The Green Between the Gray
A)2:33 PM: a baby cries out from its stroller. Its mother tries desperately to soothe it to no avail
B)2:38 PM: a young man in a Barcelona soccer jersey passes by, tightly clutching his girlfriend. The two pause by a fountain
C) 2:39 PM: a small dog that closely resembles a teddy bear trots by excitedly, pulling tight on its leash.
D)2:43 PM: a woman walks by with her arms full of grocery bags. She carries a large bright pink purse
E)2:49 PM: a girl with buzzed hair and a nose ring passes me. She has a backpack with troll dolls on it.
F)2:50 PM: I hear a robin chirping at the other end of the park. I love the sounds of nature in the midst of metropolis.
G)2:50 PM: Two men wear the same khakis and light blue shirt at opposite ends of the park.
I)3:06 PMa woman wearing a flatbill cap walks beside her little boy. He wears a backpack and a polo shirt. He seems excited for the school day to be over. I can relate to this feeling.
In Solnit’s “Walking After Midnight”, the author explores how women’s roles in public space has evolved over time. Solnit explains the history behind why women have never had true freedom in public, going back to the Greek and Roman ideologies behind gender roles. Women have always been required to stay in unless accompanied by a man, leading to walking being seen as a sexual act for women. Walking is similarly associated with prostitution, which is an important fact to note in the history of public female locomotion. In the 1800s in Britain, women were kept indoors by laws that allowed their public walking to be reason for arrest. In such cases women were forced to undergo invasive medical examination of their sexual organs to determine if they were prostitutes spreading STDs. Today many women are still afraid to walk alone in public, due to the threat of sexual violence prevalent in urban environments. Many of the old gender roles that dominated in Greece and Rome are still alive today, with women being expected to stay at home while men stroll in public. Walkers in public are subject to sexism and violence, thus threatening an important feature in our society: the solitary stroll.