“She’s got the short hair, she’s probably a fucking dyke.”

No matter what day of the week, it is likely you will run into a number of drunken peers in my college town, and harassment isn’t uncommon. My friend and I are a couple of insomniacs, so the town at night no longer scares me like it might have a few years ago when I left home for the first time. I have heard the advice given to us womenfolk…you know, about staying off the streets at night, walking with buddies, blah blah blah and I’ve even been scolded by a complete stranger who witnessed one of my late night strolls. I didn’t take harassment that seriously because it only came to me in the form of whistles and compliments, both subtle and belligerent, but I absorbed them as misguided kindness or something of the like.

THEN…I cut my hair. I found feminism, saw the links between patriarchy and standards of female beauty and worth, and had my talented roomie cut it off one night after my boyfriend told me to “settle down.” Initial responses were amazing. Everyone loved it! Except my boyfriend and father, of course….but that didn’t matter. I felt liberated.

So it was around 1 a.m. on Franklin Street in this popular college town and I was walking into the neighboring town, Carrboro, to stay the night with a friend. I was walking down the street in a cardigan and pajama pants when a group of young, white, “fratty” types crossed the street and began walking towards me. As soon as they saw me they began to loudly and clumsily interrogate me. “Why ya wearing green pants, green pants girl? Look, she’s got a purple sweater, HEY PURPLE SWEATER GIRL.” They got closer and more in my face, and never one to avoid confrontation, I turned and said, “Maybe not heckle strangers, hey?”

They didn’t like that very much, and started up again with, “Welcome to a fucking college town, YEAH there’s gonna be drunk people, GOD, you fucking weirdo.” And then another “She’s got the short hair, she’s probably a fucking dyke.”

As I moved further away, the shouts became inaudible, and I walked on, angry that there was nothing else I could do. Angry that I didn’t have the guts to turn and really embarrass them. Angry that they felt they could say things like that to my face, in public, and without consequence.

I knew that the stories my short haired female friends had always told me were not the rare experiences, the anomalies I had originally written them off as. I doubt it would have ever happened that way if I had my long hair still. This isn’t the worst thing that has ever happened to someone on the streets, for sure…but I guess my point is that it should have never happened. Those guys shouldn’t feel entitled to yell at women on the streets, drunk or no. Harassment is harassment.

Carissa Morrison

Location: Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC

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.

2 Responses to “She’s got the short hair, she’s probably a fucking dyke.”

  1. Golden Silence says:

    I can totally relate because I recently had a big chop myself. I used to have dreads past my shoulders, but my hair’s now short and curly/kinky. I used to get constant sexual commentary and harassment with the long hair (“Gurl, I luv yo’ hurrrrrrrr!” or “Yo, Dreads, can I walk wit’ you?”), but with the short hair it rarely happens. However, I have gotten very ugly commentary about my hair (I’ve been called “nappy,” “ballheadit [sic],” told I look like a boy, etc.). It’s a sick world where long hair equals feminine and short equals masculine. Stay strong, and yes, you’re right. This nonsense shouldn’t happen at all!

  2. Akimika says:

    Such a comment wouldn’t fly or matter where I live. Considering most of the lucrative jobs here rely on entertainment and most of entertainment is run by gay and lesbian folk. If it were up to me, I probably would have yelled back “So I’m a dyke. I wouldn’t take any of you frat brahs if you were the last men on earth.”

    They probably would yell all that even if they were sober. Argh! I don’t think I could handle living in a town where the patriarchal image is standard.

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