MY BIKE AND MY BODY
there she goes. another backward feminist ranting about her body and her sexuality in the same breath she decries the way they hiss on the streets, they stare in her office. Wiggle your hips, hands between your legs and saying leave me alone? it was sad to see a woman so desperately confused. if she didn't want me to see those legs, she could cover 'em up.
it's time we learned, and by WE i mean ALL of us.
sexual expression does not imply invitation, or involve participation. i have this tight, short little red skirt. it wraps around my upper thighs, my belt resting at the lowest point in my back. my long, sturdy legs emerge out from under the hem, the strong muscles cultivated on west harlem hills.
in that skirt, i feel sexy. i feel powerful.
it's my favorite thing to wear riding.
it shocks people, that skirt. radical feminist, bike-saavy friends question incredulously, "you rode down here in that?" pedestrians act confused, and truck drivers seem to think i'm putting on some sort of display in their honor. none of them can consider how fucking good it feels to have the wind i generate wrap around my thighs, to have the sun shine on my kneecaps, to feel my muscles flexing out there in the world, in a value system that says my strong-ass legs look best in a set of heels, crossed demurely.
on my bike, my legs are my power. on my bike, my legs have nothing to do with you. oh, they're sexy, make no mistake—and i embrace and revel in that sexuality. but i don't seem to recall having asked for your opinion on the matter, and i hardly think them being there is reason enough for you to assume you are participant in my personal celebration.
on my bike, my body is fluid beautiful, a defiance of a status quo that imposes boundaries for me and redraws my sexuality in an imperial drive for conquest. i'm breaking out.
from Sin on Wheels by Christy Thornton
Published with the author's permission 12/12/2008
Barnard Library Zine Collection