I saw the above image a few times via twitter and Facebook and thought I’d comment. A coworker just told me it’s making the rounds via the Privilege Denying Dude to make fun of guys who believe this. Unfortunately there are many who do and I’ve heard this very comment before. Men who have this belief do not understand (or care about) issues like:
- how quickly street harassment can turn nasty, demeaning, and violent;
- how frequently many of us experience it and thus how annoying it is;
- how triggering and frightening it can be for survivors of rape or of a bad harassment incident (like groping or stalking);
- how it reinforces a societal message that women are supposed to be pretty objects for men and that it’s men’s rights to remind them of that whenever they want;
- how it assumes all women are heterosexual or bisexual and are interested in men’s attention;
- how it ignores the underlying racial dynamics that might be at play; and
- how presumptuous and disrespectful it is to talk to a complete stranger in a familiar, sexual way. There is a reason most men never experience this. They are respected enough to be left the hell alone.
Here’s one of the many guys who does get gender-based street harassment. Thank you, Barry Deutsch!