Reader Mailbag: “You Guys Inspired Me To Fight Back Against Street Harassment”
We get a lot of email here at The Frisky. Some of it’s really sweet, some of it makes us crack up, and some of it is just gross (no, thank you, we don’t want to see a photo of your penis!). Occasionally, we’ll receive an email that makes us all go “AWWW!” and feel a real connection with the people on the other side of the screen. We don’t know 99.9 percent of our readers personally, or much about any of your lives, so it’s special for us when we read about how we’ve had a positive impact on you. Emails like this make us remember why it is that we do what we do.
This week, Amelia and I got an email from a longtime reader that made us both proud to work at The Frisky. With her permission, she has allowed us to (anonymously) share her email with you:
So I just wanted to share a little story that I thought you might appreciate, and tell you that it’s solely because of you and The Frisky that it happened. A year or two ago, if someone said something to me on the street, or commented on my body without knowing me, I probably wouldn’t have done anything. If someone actually touched me, that would probably be a different story – but it would still be a case by case game-time decision. Street harassment always just seemed like an inevitable evil that wasn’t going anywhere so I might as well just accept it. It’s solely because of The Frisky that I’ve learned and come to understand how insidious and not OK it really is. It’s no one’s right to shout things at me when I’m just existing in the world.
Sooo… without further ado – a little story thanks to you two :)
Yesterday afternoon, my friend and I were standing outside a restaurant waiting for our other friends to arrive for happy hour around 5pm. I was wearing black shorts (normal length, not that it matters), flat sandles, and a green sleeveless top with four inch straps (not spaghetti straps, not low-cut, not that I should even have to clarify). I have always been self-conscious about my lack of a posterior, and even went so far as to buy padded underwear for occasions when I was going to be wearing a dress/gown/tight pants/etc. This day, I wasn’t sporting my fake bottom. All the sudden this guy — normal looking dude, not homeless, probably in his twenties, sporting normal looking clothing — shouts “you have no ass!” as he passes me and purposefully bumps his shoulder into mine. I stood stunned for a moment, and then the anger kicked in. Who the fuck was this guy to comment – NEGATIVELY AT THAT! – on my body, while I stand minding my own business? My body doesn’t exist for this loser or anyone else to approve or disapprove. So that’s when I started charging after him. He was carrying takeout food which I intended to under-hit out of his hands (not very mature, I know…I get it…it was the heat of the moment) but before I could get to him, he heard my sandals smacking against the pavement and actually CROUCHED DOWN and tried to hide from me! Me! The 5’6″ girl he was willing to harass seconds earlier. So I grabbed his food out of his hands (which my fellow lady friend proceeded to drop kick to the ground because she too is wily and feisty and tired of street harassment apparently) and yelled, “I’m not here for you! Don’t you ever say something like that to a stranger again!” And then, at this point, he actually RAN and HID in the restaurant next to us. I thought he was intending to go in there all along, but a few minutes later, as my friend and I stood back at our original location, fuming and rehashing what had just happened, he sauntered out and proceeded to moonwalk away from us as though he wasn’t the coward who just hid from us seconds earlier. As people sort of looked around, aware that there was something strange going on between the three of us but not aware what, I yelled “Remember that time you insulted two girls and then ran away to hide?” He then turned away and sprinted down the rest of the street.
I know I didn’t handle it as maturely as I could have, and I hope you don’t think that I’m saying you guys inspired me to act like that, but you did inspire me to take control over my own being and not stand idly by as some asshole disrespects my body. I wouldn’t be as aware or irate over street harassment if I didn’t read blogs like the Frisky – empowering, feminist and proud blogs that remind me, No! It’s not ok! So for that, I just want to say thank you. Sincerely. :)
You can reach any writer at The Frisky by emailing [firstname]@thefrisky.com. We love hearing from you!
[Image of a woman reading mail via Shutterstock]