It continues to blow my mind that men remain dismissive of women’s complaints about street harassment, insistent that they’re “only” giving compliments and flirting, as if it’s completely irrelevant how such “compliments” actually make women feel. Brooklyn-based artist Elana Adler — like many, many, many, many women – was also sick of being catcalled and decided to turn some of the remarks she heard from strange men on the street into a bad ass collection of needlepoints. As she writes on her blog, the contrast between the sweet femininity of the cross-stitch and the ickiness of the words themselves is purposeful:
“You read one sampler. Perhaps you are amused, but as you continue reading and consider the body as an entire collection, the response changes. The inherent filth emerges. It is a beautification of an assault. Perhaps in the moment these statements are meant to compliment, but most don’t find vulgar, highly sexualized statements whispered or screamed at them by random strangers complimentary. Rather, they are an invasion of personal space.”
Click through to see a few more samples of her work and check out the rest on her blog. [Elana Adler via Cosmopolitan]
Before the movement to end street harassment really gained steam, I penned an essay about my childhood experiences as a poor, Black girl. In the piece, I detailed an interaction I had, at 11 years old with a group of men more than two times my age, where they publicly sexually harassed me while on my neighborhood street. The piece expressed the hurt, anger and rage that is buried so deep within me after decades of feeling unsafe in this world just because I am woman. This was the story of how I learned that my entire being was defined, in this society, by my sexuality. Not my intelligence, not my humor, not my wit, but access to my body.
I looked back on that piece and felt all the fears and anxiety that I have so long tried to cast aside and dismiss. Fears that resurfaced because of stories that two women were brutally attacked within the past couple of days (one of whom lost her life and the other who thankfully is expected to survive), by men who sought to gain access to their sexuality but were denied. Men who invaded the personal physical and emotional space of those women, without any permission or invitation, and murdered them simply because they were made aware of the fact that their advances were not welcomed. Keep reading »
Mary “Unique” Spears, a 27-year-old mother of three, had just left the funeral of a relative on Saturday when a man she’d never met began harassing her under the guise of wanting to ask her out. She was on her way to the Joe Louis Post rental hall in Detroit to continue memorial services with her family. The man, 38, asked Spears for her name and her number, but she wasn’t interested. The man continued to pester Spears throughout the evening until the bar’s security staff escorted him out. Around that time is when he grabbed and hit Spears. When Spears’ fiance intervened, the harasser pulled out a gun. He shot her once, and when she tried to run, he shot her two more times in the head. Then, the man turned his gun on the crowd and injured Spears’ fiance and four other members of the family. The five other victims are expected to heal, but Spears was killed. Thankfully, the man is currently in custody and expected to be arraigned on murder charges. Her family has set up a fundraising page to help pay for her funeral.
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Two weeks ago I quit my bartending job. A man came into my restaurant, had a drink, and made a lewd comment to me, while he also happened to have his hand on my ass. It’s now a somewhat internet famous event, as I posted about it on my Facebook page and the note took off. That one little pic now has almost 19,000 likes, and near 10,000 shares. My anecdote got some press attention as well, with stories published on Jezebel, Huffington Post, NYMag.com, and even as a full-page spread in the New York Post. That article in the Post likely contributed to the attention the whole thing received as the Customer in question apparently called me a “fucking cunt” on the phone to their reporter, claiming that he had “grabbed a lot of asses” but never mine. To be clear, I never said he “grabbed” me (just touched me), but I can’t imagine that the reporter made the distinction over the phone. Nor would it be emphasized by various Facebookers who were tagging and attacking him in response. You see, I made the saucy, dangerous, and arguably underhanded choice to include the name of this customer when I posted about it on Facebook. I will never know whether that was a good idea, because I will never witness the full repercussions of my actions. Keep reading »
Online dating can be a wonderful thing, and plenty of couples — including our own Jessica and her husband — have met and found love through sites like OK Cupid, Tinder and Match. But it can also be a complete and utter shitshow, especially for women. While there are plenty of cool single dudes to meet online, there are also loads of entitled, misogynistic assholes littering your inbox and refusing to be ignored. Our friends over at Whisper asked their female users to submit the worst messages they’ve received from men they refused to chat with and the results were sadly and unsurprisingly vile. Let’s hope these dudes spend the rest of their lives alone. Keep reading »