Second Class Citizen by Sara Wright

Second Class Citizen


When he backed me

up against the tree

inching towards me


with his big powerful car

I couldn’t believe

what was happening.

I was holding the space

for a car full of dogs

waiting to park

just behind him.


He got out of the car

And I said

You can’t do this

this spot is taken.

Six feet tall, he sneered

You can’t save spaces

in a parking lot.

I have two dogs

and they won’t allow

them in the store –

it’s too hot in the sun

I need this spot,

I tried to explain.

I have dogs too

the man replied.

Are they with you

I asked?

– Giving him

a chance to redeem


No. My dogs

are home.

Then you of

all people should know

how I feel.

He laughed,

his mouth twisted

into a grimace full of scorn,

tossed a golden mane

dismissing me.

Walked off

so full of himself

and his rights.


“You Bastard”

I cried out twice

as two employees,

both boys,

snickered enjoying

the fun at my expense.

One had the audacity

to tell me

I was troublemaking

in a public parking lot.


To them

a 73 year old

woman being driven

from a tree shaded space

while advocating

for animals and human decency

was nothing but a joke.


In the car

I cursed the man

flung poisoned arrows

his way,

knowing that nothing

would take away

the pain of knowing

that as a woman

and as an elder

I had less rights

than these arrogant

men and boys.

I am by virtue of my sex

a second class citizen

in a woman hating culture

that just won’t quit.


Working notes:

The encounter in the parking lot followed another that occurred when I tried to enter the store I have shopped in before with my two dogs. This time, barred at the entrance, I was asked if my dogs were service dogs. When I said they were I was interrogated. What was my problem? I suffer from PTSD I told them and these dogs are my support system. All this was true. “An emotional problem doesn’t classify as a reason to enter the store with animals.” What?????

You can be sure that if I was an ex-military man accompanied by dogs who said he suffered from PTSD no one would have barred him from the store.

To be singled out as a “second class citizen” twice in one day because I am a woman diminished me as a human being against my own will. Old wounds surfaced. I am full of holes that I cannot repair because lack of accountability on another’s part ensures that shame  will attach itself to me.



Sara is a naturalist, ethologist ( a person who studies animals in their natural habitats) (former) Jungian Pattern Analyst, and a writer. She publishes her work regularly in a number of different venues and is presently living in Northern New Mexico.


Categories: Abuse of Power, animals, authority, Feminism, Gender, Gender and Power, General, Human Rights

Tags: , , , , , ,

7 replies

  1. Dear Sara, my tears are flowing as I read this. I can feel it too. The vulnerability, the “lessening”, the frustration and anger. I want to “knee them” where it would hurt, but my knees don’t work so well anymore and I’d end up hurting myself.
    I ask myself, “what can we do?” The only answer that comes back to me is: Share the experience with other women in the area, and Group. and Tell, the store manager, the newspapers, consumer groups, etc. Make lots of noise, because that is what bullies hate most of all – shining light on their cowardice.
    I wish I was there and could go shopping with you.


    • I made a formal complaint to the store manager and the chain… but know where that goes… so I am with you. Sharing our stories allows us to be comforted and to comfort, but hopefully is also sensitizes us to the continuing ways that this system works to dismiss us… Women must untie… we can stop this if we work together – but first we need “women centered women” not women who are male identified and how do we solve that problem? I try to model woman centered thinking/feeling but is that all we can do?
      Thank you so much much for caring…


  2. I am so sorry you have suffered this treatment, which is not only sexist but utterly lacking in basic civility. I wonder if you will take the matter up with the store owner? I believe the law is on your side. People take service animals with them on airplanes, so how can they legally be denied entry to a store? Heart with you!


  3. That is a very sad–but too often true–story! I find the guy in the parking lot especially disgusting. Male privilege needs to be overturned because (for just one reason) women have service animals, too, and anyone with a service animal needs to be respected and treated kindly. Such a sad story. I hope things improve for you and for everyone else who gets treated as a second-class citizen. Bright blessings!


  4. We just HAVE to improve things for women – somehow.
    Thanks Barbara

    Liked by 1 person

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