Lemme Holla Back Atchu

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.”

The F Word

Feminism: the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.

I want to talk about the word “feminism” in this post–what I know about it, at least, which isn’t much. Obviously, the word came to use long before I had anything to do with feminism (or life, for that matter), but it is now currently lost in a sea of exaggerated stereotypes and false preconceptions. 

Many celebrities (Katy Perry, Lady Gaga) claim they couldn’t possibly be feminists because they love men too much and they think women and men are equal. To that I say, all you have to do is Google what feminism is to know that you just defined it. These particular incidents bother me because young girls, young women look up to these people–hearing celebrities spout this incorrect information simply aids in keeping them from fighting for their equality. 

Many other celebrities (Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Lena Dunham) have talked about feminism in a wonderful light, which restores my faith in humanity and keeps me sane. Thanks guys.

People that know a bit more about the movement sometimes have a problem with the root of the word, “feminine”. These people (a lot of times men, sometimes women, in my own experience) say that it is exclusionary to men. Wouldn’t “humanism” be better? We’re all human, right?

Right. However, humanism is already taken. Also, feminism’s terminology, in how I personally interpret it, deals with the work to redefine what it means to be “feminine”. Changing the perception of women as weak, subordinate, ditzy, etc. to women as strong, as fighters, as multi-dimensional humans.

As for the exclusionary bit, it kind of annoys me to be told men must be included in a term defining a movement to include women in the basic human rights and privileges. But that is a bit radical, and I do understand the sentiment behind wanting a more inclusive term. However, that’s the term we’ve had for ages to define a movement for women’s rights.

Sidenote: feminism is for everyone–men, women, trans, or whatever gender with which you identify. 

My beef: Feminism has always been associated with a radical movement. Bra burning, man-hating, not-shaving. This is not what real feminism looks like. Feminism is about inclusiveness. All genders, all sexual orientations or lack thereof, feminine, masculine, everyone. Feminism benefits everyone. A movement towards a world in which women are encouraged to be body positive and men are encouraged to embrace emotions and in which men and women and trans and EVERYONE are all equal. Truly equal. No one calls anyone “fag” or “pussy”. No one victim-blames, no one slut-shames, women are equally represented in politics and science/math fields, equally paid, and not viewed as dainty, weak, etc. No one says “like a girl” meaning an insult.

That is what I envision. That is feminism. And I embrace that movement and its label wholeheartedly. 

That is all.