” but I still get misread.

Now I’m stereotyping Moroccan men here. There have been a few handfuls of men that have shown me respect and I value and appreciate that very much. But I find out real quick who are the ones that  will treat me as I should be treated and those who won’t. The ones that choose not to treat me with respect,  I have no time for.

I’m not saying that bitchy-ness is now my only quality, or even that it’s a good quality. I’m just saying that I think I have it now and I’m not afraid anymore to use it. There is a balance between being a pushover and a raging bitch all the time. But having a little bit of both in you can make you more strong and assertive. I’m sure every strong woman has a little bitch in her, she just needs to know how to use it right.

Sometimes when I feel small I like to picture this in my head. 

Yeah, that's me.