IT’S BEEN SOOOO LONG SINCE I’VE BLOGGED. LET’S GET RIGHT TO IT, SHALL WE?
So. Topic for today that I’m going to share my thoughts on is catcalling, AKA street harassment. Hollering at women, giving them unwanted attention, no matter what kind, as they are simply trying to go about their days.
Street harassment happens to every woman. Some don’t mind it, but it irks me to my core. It is my biggest pet peeve.
Why Street Harassment Suckz
Street harassment is all about power and male entitlement. Harassers believe that they are entitled to a woman’s body and that they have the right to tell her what they think about it. Harassers believe that the woman should be flattered, and that she wants to hear what they think. IMHO, harassing women like that, I’m gonna say, has never resulted in a woman turning around and saying, “Oh my god, let’s go on a date since you just whistled at me and commented on my ass! THAT is what I look for in a man.”
I believe that the reason that some women take catcalling as a compliment is that society has a habit of telling them their self worth comes from male attention. Male attention is to be sought after, and you should be grateful you got it. It should make you feel good that a man wanted to talk to you, and it doesn’t matter whether you wanted him to or not. (My interpretation: Your wants and needs, since you are a woman, are less important.)
There is a video that’s gone viral: This Woman Has Been Confronting Her Catcallers–And Secretly Filming Their Responses. In it, the woman tries to have a conversation with her harassers and explain to them why what they’re doing is offensive.
Some of the men in the video say that women dress the ways they do to attract male attention. Now, this is a load of bulllllllshit. Not only is that a form of victim blaming, but it is again a feeling of entitlement. You did this for me, didn’t you? Not yourself, of course. It is a (conscious or subconscious) feeling that the woman dressed or acted a certain way for the harasser and just the harasser to give her attention.
Also, newsflash: women dress for themselves, for only themselves; no matter the dress, harassment is never excused.
In addition, multiple times in the video the harassers state that women were put on earth for male enjoyment. Many cite the Bible (Eve came from Adam’s rib, blahblahblah). This is LITERALLY ADMITTING TO MISOGYNY. THIS IS OUTRIGHT SPOKEN MALE ENTITLEMENT. *sighs*
In the video, one harasser says he wouldn’t yell at the woman if she was with a man–even if he was just her friend–because he wouldn’t want to disrespect that man. The woman herself is not worthy of this respect. That respect is only given when she is with a man. The harasser sees women with men as belonging to them. No matter the relationship between the two. Women are not seen by harassers as full human beings belonging to themselves.
Much of the harassment I have personally encountered has come from out of car windows, so the harasser(s) can speed by and not deal with the consequences of their actions and I can’t get a glimpse of them. Yelling, whistling, etc. Revolting.
Why Street Harassment Scares Me
For me, a lot of why street harassment is scary is because of sexual assault and rape. If I confront a harasser, I don’t know how that is going to turn out. Will the harasser become angry, violent? Will the harasser hurt me if this escalates? Many times I respond anyway, since I am angered so much by it.
It is my belief that this feeling of “entitlement” that street harassment represents can snowball into big, big problems. Greater than yelling on the street. Male entitlement can lead to the friend zone (another blog topic entirely) and ultimately to tragedies like the Elliot Rodger shooting.
I will end on a quote that strikes me every time I hear it:
“The point is not that all men are menaces to women, but that all women have been menaced by men.”