Wednesday, 21 January 2015

An Address To All Men Who Seem To Have The Urge To Share Their Opinion On Women's Appearances On The Streets, Where Said Opinion Is Unwelcome.

Disclaimer: Men are also harassed on the street and that is equally unacceptable - the focus of this article is simply based on my own experiences and feelings as a teenage girl.

Catcalling in the street - it’s offensive, unnecessary and downright uncomfortable. When I put my clothes on in the morning, not once do I think ‘oh golly I do hope some misogynistic a**hole will comment on how I look today’, I dress hoping to look how I want to look, whether other people like it or not. I know that on some days I’ll wear a baggy shirt and my tracksuits because I’m not in the mood to wear anything that doesn’t closely resemble pajamas, but there will be the days where I feel really good and want to dress accordingly.  It does not then boost my confidence when a creepy guy in his car pulls up alongside me in an attempt to grope me, frankly, it freaks me out, makes me feel vulnerable and on the most part I find it considerably distressing. 

“But it’s just harmless flattery, why do you have to be so sensitive?” Well me, I’m glad you asked that question (purely for the sake of the article, I'm not glad that question crossed your mind because no one should think like that you imbecile. I am now going to tell you why you, yes you, are in fact an imbecile.). It is not flattering. It’s not supposed to be flattering. It’s an assertion of male dominance in the form of dehumanizing and hyper-sexualizing someone. Aside from being demeaning and obnoxious, hollers and whistles lead me to think that the person emitting these wonderful National-Geographic re-enactments sees me as little more than a walking target for their arrogant assault. I mean, lets face it, “I really wanna hook up with that guy who whistled at me from his car” - said no woman ever. Every girl is accustomed to the occasional beep of a car horn going past, we brush it off saying it’s not a big deal, but it feels that the situation is escalating recently and men are becoming bolder on the streets. Last month a freaking hearse driver whistled out of his window at me. Not. Cool. It was only then that I began to look past my general disgust and consider just how inappropriate it is. Girls live their lives being objectified everywhere they go, any time of the day, by whoever wants to. The worst part is that once you’ve been harassed on the street you feel embarrassed. You shouldn’t. The amount of times I’ve gone bright red and spent the rest of my journey with my head facing the ground is countless and it's just not on. Why should women feel embarrassed about their bodies? Women should be able to walk the streets with confidence and pride without the constant objectifying onslaught of the alpha male.

More than that you never know when a verbal catcall/assault can turn into a physical attack. This fear prevents us from fighting back and giving the sleaze-bags a piece of our minds. I can’t say how fed up I am with the behavior some men deem appropriate. It’s time someone taught them how to behave like civilized human beings. Luckily, alongside the increased amount of street harassment is the ever-growing platform of social media, which allows each of us to share personal experiences and start to work together to stop this. So please bombard your twitters, instagrams, facebooks, blogs, tumblrs etc with personal experiences, it will help bring attention to this and hopefully bring it to a close.

Megan Rose.

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