[Shit Men Say to Men Who Say Shit to Women on the Street]youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5P4eVjwVd_UIt’
It’s not that we don’t appreciate compliments. It’s just that being objectified isn’t very flattering. I don’t think I even need to tell you what a widespread problem street harassment is. We all witness it and many of us experience it. Being harassed evokes feelings of shame, embarrassment, and sometimes anger. It doesn’t matter what you wear and it doesn’t matter whether you look like a model or not. And let’s face it, we should be able to walk out of our houses naked without having to worry about sexual harassment. There is no situation in which harassment is “asked for” or justifiable.
The thing about street harassment is that it seems like a problem that doesn’t deserve serious attention. When you look only at isolated experiences this may be true, but when you consider the scope of people affected and the frequency of these events a disturbing pattern emerges.
I’ve been catcalled and jeered at too many times to count. Oftentimes the construction workers on campus stare at me and whistle. One time occurrences are not a big deal, but the little incidents begin to add up.
Last week I was walking up the stairs to my apartment and pass two guys I don’t recognize. They try to get my attention but I keep walking. I’m wearing yoga pants and a sweatshirt, and probably didn’t even take a shower that day. The snigger as they pass me, staring at my ass, and one of the guys exclaims, “Man, I love yoga pants!” He says this as if I cannot hear him. I walk into my apartment embarrassed and fuming.
I’m home for the weekend and driving back to my mom’s house for the night. A man in a sports car pulls up beside me at a light and honks his horn to get my attention. I don’t turn to look at him, so he rolls down his window and yells at me, and continues honking until the light turns green. He then drives away, laughing. What a great way to pick up girls, right?
I’m downtown with my roommate. We pass a group of guys who thought it would be funny to crack a few jokes. One guy says, “If I could rearrange the letters of the alphabet, I would put U and I together.” I’m pretty much ignoring him at this point. But then he has another joke. “If I could rearrange the parts of my body, I’d put my dick in your mouth.” I am instantly blushing and speechless. This is by far the most offensive and disrespectful harassment I have ever experienced.
There are so many more incidents. The guys in my building who invite me to their drunken parties. My male friend who asks me to come over to his apartment to “hang” when he’s completely wasted. These things do happen, frequently, and not just to me. Many of my friends have faced similar situations and worse. It is blatant disrespect and objectification, primarily towards women, and it is not acceptable.
And like the men in the video point out, it doesn’t really work! Women aren’t flattered by your bullshit. Why don’t you try treating them like human beings instead of things? That’s probably a good place to start.