Street Harassment Is Not Flattery

I was sitting outside a store eating ice cream with a friend when a car pulled up to a light on the street in front of us. The windows were rolled down, and there were two twenty something guys inside. They looked at us and started yelling at us.

“Hey ladies! Come get in the car with us! Lets go get a beer!”

Mortified, my friend and I refused to look in their way and tried to continue our conversation. We’d done nothing to invited these men’s attention beyond sitting outside while female. It didn’t help that we ignored them; the men continued yelling.

“Come on, babes! Get in the car with us! Come on, what are you waiting for?”

The light was taking forever to change and the men were not stopping. My friend and I stood and walked back to the store, and for the shelter and protection it would offer. The men yelled one last thing after us as we walked away:

“That’s okay, you’re ugly anyway!”

And there are people who claim that women shouldn’t complain about street harassment, because it’s a form of flattery. Flattery my ass. Far from making me feel flattered, street harassment makes me feel afraid. Because a man who feels it is his right to yell at me, a complete stranger, and that if I ignore him when he does so then I am the one treating him badly, is not a man I feel safe around. At all.

At a gut level, street harassment makes me want to stay out of public spaces, to sit inside restaurants rather than outside, and to never go anywhere alone. In these moments I tangibly feel the reality that my body is seen as public property and my words are not respected. And if that’s not scary, I don’t know what is.

What experiences have you had with street harassment? How does street harassment make you feel?

About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • http://truthspew.wordpress.com Truthspew

    I always find it interesting the degrees to which one thing is considered acceptable or not. I’m not trying to defend the idiots who did this.

    But change the situation – say you were inside and attractive guy started to chat with you.

    You do know what the express purpose is, right? He wants to KNOW you in the biblical sense too. He’s just not as crass as the guys in the car.

    • Connie

      ***I’m not trying to defend the idiots who did this.*** Good because you are doing a poor job of it.

      ***But change the situation – say you were inside and attractive guy started to chat with you.***
      You are comparing apples to broccoli now. Not sure that’s where you want to take the conversation but it’s your ball so lets play.

      The ladies ignored the men as they continued to cajole them into ‘partying’ with them. In a face to face conversation that wouldn’t have happened. The boys were loud, the ladies didn’t want to offend; in a commercial establishment the boys would have been asked to leave because they were causing the disturbance. In the actual events the boys were protected by their vehicle, a lot like trolls are by their computer.

      Were you, Truthspew, doing your best to lead into the argument that ‘girls’ are never satisfied; that we want compliments but complain when we get them? Are you perhaps thinking that the ladies were eating their ice cream suggestively? What did they do in your mind that made you comment the way you did?

      Look through your thoughts because there are some nasty shadows in there – just saying.

      Who am I to say these things to you? Just a rape survivor, a veteran of the underpaid wars, a shield maiden and ethical slut who is TIRED of hypocritical pieces of manflesh doing their best to take away my rights as a human. Practice yes means yes to walk a minute in my shoes. It will change your world.

      • alfaretta

        If this had happened inside — if a guy or a group of guys had yelled at these women about partying with them — they would have been quickly escorted out of the establishment — including calling the police if necessary.

    • ako

      So if a guy shouts out his lust at me out a window, continues even after I’m clearly uninterested and uncomfortable with the attention, and then insults me for not giving him what he wants, I’m supposed to not see this as any worse than some guy who wants sex with me, expresses it politely, and gives me a chance to turn him down gracefully? Because it doesn’t matter whether or not I’m insulted, humiliated, or intimidated, it doesn’t matter if my wishes are respected or treated as a trivial inconvenience to be pushed past, it doesn’t even matter if he’s being willfully and deliberately insulting, it only matters whether a man feels sexual desire for me or not?

      • Physeter

        There. That’s the right answer. Insulting and making people uncomfortable vs. politely and “chance to turn down gratefully”. I don’t know if there’s some history with this “Truthspew” that means people would jump all over him like he’s a rape apologist, but I think he had a valid question. And this was the valid answer.

    • Caravelle

      Wow, what a weird comment. It looks like you think Libby Anne’s problem with street harassment is that men want to have sex with her. Um, no.
      What a man (or woman or child) wants is completely irrelevant to anybody other than himself. The issue is how one acts upon those wants and how one expresses them.
      Invading people’s space and privacy, interrupting their activities, talking and acting in a manner that will make others uncomfortable are not polite things to do, regardless of what one wants.

      Also, when you call out sexual suggestions at someone from your car you aren’t doing that because you want to have sex with them, you’re doing it because you want to mess with them for your own amusement. It’s the verbal equivalent of throwing water at passers-by from your car.

      This assumption that the issue is wanting sex is something I see a lot with sexually conservative non-feminists; they see feminist concerns about objectification, or rape and rape culture, or harassment, and I guess they project their own assumptions onto those situations – to them, sex is a dirty thing that men want and women try to avoid, engaging in it only insofar as it gets them a husband but otherwise being sullied by it. Hence people talking about women “objectifying themselves” if they dress sexily, defining rape by the acts involved or their legitimacy instead of whether they were consensual… and thinking that the issue with harassment is that women want to be insulated from men’s sexual desires.

    • Christine

      Can I also point out that the alternative situation you are proposing is not one that I’d be a heck of a lot more comfortable with. Some person I don’t know comes out of nowhere and starts talking to me with no express reason? Uncomfortable enough. A man comes up and it is apparent from his behaviour that he’s trying to hit on me? Call him out for being a jerk. And yes, I have done this sort of thing. (The appearance of the man in question has no bearing on this situation. You putting it in there is a red herring, trying to change what it is about.)

      And that’s ignoring the fact that someone coming up to me when I’m inside is probably not going to be quite as insulting as street catcallers tend to be. “Hey baby” “Hey beautiful” *jeering noises* *opening the car door and yelling to make me jump* are all significantly more insulting than “hello, how are you”, no matter what the context. And if you honestly cannot see how they’re worse, you probably shouldn’t be trying to navigate social skills outside of the guidelines your counselor gave you.

      • Liriel

        “A man comes up and it is apparent from his behaviour that he’s trying to hit on me? Call him out for being a jerk.”

        But I don’t think hitting on someone is jerkish – I think it’s perfectly fine. Just as long the the preson accepts “no” and move on if the other person isn’t interested.

      • Judy L.

        Picking up on Christine’s very good points: Street harassment is completely unlike being hit on (at least being hit on by a sober and genuinely interested party). The cat-calls and wolf-whistles and other features of street harassment aren’t intended to genuinely engage women, to start a conversation – street harassment is intended to make the men who do it feel big and in control. A guy who tells a stranger to ‘smile’ isn’t interested in doing something kind or funny that would make that stranger smile – his only interest is to draw attention to himself, to make that stranger pay attention to him. And street harassers don’t play those games with those they feel are in a position to fight back. One of the defining features of street harassment is that it’s only directed at those whom the harasser regards as inferior or vulnerable.

      • Christine

        @Liriel – I know that there are situations/subcultures where it’s socially acceptable to express sexual/romantic interest in, so I should have been more careful about how I phrased things. I was specifically thinking of the cases where he isn’t open about what he wants, so that he has the fall back of “Oh, I was just making conversation/trying to help you get where you’re going/etc”, specifically so he can’t be told that you’re not interested. Truthspew’s comment brought that situation to mind, because he (?) was very carefully trying to make a situation where this was different (i.e. the man in question was not being so crass as to comment on how they looked, would they like to get a beer with him, etc.)

    • Frimp

      Two men walk into an electronics store. Both want a new TV. The first starts shouting, “I want a new TV! Give me one right now! Put it in my car! Why aren’t you doing what I say? Find me a TV and put it in my car right now! No, I’m not going to pay; why should I? Just give me a TV!” The second browses the aisles, finds a TV that he likes, politely indicates to a clerk that he would like to purchase said TV, and then, when it’s brought to the front register, pays for it. He thanks the cashier and goes on his merry.

      According to your logic, the behavior of both men is equivalent, because they both want the same thing.

    • Sally Strange

      You are a terrible person for posting this. I hope that someday you understand why that is and feel remorse.

    • luckyducky

      Seriously, you’ve never struck up a conversation with a person of the opposite sex (or same) without the intention of sleeping with him/her? I do this very frequently — both recipient and initiator. Sure, sometimes there is a little bit of an attraction element that is part of that but being happily and obviously married (wedding ring), I don’t have any intention that it is about getting to know someone “biblically” and I doubt the men do either. I’ve never had anyone give me a number (out of context) or ask me to meet them sometime in the future (out of context).

      Don’t get me wrong, I know I COULD do that and I know that many people DO. But it is entirely possible to just be friendly and chatty, no ulterior motives.

  • Mogg

    “Chat” is not “shout, persist when clearly causing the other person discomfort, then insult”. The first has at least some chance of being a two-way, mutually respectful negotiation in which either party can choose disengage with grace, the second is very clearly not, and is indeed calculated to publicly embarrass and shame.

  • Bookwyrm

    Even if it’s true that the only possible reason a man would talk to a woman is to get into bed with her (seriously, dude, what?) – so what?

    It’s not the “hey, I think you’re attractive” that’s the problem. It’s the attitude of “hey, I think you’re attractive, THEREFORE you owe me time/attention/a smile/sex.” A guy who strikes up a conversation with you in a restaurant is not the same as a guy who catcalls you from his car. Catcall Guy has already made it clear that he doesn’t care that you’re uncomfortable. It might even be a bonus to him that you are. Until Conversation Guy sends a similar signal (“I have to go now.” “Aw, come on, stay, have a drink, etc…”) it’s not the same.

    There’s nothing inherently wrong with talking to someone you find attractive. There IS something wrong with not treating her like a human being.

    • Bookwyrm

      Sorry, that was in response to Truthspew.

    • Jolie

      I guess ou just helped me explain to myself why I feel slightly flattered but overall mostly amused when being whistled at or anything like it. As the guy whistles and shouts from the top of his lungs (let’ say) “You, sister, nice rack!” I hold my head up high and ignore it; which makes him look quite ridiculous; and I get a bit of the “ha ha ha, I win, you so didn’t get my attention” little feeling of triumph. The scene in itself is quite ridiculous- that’s why it makes me amused.

    • ako

      I have had men start out with the polite restaurant approach and gradually escalate to creepiness when I turned them down, but at least there’s a reasonable chance that the guy in the restaurant is going to back off when I want him to.

    • Rosa

      There’s also an inherent power differential (which is often a threat) of the man being in a car, and the woman being on foot. It used to happen to me a lot when I was on my bike, too.

      Cars are a source of power – not only is the dude protected, if he gets mad he could hit you with the car. It’s like waving “hi” to someone with a knife in your hand. Even if you just happened to be cutting fruit when you saw them, the person you wave at is likely to be a little afraid.

  • Jolie

    I’m the one who feels at least a bit flattered at being whistled/cat-called at; and as a feminist, I feel a bit guilty about feeling flattered, but I can’t seem t help it. How I feel overall is a mix of a little bit flatterd, more than a little bit amused and quite a lot of “dude, you’re so embarassing right now”. On the other hand, when a random stranger walks up to me and politely asks something like “I think you’re very attractive, can I have your number?”, even if my answer is “No thanks, I’m taken”, it’s deffinitely flattered all the way. (Of course, unless he insists less than politely, case in which it switches to annoyed and “dude, you’re so embarassing right now”.)
    Interestingly I guess, apart from the vast majority of women I know, one thing I do not feel is afraid- even though intelectually and rationally I understand why any other woman may be (this is why I feel a bit guilty ablut feeling flattered). Maybe it has to do with my own privilege… although many women coming from exactly the same social background as I do feel disggusted and/or scared when catcalled, so I can’t really tell what the nature of that privilege may be; or maybe it’s just my personality (I’m the kind of person who often ends-up having meaningful conversations with random strangers on night buses and I have a level of general trust in people way above average).

    • Sgaile-beairt

      is it bc nobody has ever physical ly threatened you, or bc you think that nobody ever can/will threaten/harm you?? if so, why?? bc plenty of women who reject harassers, DO get chased down & hurt by them….

      • Jolie

        Not as far as I remember… I also have, perhaps, abnormally low levels of neuroticism/ far too much courage for my own good (or so I’ve been told). I know what you are talking about- and this is what makes
        me feel guilty about how I experience these situations; and makes me feel revolt. Just not fear.
        On the other hand, the one thing that makes me feel guilty the most is understanding how within patriarchal/rape culture all things are inter-connected; I mean: the idiot catcalling me will probably not assault me, personally (at least in my mind it seems very unlikely, but then again, that’s me)- but will the fact that he does it and gets away with it and thinks it is acceptable behaviour make him more likely to rape a girl in a pub who’s too drunk to consent, or to beat his wife, or to make demeaning comments about his daughter’s weight and figure, or to create a toxic environment for his female co-workers?

      • luckyducky

        I would agree with @Sgaile-beairt. I remember being flattered until I was scared one time… and now, even when I am not threatened, it pisses me off. My most 2 recent examples:
        - A man stopped at a stop sign on a street perpendicular to the one where I was walking the dog (wearing knee-length shorts, running shoes, hooded sweatshirt, and ball cap — woohoo, sexy), yells “hey baby, how’s it going?” Not scary, he was moving on but also like why do that. It is just rude because it was so objectifying. He DID NOT CARE what my response was, he was using me to satisfy some sort of urge.
        - Two men walking on street parallel to me when I was walking with MY CHILDREN and dog start woofing and growling suggestively at me. Very threatening, like why didn’t I think to call the police kind of scary. Still don’t know why it didn’t occur to me to call the police until the next day… That wasn’t the first time I was scared by any means, it was just the most recent.

    • http://betterknowachildballad.wordpress.com Djiril

      There’s also the factor of whether the guy moves on rights away or reacts badly to being ignored, I would assume. I’ve only had the experience of being whistled at from a car once, and the car didn’t stop or follow me or anything, so it didn’t seem like a big deal for those reasons.

    • MNb

      “at least a bit flattered”
      Let me, white and male, change the scenario a bit too. If the last words had been:

      “Such a pity, you’re two such attractive ladies!”
      would that have made a difference or not?

      • Borealis

        No. Not significantly.

        It doesn’t matter what you look like, it’s still rude to interrupt you for their own amusement, threatening to shout, presumptuous to suggest that you should stop whatever you’re doing to oblige them, both insulting and threatening to demand put yourself in their power by getting into the car with them, and socially coercive to put you in a situation where you have to behave in ways that would usually be considered rude (ignoring them, talking back defensively) in order to get to a place where you can go on going about your day. And underneath it all is the assertion that they have a right to your attention and obedience and that you are rude and presumptuous to refuse to hand themselves over to their whims. That is not the sort of thing that it is polite or acceptable to assert. Added to that, the people doing the shouting are usually bigger, stronger, shielded from physical attack by their car, able to get away much more quickly, and much better armed (a car is, after all, quite capable of killing the unprotected) than the people they are shouting at, and they have already demonstrated a willingness to overstep social boundaries which makes their judgement and inhibitions unreliable. They bring all that power with them when they start shouting at women. That is threatening. So no, it doesn’t matter all that much if the judgement they pass on you is that you’re pretty or that you should have been flattered they’d pay attention to an ugly like you (retaliation because you didn’t cow tow to them, not an actual assessment of your looks).

      • ako

        Did you notice that Libby Anne was bothered enough to walk back to the store for shelter and protection before they called her ugly?

      • Caravelle

        Not that I have much experience on this but I would DEFINITELY prefer the “you’re ugly anyway” to “such a pity, you’re such attractive ladies”. The former tips the guy’s hand that he was just trying to mess with you (… or that he’s having sour grapes) so it’s easy to dismiss, while the latter’s condescension is just stifling. It passively-aggressively centers the interaction on the man’s desires, completely ignoring the womens’ agency (after all it’s not “a pity” for Libby Anne that she doesn’t want to get into this guy’s car. Contrast if he’d said “you don’t know what you’re missing !”, which I might even find funny, if I were drunk enough), and it drives home how her attractiveness is her only relevant feature to him.

    • alr

      I was offended and irritated 20 years ago. Now I fight the urge to yell my age back at them because they would be shocked. People usually guess that I am about 18 years younger than I am.

      You all do know that the problem is a complete lack of social skills, don’t you? If we would stop screaming “rape culture” (and I’m shocked Libby Anne managed to write this without using that term…what a rarity), and started teaching young boys proper social skills from the time that this stuff starts at the “cooties” stage on the playground, things would be different. And I say this as a teacher who explained to many a young teenage boy that “teasing” and picking at a girl or anyone else is not the polite way to get a person’s attention and made suggestions for other ways to do so. And, remarkably, in spite of all the endless handwringing over how to change it, those simple conversations–in every single case–changed the behavior I saw in my classroom.

      • Anat

        We need to teach young boys social skills. We also need to yell ‘rape culture’ for the edification of those who missed out on the teaching.

      • Borealis

        That kind of work with young people is really important and I’m very glad you’re doing it. Thank you. I agree that having those conversations with children and teens is a big part of how we change this sort of thing. However, I don’t think “complete lack of social skills” is quite the right diagnosis in adults. For one thing, these are social skills. They may not get boys a date but I think for the most part they are getting something out of them. I suspect a lot of times that’s just a thrill of power for people who may often feel pretty powerless. If their social skills fail to get them dates, well, at least they can get back at those women who refuse to put out for them by making them feel threatened and embarrassed in public. If they aren’t showing their machoness through actually getting with women, at least they’re showing their friends that they’re tough and powerful and can get a reaction. These behaviors are learned and reinforced among peers and by the culture at large, they aren’t just what happens by default when people don’t learn. And they behaviors do have effects, not least of which is that they continue to get passed around and to get in the way of men learning better and different skills. They do make women feel less safe. They do allow men to, over and over again, practice disrespecting women, pushing their boundaries, and treating them like public property. I see no reason to believe that they don’t continue to use those skills when they do manage to date a women or get her alone.

        I really can’t see any reason why it could be inappropriate to draw connections between men ordering strange women to go drinking with them and ordering them to have sex with them. The term rape culture seems entirely apt to me, but what you call it is less important than what you do about it, and if you’re encouraging young boys and men to learn a different and healthier set of skills then again, thank you.

      • Frimp

        When the Stuebenville rapists were convicted, CNN’s correspondent lamented over the fact that their lives would be disrupted and didn’t say a damn thing about the actual /victim./ Can you imagine that happening after the conclusion of a murder trial? Can you imagine news outlets saying, “oh, the poor murderer, he won’t be able to get into a good college now?”

        There’s a good reason people shout “rape culture.” It’s because our society bends over backwards to find excuses for rapists.

      • guest

        The two things that make me question the ‘lack of social skills’ framing of men bullying women in public places are that men don’t direct that same behaviour at other men (I’ll remove interactions among gay men from consideration, for the moment, since I’m not an expert at that, but it is pretty clear that ‘he just wants to chat/be friends/say hi and didn’t notice you communicating ‘I don’t want interaction’ signals’ doesn’t explain why men don’t bother other men who are reading/listening to their Ipods/looking out the window) and the studies Debra Tannen cites indicating that men are typically as good at picking up indirect language and signals as women are, when it’s socially necessary for them to be.

      • Christine

        The complete lack of social skills (I don’t have to treat them like people because they’re just *girls*) is exactly what rape culture is. Just because you’re not naming it (and object when others do so) doesn’t change the good work you’re doing in fighting it.

      • Sally Strange

        Social skills? Those men are EXERCISING social skills. They’re exercising social skills in a way that demonstrates that they have more social power than women, and enhances their social standing among their male friends.

        Man, there’s a lot of willful ignorance and pathetic excuse-making about street harassment in the comments here today.

    • http://dukesofearl.blogspot.com Joy

      Yeah, a single whistle is one thing–maybe let you know in your 40s that you still “got it”–that I don’t mind and might find kind of flattering. It’s taking things ANY further than that which is the trouble. Like the expectation(stated or unstated) of *any interaction at all*. What Libby Anne describes in her OP is threatening and does not sound flattering at all. Strange men on the street have no right to demand the attention of women they don’t know.

      I think equating rape culture with a lack of social skills is a complete misdiagnosis, also. Rape culture has its roots in the social point of view that women exist as playthings for men.

      • David S.

        It’s not sexual, but I do get quite a bit of harassment from people in cars when I’m walking, sometimes I think primarily to make me just when someone yells at me out of the blue. I think the social power that Sally mentions extends to here; male or female, a lone pedestrian is a good target to harass. (Which is not to say that the harassment you’re describing is solely when you’re alone, but mine is.)

  • Jason Dick

    I hear stories like this and I viscerally recoil: this stuff happens? Really? What is wrong with some people?

  • Lola

    I work in an industry where I get this same kind of shit AT work. I deal with construction related people constantly, and I’m sorry to say that that stereotype of catcalling construction workers has a lovely little basis in reality. Because I am a young woman, they flirt and feel like they can hang around my desk. I squash it but genuinely do not garner the same respect as my male counterpart (we do the exact same job, started at the same time, are the same age, and have the exact same experience level in the field, although I actually have a stronger background because I came over from something related). I notice the same thing with my boss, who’s be in the industry about 20 years and is an extremely attractive woman. She’s told stories about going to meetings and conferences and being approached by half the guys there.

    Outside of work, I’ve been followed out of bars, groped on the train platform, followed down the street, etc. I used to be extremely uncomfortable going anywhere alone, but this job, plus some experiences overseas, have gotten me to the point of having the perfect bitch face in public and not hesitating to tell a guy to fuck off if they start the cat calling or whatever.

  • Sarah-Sophia

    I’ve never been harassed before in this way but I’ve had many guys gets offended when I say that I don’t like to be called sweetheart. They think it’s a compliment but to me it’s an insult.

    • http://noadi.etsy.com Noadi

      Oh yes, I’ve run into that more times than I can count. I hate pet names even from people I’m close to, from strangers it’s even more infuriating.

  • JudyV

    Men aren’t stupid. They know you won’t get in their car if they do this. Just like construction workers who wolf-whistle at you know they don’t have a chance in hell of getting any from you. This is a bullying tactic, nothing more. It’s exerting power. It’s saying “I’m a strong man, and you’re a weak woman, and I can say whatever I wan to you, and you can’t stop me.”

    Women have been advised to ignore this. Don’t look at them. Pretend they’re not there. I think this may be the wrong approach.

    Instead of looking away, which in every mammalian species is a sign of submission, and which is what these jerks want, stare at them. Look them right in the eye. Take out a pen and jot down their license number. Give them the finger. Just keep staring at them. Don’t let them see that you’ve been shook up. DON’T RETREAT.

    I remember the first time I experienced indecent exposure – in college, I was walking down a public street when someone called me over to ask me directions. When I got close enough, I noticed that I was being treated to a sight I wasn’t expecting. I ran off like a frightened deer. I felt ashamed. Why? What had I done to be ashamed of?!

    I was ready for the next guy that did it though. Early one morning, I was waiting for the bus when across the street I heard someone yelling “Hey, Hey!” When I looked over, I saw a guy in running shorts out for a jog, who had taken a break to show me his family jewels. How considerate! I promptly leaned forward a little, squinted, and said “Where is it?” He got really red in the face, called me a bitch, and continued with his morning jog. I didn’t feel ashamed at all.

    • ako

      Men aren’t stupid. They know you won’t get in their car if they do this. Just like construction workers who wolf-whistle at you know they don’t have a chance in hell of getting any from you. This is a bullying tactic, nothing more.

      Yeah, whether or not the guys who perpetrate street harassment feel lust for the women they’re harassing, I see no reason to believe they’re under any illusion it’s a successful pick-up strategy. It’s all about making women feel bad.

      • Petticoat Philosopher

        What ako and JudyV said. And yeah, I don’t ignore completely but I don’t like to give them too much if a rise is what they’re looking for. I’ve gotten pretty good with the quick bird-flip.

    • guest

      I completely agree with what you wrote, and the very few times I’ve tried it I’ve been ‘successful’ (i.e. the man has been embarrassed and retreated), but honestly I’m worried about the situation escalating and me getting hurt.

      • JudyV

        I agree, this is a very valid concern. It’s pretty common knowledge that men don’t enjoy being embarrassed, and often strike out physically when they are. This knowledge is what keeps women from asserting themselves. It’s just a fact of nature, men are physically able to control us. That’s why I advocate that we should teach our sons not to be these kinds of men. It’s not enough to teach our daughters to be on the defensive at all times.

      • Christine

        One thing to bear in mind: completely ignoring someone can also escalate a situation too. If you’re comfortable turning the tables on someone, I’d suggest that, because it shows that you’re not easily intimidated. Failing to react when he’s trying to make you uncomfortable is already going to embarrass him.

  • Amm

    I used to get this far more when I was a teenager, not sure if these guys are just that level of creepy jerks or if I just was out in public alone a lot more then, but it always made me feel scared. Of course some of those times escalated beyond the man yelling something at me – been followed on foot, off a bus, and once a man grabbed my arm to pull me into his car but I was able to run away. I was also raped by a man in his mid twenties when I was 15 and physically assaulted on other occasions. I am otherwise a privileged middle class white woman and most of my friends in the same area did not have these experiences but I think the years is spent not having a car made me more vulnerable.

    Now that I have kids I am rarely out alone so when it happens it is surprising, but still not flattering.

  • Meg

    I curse at them, flick them off, tell them to come say it to my face, give them something to think about the next time they want to yell “ooh, girl, pump that gas” or similar out a window. It’s funny – men who witness it ask if I’m ok or tell me “good for you” and women seem mad at me or unsure of how to respond. The guys in the car always seem confused.

  • Rilian

    If they had just looked over at you and smiled nicely, it would have been ok, ne? But of course you’re not going to get in their car, no matter how nice they are.
    I have had plenty of street harassment, but it’s never really been scary, except after I was raped by my boyfriend, because I thought HE was nice, I thought HE was ok, I didn’t see THAT coming, so now who knows? I don’t go out at night. I don’t wear the hoods on jackets because they obstruct my vision. I give the corners of buildings a wide berth. etc. Before I just thought the men who were shouting at me were gross. Now I think they’re evil.

    • ako

      I’ve had a number of men passing by on the street look and smile nicely, wave, say hello, and attempt to make friendly conversation. I wouldn’t categorize any of that as street harassment. And I think, provided reasonable efforts are put into things like reading conversational cues and body language (the woman who turns away from you and gets really into her book is almost certainly not looking for conversation) and respecting it when a woman tells you she’s busy or otherwise doesn’t want to interact, it’s perfectly acceptable to act that way.

      • Jolie

        Some of the most interesting conversations I’ve ever had happened with guys like this :) although we somehow never ended keeping in touch.

  • saraquill

    Most of the time I’ve been on the receiving end of these things, I walk on and ignore them. Actual harassment towards me is rare, but I still dislike a random male in the street “Hey, beautiful.” It makes me cross, as it seems that the man wants to start a conversation, but learned how to talk to women via sex comedies. If they really wanted to have a chat with a female, “Hello” would be far better.

    I’m also extremely gun-shy about these things due to one man who followed me for half a block in his car because he wanted my phone number. Why he thought this would ever endear me to him is beyond me.

    The question of why anyone would this that bothering random strangers would ever get a date reached another peak when a man, annoyed that I rejected his tacky pick up line, accused me of hating black people. Upon my informing him that I hate being hit on, which he fervently denied doing, the liar. Apparently out of lines, he repeated his line about me being racist. When I said that I am in fact black, he refused to believe me.

    I saw him around since. He only bother caucasian women, and he uses similar tactics. I seriously doubt he’s successful.

  • Raoul Duck

    One word: Taser

    • Christine

      In a less “leaving yourself open to arrest” line I suggest “cellphone”. Or, even better “cellphone camera”. They know they’re doing something wrong, and the implication that there might be consequences will often get them to bugger off.

  • ako

    I’ve had relatively little experience with street harassment. I’m not entirely sure why.

    I’ve had a couple of run-ins with indecent exposure, which didn’t bother me much, but upset a friend of mine. One guy threatened to drag me into an ally and rape me because he could tell I was trying to get out of a conversation with him, which was actually frightening. (Although less so after a minute, after I kept walking past him and he went off to bother some random strangers for cigarettes, which made me think he was just trying to get a reaction.) One guy, with a disability fetish, started out polite then escalated to creepy, and then to objectively scary when he started bothering the hotel where I was staying for my personal information, lying and telling them he was a friend of mine. (We’d had one conversation where I refused to give my address or last name or meet up with him again, the he followed me and explained he had a thing for women with my disability, which in his mind apparently meant I was obligated to date him. After I refused to have anything to do with him, he went to the hotel to try to get my personal information.) And there’s one incident where I’m not sure if it was harassment or merely unfortunate timing, but when I was fourteen and waiting for a bus, some guy flung a lot of porn magazines out the car window at me.

    The two indecent exposure incidents were clearly aimed at anyone passing by, and if the magazine thing was intentional, I think it would be an equally random “Hey look, females!” thing. I don’t see anything flattering in a guy threatening to rape me because he was annoyed with me, and the disability-fetish guy simply noticed I had a set of particular physical features and assumed that meant he was entitled to me, which is the opposite of flattering.

    So yeah, not even a little bit complimentary.

  • http://brokendaughters.wordpress.com Lisa

    I refused to believe that things like this actually happened when I left home, or that they could even happen to me – after all, I still dressed in a modest way shortly after I left fundamentalism because I was used to it. I figured that would protect me.
    Far from it. I recall several occasions, but there was one that shocked me in particular. I was walking through a big shopping street, by myself, merrily trying to find some cheap stuff for my appartment. My eye could an ad for a shop which sold vintage clothing, which I have a weakness for. I went down a side alley, and about 30 feet in I saw the shop window. I looked and did not go in because it was extremely high priced. Well, I was just turning on my heel when a guy came walking up to me and asked me for a lighter. I did not have one and wanted to continue back down to the main street, when he stopped me again to ask me out for a coffee, which I again declined. I started walking again, but he came up to me, grabbed my wrist and told me to wait, told me what he does, that he has money and he really “likes” me, I should go with him now. Again, I told him firmly to leave me alone because I had already said no. His answer was “Don’t be prudish bitch, I can see it in your eyes” and he started to pull me away. I started screaming and kicking him, which put him off enough to let me go. Mind you, broad daylight, around 2PM, just a few feet away from an incredibly busy main street. I ran off into the masses of people and saw that he was following me with some distance. This scared me so much that I ended up making my way to an H&M which I knew was going to be packed with people. Inside I went to stand next to the checkout (around 40 people right next to me, waiting customers and employees) and called a friend who worked at a shop close to where I was. I didn’t want to walk there because, again, the shop is located in a smaller street off the main businesses. She came to pick me up and walk to my car with me. Very glad her boss was understanding and let her go for 15 minutes.

    Anyway, no, I did not feel flattered at all. It was an aggressive situation, it embarassed me and didn’t make me feel good about myself at all. Ever since, I have developed a great distaste for men approaching me on the street; I always perceive that as a threat and prefer not to talk to men that way. Thankfully, me and my girl friends are friends with plenty of men who are not only understanding of our fear, but also look big and scary. When we go places, none of us women leave the group without a man bodyguarding her – sometimes not even to go to the rest room (he will stand bodyguard outside, of course…). It’s sad but it seems the only way to be safe is to pretend that the guy next to you is your angry jealous boyfriend.

  • http://lapalma-island.com Sheila Crosby

    I winder how these men would react if someone followed them down the street saying, “Come get in the car with us! Lets go get a beer!” I suspect that quite a few would resort to violence.

  • Katamaran

    This is an interesting topic to me as in my experience it varies wildly depending on where you are. In Albuquerque, where I spent my teenage and undergrad years, walking down the street/sitting at a bus stop/doing anything publicly at all is apparently serious provocation. I literally cannot count the number of times I was shouted out from cars, and there were a lot of instances of more direct harassment as well.
    Once I was walking up Central back to class and a guy on a Harley pulled over, asked if I needed a ride, and when I refused he suggested I must be a lesbian. Once I had a guy follow me around in a car and eventually pull over ostensibly to ask for directions but really just to say some crass things about my appearance. A guy grabbed my hand and wouldn’t let go at a bus stop, while asking if I wanted to get married. There’s more, but what’s more prevalent is just walking down the street as a female in New Mexico was enough to get shouted at, catcalled, ect, without fail. Now I live in Georgia and it’s not nearly as common. It still happens of course (in the last couple weeks I’ve been called out from cars and by construction workers), but far less. Since you asked how it makes us feel I’m going to be honest and say it really doesn’t bother me. It’s not flattering and it’s not intended to be, but it doesn’t cause me fear or trepidation when leaving my house. The first few times in my life I got unsolicited attention from men (around the age of 12) it bothered me a bit, but now it’s something I shrug off. Unless a guy/guys were to be genuinely physically intimidating I really could give two fucks what they say.

    I had an amusing conversation with some boys a few months ago at a club. We were outside grabbing a smoke, and they were shouting at some chicks across the street. I told them, ‘You know, in general, girls don’t like that. They’d much prefer if you approached them as if they were, you know, people.’ And they just didn’t believe me. Men are strange creatures sometimes.

  • AlphaOmega

    Wait, who named this sophomoric behavior “street harassment”? Is that the official name for it now? Must have missed that. I wonder, how does it compare to, say, ballpark harassment, or grocery store harassment ? What’s the differentiator?

    Anyway, I can’t argue with this post. I’m a guy. And I can’t stand most guys, truth be told. Most are jerks. I’ve always often along with women better. I’m quite the control freak as a manager, but I’d rather have a female boss with a heart than a male boss with an ego and no heart

    Go on feminists, you don’t intimidate me. I kinda like y’all. Just don’t stereotype and assume I’m like all the other dbags just because I’m a guy,

    • JetGirl

      Well, do you yell stuff at women from your car? Do you brush up against women in the subway, or grope them as you pass them on your bike? Is your idea of starting a conversation with a woman you don’t know “suck my cock?” When a woman makes it clear she doesn’t want to have a conversation, do you call her an ugly bitch? Do you try to intimidate her physically?
      No? Well, then, this isn’t about you. Libby Anne and the women who have commented here aren’t talking about you. As far as they know, you are cool.
      And if you see a dude (especially if you know him) behave to women as described above, call him on it. Do that, and there’s no way anyone would stereotype you as a douche. Because you wouldn’t be one.

    • Kodie

      I think this article was about a behavior that is common. If you are one of the men that aren’t like the one(s) described, congratulations! What is your problem?

      1. This is something women deal with.
      2. Don’t take it personally if you are not like the men described.
      3. It would be great if your first instinctual response wasn’t to defend your “kind” but to say “that’s terrible, I wouldn’t be friends with a guy like that, and I would say something to any guy in my company who was like that and discourage this behavior, as I now understand how harmful it is. Thank you for illustrating how disgusting some men can be so I can understand and watch out for men who think it’s ok to do”.
      4. It’s not essential that #3 is your response, but “hey we’re not all like that” is ignorance. It happens and nobody’s shitting you that it happens. Nobody said that it happens constantly and that all men treat women like livestock on the street. Why do “all” men think when something some men do women blame “all” men for disgusting violating behavior? Just continue not doing it! Good, great, awesome!

    • guest

      Unfortunately for you, the few bad apples have spoiled for all of you.

      http://kateharding.net/2009/10/08/guest-blogger-starling-schrodinger%E2%80%99s-rapist-or-a-guy%E2%80%99s-guide-to-approaching-strange-women-without-being-maced/

      How can you change the situation to make it better for yourself?

    • Noelle

      Aw, kiddo. If this guy ain’t you, then you got nothing to worry about.

    • Judy L.

      Who named this behaviour ‘Street Harassment’, you ask? Women did. The ones who were being harassed. We got a bit tired of it being dismissed as ‘Boys being boys’ or told by men that ‘You’re making this up – I’ve never seen a guy treat you like that when I’ve been out with you’ (yes, well, DUH!). Instead of allowing the behaviour to continue to be defined by the male experience: ‘Just having some fun’, ‘Complimenting women’, ‘Cat calls and wolf whistles’ (because women are like cats and wolves?), about a generation ago women decided to start putting proper names to our side of the experience, defining it according to how we experience it.

  • alfaretta

    Since as far as I can see, no one else has put it this way, I’ll say: This behavior makes a spectacle of both the yeller and the recipient, so yes, it’s harassment. Try to notice next time you see it happening that your head swivels around to see just who’s being called out. And then notice how many other heads turned along with yours. Most people don’t go out in public looking for that kind of attention.

  • http://whyihatethehumans.blogspot.com Itchy Ike

    I’ve had people yell crappy things to me from their cars, and I never felt threatened. Why did the author feel threatened?

    Because she, a feminist, believes all men are potential rapists. She saw a car full of potential rapists, not a car full of assholes.

    It was the middle of the day (I assume, since most people don’t eat ice cream at night) on a public street. She was with other people in front of a public establishment. Frankly, I can’t think of a MORE secure situation. But, typical of the feminist mindset, she believes she shouldn’t have to deal with things like that.

    Which makes me ask another question: why shouldn’t she have to deal with things like that? What makes her so much “better” than anyone else? I deal with stupid bullshit on a daily basis. Stupidity is part of the human condition. It’s the self-actualized, mature adults who are able to tolerate it without devolving into accusations and thought control.

    What’s worse, she responded with typical female passivity — just ignore them and they’ll go away. What about taking control of the situation, not being a victim, and telling these guys that they’re assholes and to leave her alone? Apparently, it’s out of the question for a woman to be responsible for herself; she has to browbeat those around her into conforming to her own personal standard of behavior so she “doesn’t have to deal with it.”

    Yes, the guys in the car were assholes. But your perceived threat was not a result of their behavior (they asked you to go out for a beer, not threatened you with violence); it was a result of your own prejudice against men. I mean, the potential rapists in the car.

    • Karleanne

      Your comment almost addresses something I think is useful, and that is what standards we can accept from the people around us. Some people (including some feminists) think that they have a right to not have to interact with anyone in public–google a post/discussion called “Schrodinger’s Rapist” for some good examples. I happen to think this is wrong, and I think layering the threat of sexual violence over some fairly innocuous examples of public interaction hurts the ability to call people out on actual threatening behavior. I personally get really annoyed when a guy asks one of my friends out for a beer in a perfectly polite way and she is rude to him *initially* and labels him as creepy or threatening (generally because she doesn’t find him attractive) even if he accepts her answer and goes on her way. But that is not the kind of situation Libby Anne is describing in this post.

      Here’s the thing–when guys shout out from a car, they’re really *not* asking the girls to go out for a beer. The way to do that is approach someone, make their acquaintance, and say “Would you like to grab a beer with me?” The guys doing this are doing something expressly intended to embarrass and/or hurt the women they’re yelling at. That might or might not have any connection to sexual violence, but it is in that sense already violent action. Violent action against strangers isn’t acceptable. That’s not some random “personal standard of behavior.”

    • Kodie

      I’m not sure about any of this. I have been hooted at before, but never felt physically threatened. I did feel violated though. I mean, in the way that people can violate social customs. It happens a lot though, and it’s usually the women who are the target from men who are showing off to each other or whatever. I’m not a piece of meat, so who does any man think he is to speak to another person that way? That’s why it’s a violation. They think that women are there like stock in a store, livestock to choose from. All men and women walking around and men just treat the street situations like they are shopping for a cow. I am not a cow. Don’t talk to me like I’m a cow.

    • Anat

      How many posts by Libby Anne have you read? If you had you’d have known she does not believe all men are potential rapists. See for example Men Aren’t Sex-Addled Beasts, They’re Just Individuals. And that is a misleading description of what feminist women in general say about men.

      As for What’s worse, she responded with typical female passivity — just ignore them and they’ll go away. What about taking control of the situation, not being a victim, and telling these guys that they’re assholes and to leave her alone?

      You do realize it is the traditional way women are raised to behave in a patriarchal society? And Libby Anne was raised in an extremely patriarchal subculture? So first you accuse her of a straw-version of feminism, then you criticize her for not being feminist enough. Try making up your mind.

    • smrnda

      Let me get this straight. You’re criticizing Libby Anne for ‘passivity’ since she doesn’t chase down a moving car and flip it over or whatever ‘active’ thing you think she should do. So, according to you, passivity is bad.

      Then, you say you put up with some kind of *bullshit* all the time and that you believe your just taking it is the mature way to go. So, apparently passivity is bad when Libby Anne does it, but a sign of maturity when you do it.

      So, because you have decided to ‘just take it’ the rest of us do? Whatever people are yelling at you from cars, I think they should grow up, shut up, and behave. I’m sure Libby Anne would agree, as do I. I’d like men to quit yelling shit at me all the time, and I wouldn’t say that I should be free from this sort of behavior and that you should put up with it. I’m 100% sure Libby Anne doesn’t think she should be entitled to special protection and that you should get thrown to the wolves. I’ve been reading her blog for years.

      On dealing with these situations, they usually happen so fast that you don’t get the chance to confront the assholes. Nobody is going to be an asshole when there’s a chance that they might have to answer for their behavior, or at least the odds are a lot smaller. Assholes take advantage of situations when they know they’re more likely to get away with what they are doing.

      I’ll let you in on some info that, if you were a woman, you’d probably already know. When men *invite* women, sometimes they actually mean what they say. However, a lot of the time, the invitation really just means “I want to screw you.” We’re not so stupid that we can’t tell these apart, and though a lot of guys must think they’re incredibly daft, it’s usually pretty obvious which it is.

      Also, why defend assholes? Why not demand better behavior out of people? If I was a man, guys like that would disgust me.

    • kisarita

      huh? who said anywhere that all men are rapists?
      Agressive, disrespectful, boundary violating men absolutely do have the possibility of being rapists or other type of violent assailant. No one said anything about all men here.
      And yeah while there is security in numbers, who wants to get to be accosted- even together with friends- by a group of potentially violent people.

      • kisarita

        I’d also be interested in what type of things are yelled at you from a car. Once in my life I had an anti semitic slur shouted at me. EVERY OTHER time it was a sexual harrassment- with varying levels of aggressiveness.
        And yes, BOTH are unacceptable. Why do you think this is a cool thing that people should just smile sweetly and accept?

    • Noelle

      Nope. I was 12-13 when I started hearing calls from passing cars. I never once thought the men to be potential rapists. I was creeped out because I was a kid.

    • Michael Busch

      “Which makes me ask another question: why shouldn’t she have to deal with things like that? What makes her so much “better” than anyone else? ”
      _
      Adding to what others have said: You are completely missing the point. No one should have to deal with such offensive behavior. Saying that “stupidity is part of the human condition” is also wrong – people and cultures can and do change for the better.

  • http://veryrarelystable.blogspot.co.nz Daniel Copeland

    I am male, but funny-looking, and get yelled at in the street on a regular basis. Comments on my appearance, not invitations, mind you; I guess at least in my case the yellers can’t be kidding themselves that I’m likely to welcome their attention.
    Because, respectfully disagreeing with what a couple of people above have said, I’m afraid men are quite capable of deceiving themselves as to that point. Plenty of men (imagine that they) would be thrilled to be explicitly propositioned out of the blue by an attractive stranger, and go angry-defensive when that’s not how women respond.

    • Anat

      Plenty of men (imagine that they) would be thrilled to be explicitly propositioned out of the blue by an attractive stranger, and go angry-defensive when that’s not how women respond.

      But how thrilled would they be to be propositioned by an average-looking unfamiliar woman who behaved as though she was entitled to their attention and their time?

      • http://veryrarelystable.blogspot.co.nz Daniel Copeland

        In the state of mind that these men are usually in (they’re generally drunk on either alcohol or outdoing-their-mates-ohol), available equals attractive. Note in the OP they decided she was “ugly anyway” when she turned them down. How thrilled they would *actually* be if a woman decided she was entitled to their attention is a good question; what they *imagine* is that they would welcome it, provided “attention” meant sexual attention.
        I don’t wish to make any kind of excuses for these idiots. But to get a handle on what they’re thinking, you need to remember this: men don’t get pregnant. For men, sex does not carry the risks that it does for women. Of course most men, at least when sober, are capable of empathizing with women, provided they’ve taken the time and thought to do so. The ones yelling indecent proposals in the streets are the ones who haven’t taken that time.

    • Judy L.

      Daniel Copeland: What you experience is still Street Harassment. It’s drive-by commentary by people who think they have a right to say whatever they want to you because they regard you as less of a human being than them.

      Indeed, studies have demonstrated that straight men are significantly more likely to agree to go off and have sex with an attractive female stranger who has approached and propositioned them than are straight women likely to do the same with an attractive male stranger (and you’re right about sex being a higher-risk activity for women, but no merely because of pregnancy: most STIs are more easily transmitted from male-to-female than the other way around). But men shouldn’t extrapolate from what they might be comfortable with to imagining what women might be comfortable with, because the dynamic is skewed; instead, men should ask themselves “How would I feel if another man, a larger, stronger man than me, were to say the things or do the things to me that I feel comfortable saying to or doing to a woman?” When it comes to sexualized street harassment, the experience that straight men are missing out on is being on the receiving end of other straight men’s attention.

  • Ismenia

    My experiences of street harrassment? That’s an essay not a blog comment.
    I will say that my experiences of harrassment started age 11-12 when I was very much a child in terms of appearance and frequently in school uniform.

  • http://ripeningreason.com/ Rachel Marcy (Bix)

    Two men screamed at me to get in their truck and shouted obscenities at me when I ignored them and continued walking. It was very scary–which, of course, was their intent.

    I’ve never (personally) been harassed by a solitary man on the street. They’ve always at least been in pairs, and it’s clearly done for the benefit of the other man–who isn’t always impressed by this behavior, I might add. They’re looking for social approbation from other men. If you’re with someone who’s doing this, don’t give it to them.

    Also, it’s just unfathomably rude.

  • Watry

    At 11 I was harassed almost daily on my walk home by a group of guys no more than maybe three years my senior. At first, I started swinging my (very large and solid) clarinet case in a way that left no doubt that I would use it as a weapon. When it became explicitly sexual, I finally told my mother, who marched me straight to the assistant principal’s office and told him what was going on. I wasn’t the only one having problems, and administrators began patrolling the sidewalks immediately around the school. Didn’t help much though; they just started grouping up further up the street. I changed my route after that.

    Last semester I was whooped at by a bunch of guys in the car next to mine at a stoplight. I didn’t even bother looking at them, but I almost wish I had. Unlikely the OP, though, we were both in cars, so as soon as the light turned, no more problems.

  • Sophie

    As a teenager I looked older than I was so I often got unwanted attention from men. At the time I really didn’t know how to deal with it and I would get pulled into conversations because I was trying to be polite. Looking back on it I know that those men were probably getting quite a kick from how uncomfortable I was. As an adult I’ve had my bum groped whilst going down the stairs as a tube station, I’ve been shouted at on the street and whilst working in a City bar I got more unwanted sexual attention in those few months than I’d had in years. The worst incident was when I got pinned in a corner by a guy and his friends stood in front to hide me from view. That was really frightening as I was trapped, fortunately one of my male colleagues realised I was missing and was suspicious when he saw the group of men in the corner. Now I’m in a wheelchair I just get stared at, but as I’m always out with my partner that’s as far as it goes.

  • OurSally

    Actually I always wear a wedding ring and if someone tries to pick me up I feel puzzled and rather insulted. If I was looking for a new partner I would at least take the ring off, surely.

  • xLainx

    I volunteered at our city’s public library for 2 years, from when I was 15 to 17. I usually worked weekend afternoons till closing, so often I found myself just outside the entrance after work, waiting 5-10 minutes for one of my parents to pick me up.

    It was one of these times that a handful of teenage guys, who looked older than me by a few years and larger than me by several pounds, came out of the library. I could sense them sizing me up and I could see them in my periphery. One of them said “I’d hit that.”

    I couldn’t just walk away, because I was waiting for my dad, and I couldn’t go back in because the library was closed and locked. I knew they kept talking about me for a bit, and occasionally said “Hey!” or “What’s up?” to me. (Incidentally, I was wearing (not skintight) skinny jeans and a plain high cut t-shirt.)

    I just acted like I was playing around on my phone and tried my best to ignore them, despite my racing heart and shaky hands. Finally they left, and my dad showed up.

  • David S.

    I find as a pedestrian that I get yelled at a lot by people in cars, apparently just for the fun of harassment.

  • KristinMH

    One time a pair of CITY WORKERS in a CITY TRUCK followed me on my bicycle. I dinged my bell at them and they responded by shouting sexual insults, driving too close and intimidating me.

    To top it all off, when I called the city to complain they claimed they couldn’t do anything because I didn’t have the licence plate number. (Didn’t BOTHER to get the licence number, one of the people I spoke to said.) Because apparently city workers just roam the streets without supervision, and knowing a truck was on X street at Y time doesn’t help identify it. You bet your ass I memorized every city licence plate I came across for a good long time after that.

    Scared the crap out of me, as it was meant to.

  • http://theotherweirdo.wordpress.com The Other Weirdo

    I’ve never seen this happen firsthand, not any place I’ve ever lived in Canada(Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia) or in the US(Florida, Texas, Mass). I did see quite a lot of it during the few weeks I spent in Cuba decades ago and later, when I was dating a Mexican woman(while living in Canada), she told me it was common behaviour in Mexico.

    • Christine

      Did you live in urban or rural areas in Canada and the US? I only ever had one incident in Toronto, but that was outside of the downtown area, in a fairly pedestrian unfriendly part of the city. But now that I’ve moved to a smaller city, and live closer to downtown I find it happens more often. (I suspect that this is also connected to me being out on my own more often, and to the two universities.)

  • Whitney K

    I’ve been harassed on the street more times than I care to think about. Every time it’s happened, I feel frightened and then angry, super angry because they have no right to make me feel that way. And it doesn’t matter how much I weighed at the time, or what I was wearing… I’ve purposely put on baggy, frumpy clothes before going out and was still harassed. It doesn’t matter. And then *I’m* the bitch because I don’t appreciate being treated that way. Here’s a hint: if you want a better reaction, try acting like a real man instead of a dog after a piece of meat. Treat me like a human being.


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