October 22, 2010

What I Wore on Wear Purple Wednesday

I was glad to see my colleagues over at Fashionable Academics sporting purple on Wednesday. I wasn't organized enough to share my purple outfit the day I wore it, but I along with a group of students were spotted around campus wearing their purple-finest in support and solidarity with GLBTQ teens and adolescents and in remembrance of the bullied and marginalized teens who took their own lives due to homophobia, intolerance, and alienation. I was heartened by those I saw sporting purple but sad to see too few of us. Perhaps it was just not as publicized an event as it could have been around my neck of the academic woods? 

Yesterday I was meeting friends for a drink over happy hour and overheard someone making a homophobic joke. I wasn't sure of what to do in the circumstance. Normally I would have called the stranger out and probably been thought to be an outspoken humorless curse word (with no hesitation) but it was timed simultaneously with the arrival of my friends so I attempted to temper my scowl and respond instead to my friends the enthusiasm I felt. In doing so I quickly suppressed the anger and frustration I felt toward the jerks and forgot about it until the day following. Part of why I was so surprised by the remark was that I was in a progressive business that is supportive and sensitive to GLBTQ issues. When I remembered what happened I felt especially guilty about my silence considering it was only one day after I had worn proudly my purple dress. What should I have done?


Cynthia said...

It's really hard, on an individual level, to be confrontational. If a homophobic remark was made by a friend or acquaintance whose personal space I've been "invited into" I'd call them on it. But a total stranger? Over a remark overheard in a bar? Maybe not.

On the other hand, if it was a matter of that homophobic guy in the bar actually hassling a particular person, and I was a witness, I like to think I'd step up, because then there's a victim involved and someone's safety is at risk.

I don't think you need to feel guilty or that we can always educate everyone when they need it.

Tien said...

I'm in agreement with Cynthia. Unfortunately, people will make these kinds of remarks. It's hard to know in the case of a stranger the context in which it was made.

For example, I worked at a bookstore with an Armenian friend. Earlier, he had teased me by calling me napalm fodder. I took no offense. We joke like this all the time. Then I replied by saying that he should be a Turk, and Armenia doesn't exist. A customer had overheard the last remark and demanded to speak to a manager because he was offended. You just never in any given situation what the context was. It's just that my friend and I had a horrible sense of humor, and our banter was funny to us, and no one else.

If it was harassing someone, then I definitely would have said something. No one should be torn to shreds ever. I have stood up for many different people, especially people in retail because customers often feel like they have free reign to insult and humiliate people.

I don't know what my point is exactly, but I hope that it helps some.

roxyturtle said...

Agreed with the two above -- I would certainly call out a friend, but unless I was engaged with the person I would not call out a stranger. It's so depressing the negative attitudes some people have though. :(

On a completely different topic, you look gorgeous. :)

triciathomas said...

You have to do whatever you feel right about. Do you ever watch that show 'primetime what would you do?' my hubby always tells me how in all those situations I would be over there yelling at someone for whatever I thought they were doing wrong. I think it's important to stand up for what your believe but also not get too emotional about it. No one learns anything from a big fight!

Carol said...

It's a toughie. On the one hand, you want to do the right thing. On the other hand, the right thing isn't always clear.

And as Roxy mentioned - your outfit is great. What coat are you wearing?

Jesspgh of Consume or Consumed said...

Thank you guys for your thoughtful comments. I guess the place where I'm usually most comfortable calling someone out for being sexist or homophobic or racist is at sporting events where unfortunately the first two are especially rampant. And it is usually pretty easy to just point out that not everyone thinks what someone said is ok. And that's usually all it takes to put the person outside of the comfort zone that yielded such a remark.

Carol, I'm wearing the two paths trenchcoat from Anthropologie. I'm actually wearing head to foot anthro here... the dress, the tights, and the coat are all from Anthropologie.

Thank you for your kind compliments too!


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