The current furor over street harassment is hard to miss. Everything from Internet message boards to Facebook pages are littered with gender driven discussions on an issue that has become a hot-button topic the world over. There are countless voices in the mix, but sadly, many of the loudest male opinions serve to dismiss any serious consideration of street harassment’s impact on female autonomy. The result is that many women and girls continue to feel threatened when walking or participating in public places.
This discomfort is often internalized and so passively condoned, empowering the aggressors in not only continuing their harassment but justifying their behavior. Some of these rationalizations are more common than others and are often called upon to derail any conversations highlighting the issue. For that reason, I have created a comprehensive list for ladies with responses to these typical arguments posed by men who believe street harassment is a “crazy” feminist idea that really does not need to be addressed. Keep reading »
You wouldn’t want to ruin a strange man’s day by not giving him a big toothy grin when he calls at you on the street, “SMILE!” With the Smile Bitch Training Camp, you, too, can be ready to look happy for absolute strangers no matter how shitty your day has been. [Twitter.com/JancelleJComic]
This is so RIP Society that it deserves the RIP Society crown: Whatever, a site devoted to “pranks/social experiments/randomness,” filmed an American bro wilking around Europe sexually harassing 200 different women by asking them to have sex. That’s it — hey, you’re cute, want to have sex? Most women laugh, but you can tell their body language that some of of these women are quite uncomfortable to be propositioned by a strange man. (Whatever did it a year ago with 100 women, too, and have also done it with women asking men.) Adding insult to injury, the video ends in the Red Light District, as if to prove what kind of women actually will have sex with a stranger. This isn’t a “social experiment,” Whatever — it’s sexual harassment.
This short documentary from Vocativ takes a look at just how widespread and dangerous street harassment is. In the film, hidden cameras show us the nauseating frustration of simply walking down a city street as a woman. Jen Corey, a Miss America finalist, talks in the film about being assaulted on the Washington, D.C., metro, and several women share the smug looks they receive from men who get away with violating them. [Cosmopolitan]
Make It Stop is a new weekly column in which Anna Goldfarb — the blogger behind Shmitten Kitten and Shlooby Kitten — tells you what’s up. Want a fresh take on a stinky dilemma? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Make It Stop.” She’ll make it all better, or at least make you laugh. Girl Scout’s honor.
First up, how to cope with strange men who call you “baby.” Keep reading »
A few months ago, Amelia and I were talking about rape threats against women who write online. It seems like it happens to feminist writers Zerlina Maxwell, Amanda Hess and Jessica Valenti every day. Amelia asked if any readers have threatened to rape or otherwise harm me. The honest truth is that it only happened once — on Twitter a few years ago. The man had zero followers and had only tweeted a handful of times, all of which were incendiary remarks or threats against other liberals. I didn’t suspect he posed a serious threat to my safety, so I just blocked him. Do I even have to say I’m grateful that this was the one and only time some stranger threatened me?
That one incident isn’t the complete picture, though. A better question to ask in order to illustrate the at-times unsavory experience of being a feminist writer online would be about the kinds of inquiries I get on social media or in my inbox. Nearly every single day, a man emails asking me personal information about my sexuality, for an invitation to a sex party, or straight-up propositions me for sex. Keep reading »