As you explain that wearing a hijab and other religious observances are your choice to do so, the coworker looks disengaged, as though he’s waiting for you to finish talking. Before you do, however, he interrupts to apologize for getting you “worked up,” then confidently declares that he’s not a feminist himself.

“So you don’t believe in equal rights and opportunities for men and women?” you ask, dumbfounded.

“Of course I do!” he retorts. “I just don’t believe in that word and what it represents.”

“Because of how feminism has historically been exclusionary to certain types of women?” you ask.

“No, because it’s an attack on men.” he responds. You look down and realize you’re out of fries. As he proceeds to illustrate his perspective through views on religion, and government, you consider eating those little crispy bits at the bottom of your container, and hear the words “women” and “ISIS” a bunch of times.

Artwork: Tara Krebs,You’ll Distract The Boys!”: A Choose-Your-Own Compendium of Female Existence, 2018. Books are available at the J-Wing Library. Installed as part of the exhibition Art & Storytelling: Speak Up! (Aug 27 – Dec 14, 2018). Learn more here.

This artwork discusses sensitive information about sexual assault and harassment that may bring up difficult feelings for some viewers.

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