Ten minutes. I was hitting the 10-minute mark of just standing in front of the freezers, seemingly debating whether to buy a quart or a gallon of milk. Or perhaps unsure of which kind I wanted. Skim or whole? Maybe 2 percent? I had a pensive look on my face.
It’s the look I get when I’m frozen inside. Generally from shock. Often from fear. Almost always after a harrowing experience that’s left me momentarily paralyzed.
My allergies had been just horrific, but I’d decided to brave the run across the street to the little bodega anyway because I’d been out of dishwasher soap and milk and coffee filters for three days. As I walked up the steps to the entrance, two men walked out. Because I’m a woman who’s been trained by society not to look strange men in the eye when its dark out and they look potentially threatening, I didn’t. But they stopped in the doorway and came up close to me, speaking far louder than was necessary. “Whoa mama, look at those tits.” “Daaaaamn. Naw like really dog, daaaaaaamn.” One started masturbating and pushed up close to my face as I stared at the ground, trying to navigate around them. He rubbed himself and licked his lips as he undressed me with his eyes and loudly proclaimed what he’d do to me. Keep reading »
It’s sad that we live in a society that needs freakin’ public service announcements to tell men not to sexually harass women. (Ask me about the man at Starbucks last night who would. Not. Leave. Me. Alone.) But HollabackPHILLY — anti-street harassment crusaders extraordinaire — have made some of the best posters against unwanted perving that we’ve seen. You can check ‘em all out at HollabackPHILLY’s website. [HollabackPHILLY via Bitch Magazine]
Sometimes I’m walking outside and a guy I don’t know calls out a compliment. Sometimes I like it. I smile for a second and go on with my day. And it has been pointed out to me that this is probably very bad.
There are lots of reasons why it’s bad for men to compliment women on the street. They are objectifying those women. The women might not want that attention, and it can feel invasive and uncomfortable. It can feel inescapable. It can sometimes take on an aggressive tone. It can be harassing. Sometimes it is. And that is not OK. Really, not at all.
But sometimes it isn’t harassing at all. Sometimes it’s nice. And it’s interesting to me that this feels like a sort of shameful and risky thing for me to admit. As though I have just failed feminism. As though I owe feminism more, and I’m letting womankind down, and I have gotten mixed up and forgotten some of the basic rules and regulations. I should consult the manual immediately. Keep reading »
I’m never really sure how I feel about concealed weapons, but in this case, I have to just laugh: A woman in Longview, Washington, was walking at Lake Sacajawea on Wednesday evening when a man “aggressively”came up to her while masturbating and “suggested she should watch him,” the Seattle Times reports. That’s when this woman whipped out her gun. Dudebro tucked his dick back in his pants and ran away. He wasn’t suspecting that, now was he?
Of course the sad part is that a woman shouldn’t have to produce a firearm to be safe from street harassment or sexual assault. But in this instance, it didn’t hurt. [Seattle Times]
“Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell” is a show I keep meaning to start watching, especially because of skits like this. Kamau hit the streets to talk to talk about street harassment, asking women how it makes them feel and asking men why they do it. Surprise, surprise, boys: Yelling “Check out that ass!” at a woman just makes you look obnoxious (at best) and mad creepy (at worst). But the some of the men Kamau talked to don’t seem to get it. They think women “really like it.” There’s this one guy who insists that women “really like” being hollered at by strangers. Hmm, maybe he hasn’t considered he’s the one who actually enjoys making women uncomfortable? Oh, obliviousness.
Living in New York City means getting used to street harassment. In the past few years, my name has been Baby, Sexy, Bitch, and Hey You, Why Don’t You Smile? I’ve learned when to give the finger and when to hide. My friend Jen Dziura, a life coaching columnist, advises women that the best way to counter street harassment is to walk calmly up to the whistler or catcaller in question and politely let him know that he needs to learn how to speak to women in a respectful way.
It’s because of her that I finally said something to the Hasidic men who harass me in my neighborhood. Keep reading »
You remember Chescaleigh from the “Shit White Girls Say To Black Girls” videos? Of course you do. She’s back, this time with a new video about street harassment in which she plays both the loser with no game “hssssss”-ing her on the street and the woman minding-her-own business who has to deal with his catcalls. “Here’s what I don’t understand,” she says. “Are these guys really so desperate, horny, and insecure about their penis size that they are willing to hit on anything? And I mean anything, because they don’t really seem to discriminate.” Yes, Chescaleigh, they really are. Clearly I need to tell you about the time I was catcalled last summer while wearing a fucking eyepatch. [YouTube]