“Are you a nasty woman, Mama?” daughter Andrea asked me recently.
Her question took me off guard. Then I remembered the third Presidential debate and knew exactly what she meant.
For those who didn’t watch, here’s the exchange:
Hillary Clinton: “I am on record as saying that we need to put more money into the Social Security trust fund. That is part of my commitment to raise taxes on the wealthy. My Social Security payroll contribution will go up, as will Donald’s, assuming he can’t figure out how to get out of it.”
Donald Trump: “Such a nasty woman.”
Following that debate, his “nasty” comment became a “feminist battle cry,” on social media. T-Shirts with “Nasty woman” printed on them are now in demand, as are hats emblazoned with, “Make America Nasty Again.”
Streams of Janet Jackson’s song “Nasty” skyrocketed after the debate, according to Spotify. In the song, Janet calls men, who display bad behavior toward women, “nasty boys.”
No question Trump’s “nasty” comment has struck a powerful cord. I’ve never seen so many women open up and describe in detail how they’ve been discriminated against and treated differently than their male counterparts. Women are sharing their stories as never before. They’re talking about how they’d been grabbed and abused. How they were told to be nice, not bossy and to smile, not frown. They’ve shared their stories about being sexually harassed, and how they were shamed, demoted or fired when they reported the harassment.
All of these conversations have sparked my own painful memories, and I’m thinking it’s time to share two of those memories with you.
At 19, I was sexually assaulted in New York City, where I was living at the time. My attacker was a successful businessman and owner of the business where I’d worked. Ashamed and traumatized, I left NYC without reporting the assault.
Fast forward many years, I’m walking to the Marta train in Atlanta. It’s the end of the day, and I’m heading home from Georgia State. It’s raining. I’m in a great mood, happy I remembered to bring an umbrella.
A strange man steps under my umbrella and says, “Are you from out of this world?”
I’m caught off guard, but I sense he’s a psycho, his eyes wild, glassy. “Get lost,” I tell him.
He grabs my boobs, squeezes them brutally. I yell out in pain and horror and swing my open umbrella to defend myself.
He runs inside the nearest building and disappears.
I’m shaken, but I continue on to the Marta Station, hop on the train and go home. Once I feel safe, I call the campus police to report this psycho and try to stop him from hurting anyone else.
I describe to the officer what happened, but before I can give him a description of the man, the officer asks, “What were you wearing?”
Stunned, I don’t how to respond at first. “Dressed casually, like any college student.”
I should have demanded to speak to his supervisor or to a female officer who would empathize. But I didn’t, I played nice, when I should have been assertive and nasty.
It’s interesting how that word “nasty” has changed through urban interpretations, but it appears more complimentary when referring to men. Men can be nasty cool, skillful, as in “He plays a nasty guitar.”
While with women, the urban definition usually refers to sex: “freak-nasty, blatant, unhindered sexuality, and has an undertone of kinkiness.” Unlike the traditional definitions, which are: “smelly, bad, filthy, repulsive, malignant, ugly, spiteful, disgusting, incredibly mean and stinky, very loud, obnoxious.”
But getting back to the question Andrea asked. In answering her, I said, “Yes,” although I prefer the “cool, skillful” definition of the word, and hereafter I’ve decided to graduate from feminist to nasty woman.
For Halloween, I’m leaning toward dressing up as the good witch in The Wizard of Oz, with a hat that reads, “Good Witch, aka Nasty Woman.” What do you think?
As an afterthought, Andrea sent me this recipe for The Nasty Woman drink, a Quartz cocktail, created by Jenni Avins:
Three parts silver tequila (made by the “bad hombres” of Mexico)
Two parts cherry juice (Avins likes the one from Trader Joe’s)
One part lime juice
Pour over ice and top it with sparkling wine or sparkling limeade.
This drink should get a wedge of lime, but Avins says she too nasty to fuss over a twist.
Whatever you prefer to drink, be sure to enjoy it like a nasty woman should.
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Also would love for you to purchase my latest novel, A MESSAGE IN THE ROSES. This story is loosely based on a murder trial I covered as a newspaper reporter in Atlanta, and it’s also a love story.