From a Feminist to the Jerk with Car Troubles

To clarify, I did not just suddenly become a feminist. Despite recent truths, it was not when I cut short bangs and a blunt bob, when I listened to Cherry Glazerr on repeat or when I founded our chapter of Her Campus, it was an inherent tendency: A feeling of discontent that always sat unyielding within me unless educed.

It was not until I began reading "The Feminist Theory" by Josephine Donovan that much of my awareness began creeping into existence. Only recently, had I truly felt I had become a feminist. 

Through learning theories of feminism— with exposure to ideas and theories from early enlightenment feminism and cultural feminism and the likes of Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Wollstonecraft and Grimké, I found my underlying tendencies being given a firm subtance to further inquire from. I was becoming literate to my history as a woman, and the world around me unfolded, and with this, my daily life became a battleground where men and women still were placed inside stereotypes and status roles. This one particular event I could not shake from memory. I want to hold onto it and boil my anger, but in these words the story shall rest, and hopefully you can utilize my experience to further unwrap your own feminist story. 

I won’t apologize and I will not consider my reactions and feelings towards this irrational. I was doing a favor through assisting in jumping his car, and was belittled and treated not as a person, but as a woman, still widely perceived as a nuisance with vehicles and in radical feminist worldviews: a mere prop for things relegated to our sex.

Without an introduction and only out of desperation, he approached my car with a look of annoyance.

“Are you busy?”

“Uh no, I was just—“

“Well, my car won’t start and I need to jump start it.”

He pointed and said where is car was, naming what type it was. Embarrassed, I looked over my shoulder because I could not see where he was pointing.

I felt the need to overcompensate. “Sorry, I’m not familiar with many cars.”

He grew impatient and walked away until I could finally see where he was parked. I parked and further extended my apologies as I had never jump started a car. He laughed and did not acknowledge anything I said or tried to say— only doing what he could do to get his car started.

He was frustrated.

“Don’t you know how to pop the hood?” He said in a sneering tone.

“No.” I grew frustrated. This was not my problem, yet somehow I was at fault. Morover, I was at fault for being a woman. 

Finally, I found the button to open the hood and immediately following he struggled to find the bar to keep it propped open.

“Hold this so I can start the car, because I can’t find where the thing is.”

As I stood patiently holding up the hood of my vehicle while he texted his friends and ambled aggressively by his car, the weight grew heavy. Heavy with all the apologies, all the inequalities, all the discriminate treatment idling not only this moment but so many preceding.

Was it his gendered approach to my lack of knowledge? Was it his aggressive, rude and discourteous behavior? –

Or, was it an overall projection of my own contortions?  Am I amplifying the situation now as I recollect the pieces and present them to you?

Maybe I should have learned how to do this. Maybe I should have tried harder. Maybe if I just had the chance to figure it out…


You cannot belittle me in good conscience. You cannot intercept my thoughts and mold them into a subservient response. You cannot make me feel small.

However, you CAN find another means to jump your own janky car.

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