Artwork by Tara Krebs, part of the exhibition Art & Storytelling: Speak Up!
This is an excerpt from her illustrated game book which addresses the influence of patriarchy on discourses around women. This work contains language that some may find upsetting.

 

Illustration of a hand clutching a set of keys. Tara Krebs, excerpt from "You'll Distract the Boys!": A Choose-Your-Own Compendium Of Female Existence, 2018.

You’re walking home after an especially fun outing, and your face still hurts from laughing so hard at that thing that you can’t believe your friend did. Today has been wonderful, and you’re feeling happy and inspired to work on creative pursuits. About a block from your apartment building, a stranger makes a sharp whistling sound to get your attention. When you instinctively turn around at the sudden noise, he calls out to you: “Hey sexy! Show me your pretty smile.” You can’t believe people are still telling you to smile!?!? A dark cloud instantly shrouds your previously joyful state of mind.

How do you respond?

Option A:
You smile for him. You know from experience that ignoring him or saying something might lead to potential conflict.

Option B:
You tell him to fuck off. Your body doesn’t exist for his amusement.