Having the Best(ival) Time with Glittertit
I get it. As a solo female traveller, there are always extra precautions you have to take. Heck, as just a female, life works a little differently.
But I've made it no secret that I never want this to limit me and my experiences. but understand that a certain level of caution is always present. I'd be remiss if I didn't occasionally (or dare I say often) get that instinctive fear that the worst could just about happen. It's not just the anxiety talking - it's those red flags as you turn down a quieter road or the sun is going down and you're alone and maybe a little lost.
These past few weeks in Bali, I'm glad to say I've rarely had those moments. Sometimes it really is difficult to remember that this a country whose generally pretty modest when so many people walk around in bikinis and bare feet as though it's the Manly Promenade. Albeit these people are mainly the Aussie tourists that flood the island and I'd have to count myself amongst them.
But then again, even with the warnings, there have been nights where I walked home alone, risked it with a dodgy ATM or jumped on the back of a stranger's scooter (sidebar for a Bali Travel Tip: this is actually more normal than you think. GoJek is the way to go.)
But that slight panic, the red flags? There has only been one time I've felt a little scared thus far and that was from another foreigner who was getting a bit aggressively drunk. Maybe it's my feminism in action - feeling more confident as a person and as a woman every time I head away from the Aussie shores.
I've felt a sense of happy-go-lucky that might be the sun or something in the water. I mean, given that there has also been an impending volcanic eruption and I've felt perfectly calm - this may be a different issue.
So, what to do when you've found this sense of freedom and calm? Apparently, paint your tit with glitter and dance.
I'll admit, I never thought that would be something I would say, let alone do. I have sympathised with and supported the "Free the Nip" movement but never thought to participate. I'll do a cheeky no-bra day if I'm covered in layers of dark clothing so you'll never see a thing.
But as I sat at the glitter station at Bestival Bali, there seemed only one thing that was fitting. A glittertit. Because festivals, amiright?
I'm by no means comfortable with my body. If anything, years of private, all-girls schooling and training in dance will knock your self-esteem down a few notches. And I like to say that I'm a proud feminist but I've never been one to truly own my feminity in such a basic and straightforward way.
However, walking around that day gave me a sense of empowerment I had never felt. This was something that I did for me; because I wanted to have glitter on my body and thought it would be good fun. I did not do it for the guys or even, really, for any attention. I wanted people to see and acknowledge but not make a deal out of it because after a couple of minutes, it was difficult to even realise or remember that my tit was hanging out in the first place.
Maybe I get it now - this third wave of feminism. It's that women are really not defined by anything but by their own choices. It's not about exhibitionism or drawing attention to the body but recognising that it's just a body to be respected as the physical manifestation of an actual person. And that women can actually make the choice that make them feel powerful and themselves and that's not for anyone else but themselves.
Who knows if glittertit will ever return. I think, to a certain extent, she'll always be right with me, close to my chest, straight to my heart.