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 »
I hear a lot of weird shit on the street. Many people, apparently, feel that they have license to say whatever they so please to me. Generally, it doesn’t bother me, but “sweetie”’ is where I draw the line.
The other day I walked to grab a coffee and held the door for a respectable-looking gentleman who was also leaving the building. “Thank you, sweetie!” He replied. I know he was just trying to be nice, but I am an adult leaving my place of work for a coffee break. In what way did it strike this man as appropriate to call me his “sweetie”? 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 »
Oh, FFS, America. Last year, New York City was captivated by the tale of the good-looking, really well-dressed, white man — totally the kind of guy who want to bring home to your bubbe — who was sexually assaulting women in public. The man the tabloids called the “Gentleman Groper” was later fingered as a lawyer named Paul Kraft, who plead guilty to groping or taking crotch shots of numerous women in wealthy neighborhoods like the Upper East Side or the Financial District. Here are some creepy examples of stuff he did. Gross, right? Well, you’ll be … surprised … to hear he’s gotten off without jail time. 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]
After that mild controversy we stirred up over strangers telling us to smile, this graphic, from illustrator Kris Atomic perfectly illuminates my feelings on the subject. If you feel like this applies to you, Ms. Atomic even offers this illustration as a poster – one which could be easily stapled to your forehead, or worn as a hat. Click through to see the poster enlarged.
Keep reading »
Karma’s a bitch.
Last night outside my apartment in New York City, the street was flooded with lights, sirens and a cherry-picker? Yes. A cherry-picker, along with a host of emergency personnel, surrounded a gaping hole familiar (and clearly marked, for the record) to this stretch of sidewalk. Firefighters kept gawkers at bay and I asked other bystanders, “What the hell happened?” It was explained that somebody had fallen into the aforementioned sidewalk orifice. Come to find out, the man who took the tumble was fleeing after having groped a woman on the street. Keep reading »
How many zillions of times in you life have you been told by a random stranger on the street to “smile”? While the sentiment may at first seem harmless, the implication is that women only exist to be objectified by men — that by not smiling, we’re not fulfilling our end of the bargain. It’s a subtler form of street harassment, but no less a reminder that some men feel entitled to dictate what women do with their bodies. I mean, have you ever, ever walked up to a random man and told him to smile? Didn’t think so.
With that in mind, some anonymous anti-smile harassment vigilante has been putting up these awesome posters in the Bed-Sty neighborhood of Brooklyn. Thanks, stranger, for saying what I’m thinking but never remember to actually voice in the moment.
What do you do when someone tells you to smile?
Update: The artist behind the posters has been identified. Her name is Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, and she also sells the drawings as tee-shirts.