Next week, I’m celebrating a BIG birthday: 30! In acknowledgment of the fact that I’ve spent over half of my 20s working at The Frisky, I’m going to reach down deep into to archives and revisit some old posts. I’ll examine what I wrote at the time and how that has or hasn’t changed. If you have any suggestions of old posts you’d like me to revisit, tell me in the comments or shoot me an email at Jessica@TheFrisky.com. Earlier this week I wrote about “Why I Like Being Called A Slut In Bed.” Next up is … Keep reading »
After moving to Philadelphia from Fort Collins, Colorado, artist Hannah Price started experiencing street harassment for the first time, and she came up with a novel way to respond to it: she turned her camera on the men who catcalled her. In a fascinating interview with The Morning News, Price describes how she takes the portraits: “Once a guy catcalls me, depending on the situation, I would either candidly take their photograph or walk up to them and ask if I can take their photograph. They usually agree and we talk about our lives as I make their portrait.” Keep reading »
Yesterday, I debuted my new Phillip Lim for Target sweatshirt in What Are We Wearing and on the streets of NYC. The pop art-inspired crewneck sweatshirt says BOOM in bright red letters on the front and I seriously dig it. But there’s one problem. Yesterday, no less than three men were inspired to integrate the word “boom” into their catcalling repertoire. I heard the following as I ran errands and then made my way home after work:
- “Mmmm, mmm, boom boom boom, girl.” — guy in a car who pulled up next to me at a crosswalk
- “Ooh, BOOM. I like that.” — dude walking towards me, who emphasized his point by lasciviously licking his lips
- “Damn, I’d bet you’d make me go boom. What’s your name?” — guy behind me in line at the deli
So yeah, consider yourself warned. Still gonna rock the hell out of my sweatshirt, even if bitch face becomes its necessary accessory.
It ended as quickly as it started. I felt his hand squeeze my butt, heard him shout “Nice!” and caught a glimpse of his back as he bolted off the subway car. I stood there, clutching the metal pole, utterly paralyzed. Did that really just happen? Did a random man just grab me and proceed to proudly proclaim to the B train that he had violated me?
Yes. It did.
I stood there, stunned. I began looking back and forth, desperately searching for a forgiving pair of eyes, a sympathetic nod of the head. Instead, I saw two young men smirking at me, their eyes scanning my Betsey Johnson dress, as if to remind me that what had just happened, if it was anything at all, was something I had brought on myself. Keep reading »
This weekend I was riding the A train, as I do nearly every day, and I received the first stranger comment about my weight in a long time. He had been sitting next to me for several stops and was talking to another girl with a stuffed Nintendo Mario character backpack near us, clearly trying to pick her up. I suspected he was drunk. I kept reading my book and said, “Excuse me,” as I walked past him when we got to my stop.
He loudly said to my back, “You should go on a diet,” as I was getting off the train. I had a pause waiting for the doors to open. Usually I ignore these kinds of things, but this time I turned to the 20-something white dude, looked him dead in the eye and said, “My body is none of your business, nor is anyone else’s.”
He started to rebut as I got off the train. I just kept going. I realized as I was walking away I said that not so much to change his mind but for the benefit of anyone else listening that might think it’s okay to talk about someone else’s body. Keep reading »
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 »