Gender-based street harassment is inappropriate, rude, scary, and insulting speech and behavior from men directed at unknown women (cis and transwomen) in public places, simply because they are female. In countries like India and Bangladesh, it’s termed “eve teasing,” and in countries like Egypt, it’s called “public sexual harassment.”
- kissing noises
- sexist comments
- sexual comments
- vulgar gestures
- sexual touching
- masturbating and flashing
While women also may harass men in public, gender inequality means that the power dynamics at play, frequency of the harassment, and the underlying threat of rape is rarely comparable. For these reasons, this blog focuses on men harassing women.
Also, while public harassment motivated by racism, homophobia, transphobia, or classism—types of deplorable harassment which men can be the target of and sometimes women perpetrate—is recognized as socially unacceptable behavior, men’s harassment of women motivated by gender and sexism is not. Instead it is portrayed as complimentary, a joke, or “only” a trivial annoyance. Plus people tend to blame women for its occurrence based on what they are wearing or what time of day they are in public.