I am not walking sex

I am sexually harassed on a daily basis. Thinking the problem is me, I have tried to change to make it stop. I’ve smiled at my harassers, I’ve ignored them, I’ve flipped them off, I’ve thought up all sorts of female-positive responses, I’ve walked innumerable different routes home hoping to avoid them. I’ve tried wearing sweatshirts and Carhartts, wearing sunglasses, wearing my headphones.

The men catcall, whistle, shout, hiss, clap, honk, squeal their tires, tap their feet, and snap. They say damn, shit, ho, bitch, beautiful, gorgeous, tits, ass, fuck, have my babies, marry me, come home with me, suck my cock, nice dress, why don’t you smile?

Don’t worry, the remarks aren’t disproportionately generated by a certain race, class, or occupation. White, wealthy, smelly, blue-collar, Black, well-dressed, homeless, Mexican, educated, good-looking, old, immigrant, dirty, young, walking, biking, driving, sitting. No matter who the man appears to be or what his status, he assumes that degrading, sexist comments about my body are acceptable.

Now, some analysis. After all this being ‘done to’, I’m ready to take action. Notice all the derogatory phrases these men think up are male-positive and involve the male invading or being in the active position? Like I said before, I’ve tried turning that language around by saying things like, “Lick me where I pee” or using the word “cunt” in response and have found these responses useless, frustrating. Along the way, I’ve reclaimed words, I’ve manipulated their meanings in my head, even discovered some great history behind the words but all within the realm of action that my harassers define. I’m tired of being responsive, defensive, pensive. It is time for an offensive.

– Anonymous

Share your street harassment story today and help raise awareness about the problem. Include your location and it will be added to the Street Harassment Map.

6 Responses to I am not walking sex

  1. Not Guilty says:

    As completely inadequate as a tactic as it is, I generally do not go out in public without my headphones on and my music blasting. And when I’m walking, I go to my “happy place” in my head. It doesn’t stop the men from doing it, but if I can’t hear it, well, it’s not as bad. Also, I am trying to take on the task of educating men about why this matters to them on my (shameless plug) blog, http://findingmyfeminism.blogspot.com/ (I linked to this article as an example of street harassment because I think this illustrates the problem quite well – I’ll remove the link if asked!).

  2. Golden Silence says:

    No matter who the man appears to be or what his status, he assumes that degrading, sexist comments about my body are acceptable.

    The misogynistic sense of entitlement these men have never ceases to amaze me, or annoy me.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Wow! Great stuff!

  4. Alan says:

    What a great post. As a male, I am sorry for all you’ve had to endure. I think taking the offensive is right on!

  5. Margaret says:

    I have had good experiences taking the offensive, although sometimes it has been scary. The majority of these creeps are really cowards. They count on us being quiet and intimidated. I remember when a man put his hands on my butt under my skirt. I screamed and yelled and told him to fuck off. He ran away really fast. I still felt bad that he felt entitled to reach up under my skirt, but I felt better about it than I would have if I hadn’t said anything.

    Good luck!

  6. Golden Silence says:

    The majority of these creeps are really cowards. They count on us being quiet and intimidated.

    Exactly. That’s why so many of them get away with this crap. We’re a lot stronger than these punks think we are.

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