“Nice tits!” one yelled from his scooter, the one with the handlebars almost as tall as his head.
My teeth clenched.
“Nice ass!” his playmate called out.
…I’d never been cat-called by a five year old before; I wasn’t sure how to respond. These were kids I knew, kids I saw daily and talked to sometimes about their games or toys, their classes and sports teams. These kids had sweetly asked me “what are you doing?” every time I was out gardening last summer.
“Hey! Tits! Ass!” Even in their young voices, I could hear a sense of power in these words.
…I thought about the glee I’d heard in their voices. They’d learned something new about how the world works, and they were testing it out. In the voices of these children I sensed a pride in having newly discovered that men were superior to women, and that this was a way in which that superiority is exerted…
When those two little boys yelled body parts toward me that spring day, I was furious, but I wasn’t angry at them. I was angry at a world that teaches them to treat us this way, that teaches them from such a young age. So this is when it starts, I remember thinking to myself. This is the age they learn it. Five years old. Now we know.”