Gigi Hadid Represents
Do you know the Lenny Letter? It's Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner's super-feminist email newsletter. The newsletters didn't even have a website when it first started. If you wanted to share what was in the letter, you had to cut and paste, which encourages not just throwing a link into social media and running away, but also talking about that link. It's Grrlzines in a new era, going backwards and forwards at exactly the same time.
It's glorious in its simplicity, beautiful in its absence of 'stuff'. No shitty comments from Alt-Right blowhards with their heads stuck up their asses, no advertisements jumping up and down trying to get you to click on them, no 'read next', no 'related articles', just email. A simple, quick, easy format. It's always been a joy to read, and the feminist voices raised always have something smart to say.
In today's Lenny, Lena talked to Gigi Hadid, who recently had this shit happen to her:
Some fucked-up douchenozzle grabbed her, pinned her arms against her, lifted her up, and tried to drag her away... and the headlines, if you all saw the social media share-a-thon were un-fucking-believable.
"Furious supermodel Gigi Hadid lashes out at fan and has to be held back by security after prankster lifts her up as she leaves Milan fashion show." - Daily Mail
"NOT MODEL BEHAVIOUR: Gigi Hadid aggressively lashes out and ELBOWS fan in the FACE after he tries to pick her up" - The Sun
Some of the titles have changed since the outrage, but the base assumption that women - particularly public women - are to be kind, polite, and sweet even when we're being assaulted by some fucking stranger on the street is still floating around. It makes what Gigi did even more important and obvious, and a reminder that we should always, always FIGHT BACK. Both metaphorically and physically.
Honestly, I felt I was in danger, and I had every right to react the way I did. If anything, I want girls to see the video and know that they have the right to fight back, too, if put in a similar situation. Practicing self-defense is important so that when you're in the moment, reacting from muscle memory comes more naturally to you than freezing up. Confidence in your own ability to defend yourself comes with educating yourself about it, and is a massive advantage when in an unsafe situation.
Just a reminder... you don't have to be anything anyone else tells you to be... and when they try to assume, elbow them in the fucking face, and never disregard your instinct. This is the danger that women face every day. We've been taught to be docile, kind, and loving, even when we're being torn apart on the inside and the outside. We fear being called mean, bitchy, catty... fuck that. There are many things in this world that need an elbow to the face - proverbial or otherwise.
When my mom first saw what had happened, she texted me the picture of me elbowing the guy and (among other messages of support) said, "Good girl." My mom has taught me the power of my instincts since I was a kid. She'd always be like, "OK. Pay attention to the people who make you feel uncomfortable. I want you to tap into that and be aware of it." I continue to use that intuition with the fashion industry and the people who I have to be around. It usually guides me pretty well. I think it guided me in this situation, too.
My mom was the first person who taught me how to throw a punch when I was eight and being bullied by some rich girls on the playground. This is an essential skill every girl needs to learn. Not just how to punch, not just how to fight, not just how to defend yourself.
But to fight back. Always fight back.