I want to say a thing or two about street harassment.
I have never felt exceptionally beautiful. I love myself and I love my body for all of the wonderful things I can do. However, I have never looked into a mirror and felt like I was much better or much worse than anybody else. When my boyfriend tells me I’m beautiful, I believe him, but I do not walk through life as someone like Beyonce surely does, aware that she is exceptional.
As I walk through the streets of Atlanta, however, I sometimes feel alienated in a strange way. I suffer incredible amounts of cat-calling. I genuinely cannot remember the last time that I went a day without a remark, anything from a simple “lookin’ good baby” to much, much worse. I began noticing the intensity during my first year at Georgia State and have taken care to note the frequency of the event. On a bad day, I’ll receive four or five comments. On a good day, one or two. When I talk to friends at other universities about this, they are always surprised. When I talk to friends at my school about this, there are mixed levels of agreement.
I am not sure why this happens. I don’t know if it’s because I’m really tall and pale and thus somewhat eye-catching. I know for a fact it’s not because of how I dress, because I receive comments in sweatpants and in my fancy work clothes. It even happens when I’m walking with my boyfriend. It’s endless. All I really know is that I hate it.
I want to describe my two worst scenarios.
One day, during my freshman year, I was walking back to the student housing from the gym. I was sweaty and tired. It was around 8 o’clock and in a winter month, so it was dark out already. Though campus is nicely lit, there weren’t many people around. Walking up Piedmont Avenue, I was called upon by a group of men—about five or sex of them—who were standing on the sidewalk of a side street that I was crossing. One of the men shouted “hey white girl, want some big black dick?” and began gesturing in an uncomfortable way toward his genitals to the chorus of laughter from the other men. They began advancing toward me, so mortified and horrified, I ran back to my dorm as fast as I could.
Another instance was during this current semester. On this particular day, I had already received several comments. I had run several errands across campus that day for my boss and thus been outside for a larger portion of the day. At one point, I was crossing Decatur Street and a man in a car waiting at the red light honked his horn. I jumped a bit and looked over at him, and he laughed. Leaning out of his window, he informed me that he wanted to scare me so he could watch my tits bounce, and continued laughing boisterously to himself. After an already frustrating day of unsolicited and undesired comments, I burst into tears in the bathroom of the student center.
I don’t know why this bothers me so much. I don’t know if it’s my past experience with sexual violence that leaves me so uncomfortable with unwanted advances. It’s difficult to say. I’ve become very numb to the experience—a word I’ve heard used by several other women when discussing this issue. I remember in my women’s studies class, a white male student failed to mask his surprise when women of all shapes, sizes, and colors expressed that they also experienced regular unwanted sexual comments on the streets of Atlanta.
I’m frustrated. I’m tired. I want to walk down the streets of my campus without hearing about how my ass looks in my pants or what special pet names a man has reserved for me. I want my fellow female students to be able to walk through campus without the humiliation and discomfort associated with street harassment.
I know this Tumblr post, long-winded as it may be, won’t fix the problem. My tl;dr moment is for the men reading:
Men, though you are also victims of street harassment, I ask that when you are walking down the street and you hear a woman’s privacy and body being violated by verbal attacks, speak up. If you consider yourself an ally, speak up. Anything as simple as a “not cool, man” will mean a hell of a lot more coming from you than any amount of rage on my part ever could. That’s my challenge today. And I can assure you that we will do our best to keep our gender in check as well.
Thanks to anyone who read. Go Panthers!
today’s date is 11/12/13 and that is very satisfying to me
you mean 12/11/13
Americans always ruin our fun
My problem with the Victoria’s Secret fashion show is not that the girls are hotter than me or that they’re objectifying women. My problem is that girls like me and girls with other body types look pretty bitching in lingerie too and all I see is 6 feet tall 120 pound models.
fun prank; tell women they’re only good for romance, sex, and having children. and then laugh at them for wanting romance, shame them for having sex, and act like they have to give up all facets of their personalities if they become mothers
yo… this is important.
- It tastes delicious and I’d like to indulge.
- Must be following me. You know the drill.
- Must reach 25 reblogs
- I’ll post some lists and some solos and some screenshots
- and wow such fun
- ends when I have a full plate of an even hundred number sitting pretty in front of me
I legit love her blog. She’s rad.