According to Padma Lakshmi, “I don’t get up in the morning thinking, ‘I’m an Indian’ or ‘I’m a woman’ or ‘I’m a person of color’ or ‘I’m this or I’m that.’ I get up thinking, ‘Alright, what can I do to accomplish what I find interesting in the world?’ I never start from a place of my ethnicity or my gender, I start from a place of ambition and just curiosity about the world I live in and enthusiasm for being active, mentally and physically.”
I have to say, reading this quote on Jezebel today really irked me. Can one really remove, or ignore certain positionalities for how they exist in the world? Can we simply deny the politics of our location? I am many things. I understand Padma Lakshmi is also many things. However, we all come into being with various locations. For example, as Lachrista, I am a woman; I am Italian. I am white. I am low to middle-class. I am a feminist. All of these positions influence how I see the world, and how I place myself in the world.
Unlike Lakshmi, I am reminded I am female every time I walk alone at night, which is more often than not. Unlike Lakshmi, I am reminded each time I get groceries with my Food Stamps that I am not “well-off” financially. So, it irks me that Padma Lakshmi can have such a cavalier attitude about all of this. Sure, it would be great to not have to think about what sex, race, or class you are, but the reality is, we all are faced with it in some way.
Back to being reminded of my sex, if I am walking alone at night and I see a man behind me, I may cross the street. I am constantly aware that I could be raped/sexually assaulted at any second and that my chances are higher if it is dark out and I am alone. Needless to say, this puts a damper on my social life. Many people have acted as though I was a “baby” about it all. Most of these people have been men, but some were women. I will not go to certain areas at night alone, especially if I must take public transit. Not everyone appears to understand, and I’m tired of getting shit for it. I’m surprised more women are not as hyper vigilant as me. I mean, I know it sucks, but it’s a real fear. It’s always in the front of my mind at night, and in the back of mind all other times.
So, I’m sorry Padma Lakshmi, if I don’t agree with you. It must be nice to be so “free.” I’m sorry that I can’t seem to start my day from a place of “ambition” and “curiosity.” It must be nice… but I’d rather be realistic, then naive.