A rant about street harassment

To the guy who nearly knocked me down with his bike as I crossed the street in the pouring rain, yelling, “nice legs baby”:

Fuck you.

You ran over my foot, asshole.

You are the reason I almost didn’t wear shorts on that walk.

I love walking in the rain. Probably because vancouver is under a perpetual grey sky, and the smell of wet pavement makes me feel at home. I love the sound of the drops hitting the leaves of the trees, smacking my umbrella, diving into the earth, each a different tone, in contrasting rhythm to the beat of my heart and breath. I love the whoosh of cars sailing through puddles the depth of small ponds; the joyful arc of the water as it leaps through the air, chasing after the traffic. I love the sudden awareness of my right elbow, cold and wet, jutting out from the protection of my umbrella. I love the wet toes of my boots, the satisfying squish of mud, the mossy smell of damp leaves underfoot.

And I love the feel of gentle rain on my legs, which so rarely get to experience the kiss of wind on damp skin. For me there’s something spiritual about letting the parts of my body that are usually covered interact with the weather, sun or rain. It’s a brave, exciting, beautiful thing I can do for myself, like diving naked into the ocean, or peeing outside. Seriously, I love peeing outside. Weird? Maybe, but I always feel like a badass when I do it.

That’s why I put on shorts and my favorite boots, grabbed my umbrella and went for a walk in the rain- not so I could pee outside- so I could feel like a badass. So I could feel and see the power of my legs as I walked through the city, a privilege I have, being currently able-bodied. So I could enjoy the simplicity and complexity of that action; of the automatic heel-toe, heel-toe, the satisfying stretch of my inner thighs, the flex of my calves, the tension and release in my knees. So I could take a break from constructed thought and let my brain dance around whatever soundtrack happened to flow through my headphones.

And then you came along and ruined it.

I was in the middle of Le Tigre’s debut album. I was in the middle of a train of thought. I was in the middle of a step. I was in the middle of my day. I was in the middle of a fucking CROSSWALK.

I was in the middle of my life, and I gave you NO indication that I wanted you to interrupt it. But apparently my bare legs were the indication. Apparently my body itself is the only indication you need to ride your bike into me, to let me know what you think of it.

I know you’re not thinking about what will happen after you harass me. I know that you know that this does not qualify as flirting, because flirting would require the participation of both parties. I know that this is about you fulfilling some sad little part of you that feels disempowered- so you exercise what little power you have over someone you perceive to be weaker in order to feel bigger about yourself. I know I have very little to do with why you yelled at me at all. I know that to you, I am replaceable with any other perceived-to-be-woman’s body. You could have yelled at anyone. But you yelled at me. And I’m the kind of person who yells back.

“FUCK YOU!”

It doesn’t make me feel better. It doesn’t make me less angry, it doesn’t heal my toe that you crushed, or my spirit that you bruised. It’s a reaction that you laugh at as you pedal away. It didn’t do anything, and it was all that I could do.

You are the reason I hid my body as a teenager. You are the reason I pretended I didn’t even have a body for so many years. You are the reason I didn’t want to experience the skills and pleasures of my body for myself for so many years. You are the reason I didn’t want to share the skills and pleasures of my body with other people for so many years. You are the reason I have to work not to pick at myself in front of the mirror. You are the reason I have to work not to agonize about how much of my skin is visible to the world every day before I step out the door. You are the reason I still feel ashamed of my body, more often than I want to admit. You are the reason I have to make loving myself WORK.

You are the reason I don’t feel safe walking home at night. You are the reason I keep my keys in my hand, testing their sharp edges. You are the reason I wonder how quickly I can run away. You are the reason I weigh the pros and cons of fighting back. You are the reason I wonder if I would ever be able to get over it if I were raped. You are the reason my drink is always in my hand. You are the reason I will tell a friend to call me when I’m supposed to be home from a date. You are the reason I don’t smile at strangers on the street, because I worry that a simple smile will be interpreted as a come-on. You are the reason I cross my legs and arms and avoid eye contact with strangers on public transportation. You are the reason my headphones are always in my ears, even if I’m not listening to music. You are the reason I have to fake a cell phone conversation. You are the reason I have to make an actual call if I am walking alone.

I hate that when I am walking hand in hand with, or am even just physically close to, another self-identified woman, queer person or trans person who may or may not be my date, you will leer, say something, make a face. I hate that you will still hit on me, as if the person I am with could never fulfill me because they are not a cis, straight man. As if I can’t fulfill myself! I hate that when I walk down the street with someone male bodied, who may or may not be my date, who is white, I get a different quality of glance than I do when I walk down the street with a South Asian man, or another man of colour. I hate that you assume my racial identity, which is incredibly complicated, and simplify me into a colonial stereotype: submissive brown girl. I hate that you assume my father is my husband, or that I am going to have an arranged marriage. I hate that you assume I am straight.

You do not make me feel beautiful. You do not make me feel appreciated. You make me feel like shit. You make me feel powerless, angry, silenced. You make me feel invisible as a queer person. You make me feel invisible as a sexual person. You make me feel invisible as a human. You make me feel invisible in the spotlight and projection of your own insecurities.

You are the reason rape culture exists. You yelling at me on the street is a part of the same process of objectification that will lead you to ignore my saying “NO”. If you do not respect me on the street, then you will not respect me in a bar, in a cab, in my home, in the classroom, at work. You are the reason I feel afraid, the reason I don’t trust most men, the reason I don’t trust most strangers. You are the reason I know too many people who have experienced sexual violence or emotional abuse.

You are the reason I do the work I do. You are my reminder, not that I need one. You are the reason I am angry.

So even though you made me feel disempowered, I’m going to turn towards my rage, the fire that has always driven me to work and create. Rage will fuel my love. I am so grateful for the brave self-identified women in my life. I am so grateful for my loving queer community. I am so grateful for my loving communities of colour. I am so grateful for the feminist communities in my life. I am so grateful for the self-identified men of quality in my life. I am so grateful to my allies and my chosen family in struggle. And I am damn grateful for myself.

So when I yell back, “FUCK YOU”, know this. I am also shouting out a powerful, “FUCK YES!” Yes to a world without rape. Yes to a world without harassment of any kind, to a world without colonialism, imperialism, sexism, misogyny, racism, poverty, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, classism, ableism, ageism, fatphobia… Fuck yes! Fuck yes to honest relationships, to loving activism, to deep self-reflection. Yes to working harder at being inclusive, to listening, to being anti-oppressive in all aspects of my life. Yes to the frustration, tears and laughter that work will incorporate. Yes to learning from my mistakes. Yes to confronting privilege in myself and in others. Yes to speaking up. Fuck yes to better friendships, safer and fun sex, more art, more music, more dancing, more play. Yes to safer spaces. Yes to multiple, intersecting identities. Yes to community, to no more hierarchies and more collectivity.

Fuck you? Fuck yes. You might have run into me, but I won’t let you run me over.

This entry was posted in Body image, Rape Culture and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

90 Responses to A rant about street harassment

  1. AtheistChick says:

    “You are the reason I have to make loving myself WORK.”

    Very powerful.

  2. Fat Steve says:

    Bravo Anoushka,

    Honestly, this makes me weep for society, that you should have to explain any of these things to anyone.

    What I don’t get about these street harassers (that’s a rather unwieldy term, perhaps something shorter like ‘shitheads’ would be a preferable descriptor,) is how they don’t seem to learn from experience. Unless I live in some parallel universe, EVERY woman hates this shit. If constant negative reinforcement doesn’t work what hope is there of ever putting an end to it? I don’t fucking get it. I’m not being some absolutist claiming that complimenting women’s looks demeans them, I have plenty of female friends who love to be complimented on their looks- BY PEOPLE THEY TRUST, not random fucking idiots.

  3. Esther says:

    I think I’m gonna start saying “fuck you” to catcallers too.

    Have you heard of IMPACT? It’s a self-defense course that enables people to effectively defend themselves against unwanted sexual advances through the use of various realistic scenarios. I am a cisgender female and I now feel safe walking down the street or through a parking garage at night because I know I can defend myself.

    I don’t know if there’s a branch in Vancouver, but they’ve got courses all over.

  4. Marr says:

    Damn that felt good just to read.

  5. Annaleigh says:

    So powerful and so true Anouskha, I am with you all the way.

    I say fuck you to the men who made me feel fear and self-loathing of my body and my self with their unwanted attention starting when I was 10 and 11 years old (which sucks because you’re still a child in ‘don’t talk to strangers’ mode).

    I say fuck you to the men who assaulted me for the cardinal sin of wanting to come home from high school.

    I say fuck you to the men who often make me so uncomfortable at bus stops that I want to walk as fast as my feet will allow to the next one, only to watch the assholes walk away first because they were never there to get on a bus, they were there to punish me for being female and needing to ride a bus.

    I say fuck yes to the hope that one day other people don’t have to experience these things.

  6. Raised and socialized as a man as I was, let me say that such behavior was never acceptable in the way I was raised. My father couched it in class terms, which might not be the most fair or accurate way to state it. You know better was the mantra I was told if such behavior was observed when out in public.

    I suppose it was so antithetical to my upbringing that I can’t understand why any man thinks it to be acceptable. This isn’t to say that I didn’t have other aspects of privilege to work on (or that I still don’t) but this sort of harassment was nothing I ever thought I should do, nor was it true for other men that I knew.

    I wonder if any sociologist has ever examined street harassers in detail. What findings would he or she have to provide to us, and on the subject of cause and effect, how would we begin to address it as a society? I’d love to start that debate immediately.

  7. Esther says:

    I wear baggy mens clothing on a day-to-day basis, but I go for a walk to the park every day and I used to like to wear a short dress in the summer, since it gets hot and muggy here and I didn’t need pockets to carry anything. One day, three years ago, I wore a new purple dress with spaghetti straps that I had just bought on vacation–not very revealing at all, but I am well-endowed up top. Several men yelled at me on the street. Cars honked. One car actually pulled over to the side of the road so that the occupants could hang out of the windows and stare at me. I have not revealed my shoulders or legs in public since. My walks to the park are less comfortable physically, but no one will ever look at me that way again.

  8. Annaleigh says:

    Esther: One car actually pulled over to the side of the road so that the occupants could hang out of the windows and stare at me.

    Oh God, I hate that sort of thing. Except in my case it tended to involve making a u-turn in the middle of the road and driving past or alongside me v.e.r.y s.l.o.w.l.y and staring while I am trying to walk somewhere.

    I’m so sorry that happened to you and that walking to the park is physically uncomfortable as a result of those assholes’ actions.

  9. 4catlady says:

    The type of man who does/says sexual harassing things is really a rapist waiting to get loose. It is a frank disregard (and hatred) of women as people. Harassment needs to be considered a prelude to potential rape – and treated as such by authorities.

  10. One question. How much of street harassment can be assigned to a threat against one’s person and how much of it is just trollish behavior? The trolls I know try to get under my skin by seeking to provoke me. Could some of this behavior be merely a childish way of getting attention? Truly dangerous behavior, of course, is something else entirely.

    And how much of this behavior is cultural, which is not to say acceptable, but indicative of certain groups more than others? What if our American norms are different than norms of men from other countries, again, not acceptable, but indeed very different.

    Is yelling an expletive at someone who has made us feel violated and vulnerable the only strategy that could be used? What if we tried to turn the tables on men and either refuse to play ball, or respond in such a way that defeats the purpose of the harassment?

    All of these are just ideas I have been thinking about now.

  11. Bagelsan says:

    One question. How much of street harassment can be assigned to a threat against one’s person and how much of it is just trollish behavior? The trolls I know try to get under my skin by seeking to provoke me. Could some of this behavior be merely a childish way of getting attention?

    I think it is a combination of threat and trolling — it’s saying “this is my territory, I see you in it, I’m a man and you’re a woman (with all that implies) and I can say whatever I want to you whenever I like because I don’t respect you.”

    But I don’t think it’s a “childish” way to get attention, I think it’s a very “manly” way. Kids want love and affection and will often settle for negative attention if they can’t get positive attention, but I think street harassers have no intention of getting anything loving or positive out of their harassment. Calling it “childish” is an insult to children, who are too naive to carefully craft a rape culture in the street. :p

  12. Alyssa says:

    Comrade Kevin:
    One question.How much of street harassment can be assigned to a threat against one’s person and how much of it is just trollish behavior?The trolls I know try to get under my skin by seeking to provoke me.Could some of this behavior be merely a childish way of getting attention?Truly dangerous behavior, of course, is something else entirely.

    I think the thing you’re missing here is that for women who experience street harassment of this sort, there’s not some big difference between “just trolling for attention” and truly dangerous and harmful behavior. Harassment is a reminder that many men do not believe that you have the same right to exist in public space as they do. Men who harass are acting on the belief that your body is public property for them to comment on as they please, that your wishes mean nothing, that you are, to put it bluntly, not really as human as they are. It’s meant to put you “in your place.” That’s dangerous and harmful behavior, and the beliefs that justify that behavior are awfully similar to the beliefs that justify rape. And since “refusing to play ball” usually only means that you’re going to get called “a stuck-up bitch,” I think a hearty “FUCK YOU” is a fantastic response. There is no shame in expressing rage at someone for dehumanizing you. It doesn’t need to be part of a “strategy.”

    I also wanted to point out this thread at Shakesville about how street harassment can serve as a marking of visible womanhood, and how women who rarely or never experience street harassment may also feel invisible, or like they’re not real women, because they’re beneath the attention of the harassers. That’s the Patriarchy for you.

  13. Annaleigh says:

    Comrade Kevin: And how much of this behavior is cultural, which is not to say acceptable, but indicative of certain groups more than others? What if our American norms are different than norms of men from other countries, again, not acceptable, but indeed very different.

    One thing I have noticed as a Chicana in a overwhelmingly Latina/o town, is that the practice of piropos is more common with Mexicano men than it is than say, Chicano men whose ancestors have been in what’s now the United States for a long time. I think that the difference just might be a result of growing up with American culture versus encountering for the first time in one’s life. That’s not to say that Mexicanos are the only harassers or that Chicanos don’t harass, but Chicano men have more exposure to situations where piropos are way less acceptable.

  14. Alyssa: I think the thing you’re missing here is that for women who experience street harassment of this sort, there’s not some big difference between “just trolling for attention” and truly dangerous and harmful behavior. Harassment is a reminder that many men do not believe that you have the same right to exist in public space as they do. Men who harass are acting on the belief that your body is public property for them to comment on as they please, that your wishes mean nothing, that you are, to put it bluntly, not really as human as they are. It’s meant to put you “in your place.” That’s dangerous and harmful behavior, and the beliefs that justify that behavior are awfully similar to the beliefs that justify rape. And since “refusing to play ball” usually only means that you’re going to get called “a stuck-up bitch,” I think a hearty “FUCK YOU” is a fantastic response. There is no shame in expressing rage at someone for dehumanizing you. It doesn’t need to be part of a “strategy.”

    Fair enough. I see where you are coming from. But I also know that men are capable of lots of behavior, some harmless, some harmful, when they can’t have women they see in front of them. When you factor in a homosocial aspect, then it couples up with bragging.

    I’m don’t doubt that the behavior makes women feel less human. But I’m seeking to perhaps understand the motives of men and see if any nuance exists. How do we understand rape culture if we can’t understand the role men play in it?

  15. Bagelsan says:

    But I also know that men are capable of lots of behavior, some harmless, some harmful, when they can’t have women they see in front of them.

    If it were about getting to have sex with women, they could easily do that elsewhere (for example, they could patronize sex workers.) And it’s not even that they can’t “have” the women they see; plenty of harassers probably clean up fine, have girlfriends/lovers/wives, and get laid on the regular. Surely these men aren’t stupid enough to think this is a legitimate mating strategy — I think they are not. It’s not about getting ladies, it’s about signaling to the people around them who is worthy of respect and autonomy and who is not, about whose body is for public consumption (and about how manly they are for consuming.)

  16. Emily says:

    ‘You are the reason I hid my body as a teenager. You are the reason I pretended I didn’t even have a body for so many years. You are the reason I didn’t want to experience the skills and pleasures of my body for myself for so many years. You are the reason I didn’t want to share the skills and pleasures of my body with other people for so many years. You are the reason I have to work not to pick at myself in front of the mirror. You are the reason I have to work not to agonize about how much of my skin is visible to the world every day before I step out the door. You are the reason I still feel ashamed of my body, more often than I want to admit. You are the reason I have to make loving myself WORK.’

    So eloquent, so heartbreaking.

  17. Iris says:

    Comrade Kevin: Fair enough.I see where you are coming from.But I also know that men are capable of lots of behavior, some harmless, some harmful, when they can’t have women they see in front of them.When you factor in a homosocial aspect, then it couples up with bragging.

    I’m don’t doubt that the behavior makes women feel less human.But I’m seeking to perhaps understand the motives of men and see if any nuance exists.How do we understand rape culture if we can’t understand the role men play in it?

    I have no idea what homosocial means (the same social?)Fear of being seen as homosexual in a group? What?

    I’m puzzled as to why you are looking for nuances in men’s behavior. Running over someone’s toe to shout something objectifying at them is not a nuance. Fearing for your physical safety because of the behavior of men outside and inside of your home is not a nuance.

    If you are seeking the motives of men – why are you here? Isn’t there somewhere else you could get a bigger sampling of the male population?

    Frankly, I don’t care what men have as a reason to be rapists. Having compassion for the men who over the course of my life have raped me is beyond my capabilities. Especially when that sense of violation and powerlessness is repeatedly triggered.

  18. Bagelsan says:

    I’m don’t doubt that the behavior makes women feel less human.

    Just to be clear, are you doubting that this is the motive behind street harassment? I think that women are “feeling” exactly what they are intended to feel from harassment — it is being inferred but also it’s being implied.

  19. Jenn P says:

    Thank you for writing this! I have been in Chicago for 6 years and have found this to be a huge problem here. Unfortunately, no one has taken me seriously when I’ve described specific instances or explained the way this feels. This is the first time I have felt affirmed and I cried reading this. Another unfortunate aspect is that there is a demographic of people who regularly harass me, anywhere from offensive words to the way someone looks at me. I can tell when someone is going to follow me with their eyes and head when I go past; not from stereotyping but from body language and intuition. Sometimes I can tell when a person is controlling themselves or has more sense than to actually say what is on their minds.

    Comrade Kevin:
    Is yelling an expletive at someone who has made us feel violated and vulnerable the only strategy that could be used?What if we tried to turn the tables on men and either refuse to play ball, or respond in such a way that defeats the purpose of the harassment?

    I have yet to find a way to diffuse the situation or make me feel empowered again. Yelling anything back always backfires. I feel completely powerless even if I refrain from reacting in any outward way. Saying or doing anything is pointless. These harassers don’t give a damn about who you are. They only want you to feel powerless so that they feel powerful.

  20. Sara says:

    @Kevin, Iris, et al.
    I think it’s clear that street harassment is motivated by a perception of women as both objects and public property. However, I doubt that it is motivated in very many cases by a conscious desire to create such a perception – it seems more like a reflection of a pre-existing perception in the harasser’s mind.

    @Iris – “Homosocial” refers to relationships (and norms surrounding those relationships) among members of the same sex in a culture. In this case, Kevin is suggesting that some street harassment might be motivated by the desire to impress other men. I agree with him.

    I also wanted to point out this thread at Shakesville about how street harassment can serve as a marking of visible womanhood, and how women who rarely or never experience street harassment may also feel invisible, or like they’re not real women, because they’re beneath the attention of the harassers.

    Yeah. Actively excluding particular women from street harassment can be just as oppressive as the harassment itself. The one says “you are a woman and I see you as an object,” while the other says “you’re not even good enough to be an object.”

  21. Sara says:

    (In my definition of “homosocial,” I was paraphrasing a dictionary definition which used the word “sex,” but in retrospect the word “gender” would obviously be more appropriate. Sorry.)

  22. Iris says:

    Thanks, Sara. The word wasn’t in my trusty Oxford dictionary.

  23. Fat Steve says:

    Comrade Kevin: Fair enough.I see where you are coming from.But I also know that men are capable of lots of behavior, some harmless, some harmful, when they can’t have women they see in front of them.When you factor in a homosocial aspect, then it couples up with bragging.

    I’m don’t doubt that the behavior makes women feel less human.But I’m seeking to perhaps understand the motives of men and see if any nuance exists.How do we understand rape culture if we can’t understand the role men play in it?

    Iris: I have no idea what homosocial means (the same social?)Fear of being seen as homosexual in a group? What?

    I’m puzzled as to why you are looking for nuances in men’s behavior.Running over someone’s toe to shout something objectifying at them is not a nuance.Fearing for your physical safety because of the behavior of men outside and inside of your home is not a nuance.

    If you are seeking the motives of men – why are you here?Isn’t there somewhere else you could get a bigger sampling of the male population?

    Frankly, I don’t care what men have as a reason to be rapists.Having compassion for the men who over the course of my lifehave raped me is beyond my capabilities. Especially when that sense of violation and powerlessness is repeatedly triggered.

    @Kevin
    I’m not sure where you’re from, but here in New York, women have to put up with the same sort of shit even when you remove the homosocial aspect. I cannot think of a single female friend I have here, who hasn’t told me a story of a guy exposing himself on the subway to her. It happened to my friend Rebecca twice in one night a few weeks ago. It’s fucking disgusting and I can’t help but feel partly responsible because she was coming to visit me when it happened. I can’t understand the guys motive. I can’t think of anything more humiliating than having a strange woman see my genitals, except perhaps getting caught masturbating in public- and this guy was doing both! I don’t say his motives shouldn’t be examined, I’m just saying they should be examined by a prison psychiatrist.

    @Iris
    The compassion shown by examining the men’s motives is not compassion for the rapists, it’s compassion for their potential future victims.

  24. Iris says:

    Fat Steve:

    So you are attempting to shame me into compassion? Do not tell me what compassion means to me or for whom I should have compassion or how I should have compassion.

    Your statement reminds me of the male politician who said women who get pregnant by being raped should have to give birth to the child to show their courage.

    You have no idea what you are talking about.

  25. rayuela23 says:

    Word, Anoushka.

  26. Fat Steve says:

    Iris:
    Fat Steve:

    So you are attempting to shame me into compassion?Do not tell me what compassion means to me or for whom I should have compassion or how I should have compassion.

    Your statement reminds me of the male politician who said women who get pregnant by being raped should have to give birth to the child to show their courage.

    You have no idea what you are talking about.

    No, not at all. I was saying that finding the men’s motives was the key to stopping the next generation of rapist. I would never tell you who to have compassion for. The point I was trying to make (obviously very badly) was that I didn’t think Kevin was saying his comments out of compassion for the rapist, only the victims.

  27. Fat Steve says:

    @Iris
    Having said the above and ;ooking back at my post I don’t really see how you could think that I was trying to shame you at all. What was it that made you think that? I really am stunned because you interpreted that exactly in the opposite way in which I meant it.

  28. Bagelsan says:

    Fat Steve:

    So you are attempting to shame me into compassion? Do not tell me what compassion means to me or for whom I should have compassion or how I should have compassion.

    Your statement reminds me of the male politician who said women who get pregnant by being raped should have to give birth to the child to show their courage.

    You have no idea what you are talking about.

    I have to disagree; I didn’t see any shaming in what he said. It’s like researching a treatable disease — people don’t study cancer ’cause they love cancer, they do it because understanding how it functions can save lives. I think Fat Steve’s arguing that the “compassion” to examine harassment motives is driven by wanting to help the targets of that harassment.

  29. Fat Steve says:

    Thanks, Bagelsan.

  30. z says:

    This is so beautiful in such a depressing way.

  31. Alison says:

    FUCK YES to all of this. This is so so right on, it nearly brought me to tears. Thank you so much for writing this, for putting all these thoughts in my head into such beautiful, powerful, strong brave words. Thank you for the validation and the support this gives to me and so many others.

    I could say so much more, but it would likely lead to some serious venting along these lines and right now I want to hold on to the beauty I am feeling from this, so I’ll just say again: fuck yes.

  32. Me says:

    I agree that this man’s behavior is meant to be an assertion of power, dominance, and aggression. That is why it feels so violating; it is.

    Rather than yell “Fuck you”, which confirms that he has achieved his goal of upsetting and thus dominating me, I prefer to yell something unexpected, like “Homo!” which hopefully for an idiot like this will seem like a put down and and ‘unmanning’. I don’t see it that way, nor even as the ‘put down’ he might feel it, but it challenges his sexuality just as he is trying to assert it. You could yell other things, absurd or bizarre, anything to both shake his confidence, and to show that you have kept your cool and not been effected. Even though you have, that prick doesn’t need to have it confirmed. Just MHO.

  33. Me says:

    A further thought, after reading about guys exposing themselves, and or masturbating in public. You know, I’m past the age any men ever notice me in public, but honestly, I would probably break out in mocking laughter, and draw everyone’s attention to the pathetic, ridiculous dick in front of me, in every sense of the word. The one time someone grabbed my breast on the street, I yelled at, pointed at and publicly shamed him until he slunk around the corner with a crowd looking at him. Obviously, this doesn’t work when alone and etc, but damn, I have a short fuse for this kind of crap. I don’t feel shamed by my sexuality, I feel pissed off by unwarranted aggression. Yet when I was a teen, I remember feeling helpless and being very, very quiet when violated. We grow, we change, and learn to place the blame where it belongs, at least in my case.

    Great article, thanks.

  34. Diana says:

    An asshole made lewd gestures at me as I was leaving the train station just the other day… I felt a weird sort of pride in just flicking him off without turning my head to him, and then I realized how sad it was that I was watching the ground shortly thereafter to make sure I didn’t see any shadows approaching from behind me, and thinking about the best way to sidestep and/or wrench his arm if he decided to come after me.

    I thought about it the rest of the evening, but I really didn’t want to.

    We hear you, Anoushka, and we’re angry, too.

  35. chava says:

    Great post. Where I live currently the men “own” the street after about 5PM, and even though they (rarely) say anything, walking anywhere feels like a fucking gauntlet.

    I don’t know if that’s strictly down to the total absence of women alone, or where I am emotionally right now–but it makes me so. angry. that the street is “theirs.”

  36. Spilt Milk says:

    Me:

    Rather than yell “Fuck you”, which confirms that he has achieved his goal of upsetting and thus dominating me, I prefer to yell something unexpected, like “Homo!” which hopefully for an idiot like this will seem like a put down and and ‘unmanning’. I don’t see it that way, nor even as the ‘put down’ he might feel it, but it challenges his sexuality just as he is trying to assert it.

    Personally, I don’t think the solution to one type of oppression is ever to benefit from, or add to, another type of oppression. That response could very well make GLBTQ people in the vicinity feel less safe; increasing the verbal bullying in the atmosphere is not really a great outcome. Although getting creative with responses is a fine idea.

    Anoushka I really love this post, so powerful. Thank you.

  37. Tracy says:

    A little of this goes along way. I agree street harassment is worth talking about, worth venting about, and even worth exchanging ideas on different ways of handling it. (although I wish that street harassment other than “you so hot me wanna fuck” were discussed. lots of women face other kinds of street harassment, involving letting them know that “you no hot me no wanna fuck. but nobody ever writes about that, i wonder why? is it possible that writing articles about how you can’t walk a block without men saying they want to fuck you is more rewarding than writing articles about how you can’t walk a block without men telling you they don’t want to fuck you? what exactly are the writers getting out of this?)

    However, even though it’s worthwhile, let’s not get carried away. Are two front page, long, pieces about street harassment really necessary? Part of that space couldn’t be used for something at least as important?

    Come on.

  38. Tracy says:

    Even in the comment section on all of these articles, no one ever writes about street harassment that revolves around her being unfuckable.

    No one ever writes, hey I was walking and someone mooed at me. A group of guys barked at me and laughed. A group of guys pointed at me and yelled fat bitch.

    But everyone is lining up to tell how they can’t leave their houses without being swarmed by men sexually harassing them.

    Why is this? It’s not because the former doesn’t happen. There must be something, even in places like Feministe, that makes it feel better to talk about how men harass you because they find you fuckable, than talk about how men harass you because they don’t want to fuck you.

    That’s interesting, and revealing, on many levels.

  39. PrettyAmiable says:

    Spilt Milk: Personally, I don’t think the solution to one type of oppression is ever to benefit from, or add to, another type of oppression. That response could very well make GLBTQ people in the vicinity feel less safe; increasing the verbal bullying in the atmosphere is not really a great outcome. Although getting creative with responses is a fine idea.

    Anoushka I really love this post, so powerful. Thank you.

    This, but with way more anger. WTF.

  40. matlun says:

    Comrade Kevin: Is yelling an expletive at someone who has made us feel violated and vulnerable the only strategy that could be used? What if we tried to turn the tables on men and either refuse to play ball, or respond in such a way that defeats the purpose of the harassment?

    No, it is not the only strategy, and I do not think it is an especially effective strategy to change behaviors. I see two basic approaches here

    1. Take whatever strategy that makes you feel good.
    Fuck the harassers. You will probably not change their behavior anyway.

    2. Understand their motivations and try to change their behaviors.
    See above discussion for possible motivations. For the wolf whistler that is mainly trying to impress their friends some public shaming might be the best approach.

    I do not really see that you have an duty to make the effort to go for the second alternative here.

  41. Amber says:

    As a semi-new dog owner living in Brooklyn, I’ve come to an all new understanding of street harassment. Seriously, I’ve never used the middle finger or ‘fuck off’ before 9:00 am more than I have in the last six months. The grossest part is that it’s from the same men doing work on the same houses. Those creeps are in my neighbors’ homes where women and children live, calling me a bitch when I don’t return their uninvited ‘hellos.’ Fucking assholes.

    I will say, however, when I would report harassment to a delivery guy’s boss in Seattle, I was often met with skepticism and no action was taken. In NYC, people don’t mess around with that shit. It’s a very real thing here, and vulnerability is a feeling that everyone who lives here has felt and doesn’t really tolerate… Once a complaint is made.

  42. Linda says:

    Tracy, thanks for your comment. I’m glad you put it out there. I’ve been harassed both ways, although with difference effects – where being harassed for “being fuckable” made me feel disempowered, objectified and frightened, being hararssed for “being unfuckable” made me feel ashamed and worthless.

  43. rb says:

    This piece is great.

    Also, how many women here have called out street harassers before? The other day one of the day laborers who always say things to me on my way to work say something extremely rude to me in Spanish, and I didn’t understand all of it but I do happen to know what the Spanish words for vagina and breasts are, so yeah… Anyway, I turned to his friend and said, “Wow, you say that to his sister for me, yeah?” And his friend kind of smirked at me and turned to the harasser, who kind of smiled awkwardly and looked away. No one else said anything to me as I passed by, and I actually felt good, not like when I swear or ignore. I doubt one could actually do something like that in all situations, because a group of dudebros outside at night are more likely to be threatening and violent than some day laborers in broad daylight, but it felt good to shame someone who was trying to make me feel shameful.

  44. @Tracy: “what exactly are the writers getting out of this?”

    I can’t speak for Anoushka, but as the writer of the “hello” piece, I genuinely wanted to know to what degree other feminists thought about this. You do raise an interesting point about how there aren’t as many pieces about not receiving street harassment, to which I would ask: Why do you think that is? Is there another reason besides Anoushka and I wanting to somehow appear to be self-aggrandizing in regards to our appeal?

    The thing is: Street harassment is categorically not about our appeal. Women who are seen as asexual–I’m thinking of women who are visibly disabled and who often say that they feel like they’re treated as sexless or childlike–may receive a different sort of treatment on the street than I do as an able-bodied woman. But that doesn’t mean that the comments I hear are actually about how I look. It is about power in public space; it is about men dictating the terms with which women walk through this world. And that is what makes it a feminist discussion.

    If you’re genuinely interested in this, you may find this post I wrote on my own blog interesting. (Apologies for self-promotion.) There are feminist discussions of what street harassment means in terms of perceived attractiveness and how we internalize that; they’re just not here at this very moment, because we’re not obligated to examine every aspect of every topic just to avoid criticism.

  45. Dawn says:

    Tracy,

    Perhaps because you can’t always classify “that Asshole whistled at her and not me” as equaling unattractiveness.

    The reasons why men choose women to harass aren’t really based on how attractive you look but how vulnerable they think you are. I’ve been bothered more since I became less attractive by societies standards simply because I look more vulnerable due to a visible disability.

    A man victimising a woman on the street isn’t concerned with how hot or not she is, he’s often looking for an easy victim.

    Women don’t get harassed or not harassed because of their hotness, they get harassed depending on whether the guy thinks he can get away with it.

  46. Matt says:

    Um, peeing outside? Like in your fenced in yard? Because otherwise you might get seen, and charged as a sex criminal, cause public urination is illegal.

  47. Matt says:

    I’ve noticed that among my peers, generally if you are talking about whether a girl you see on the street, or even the internet, is hot, which is somewhat objectionable in itself, you generally don’t attempt to talk to her. You know that telling a girl she is attractive generally won’t get you laid. Cat-calling and comments yelled out on the street are all about male social status among themselves. In some circles guys who are more vocal in this manner are seen as cool, it has nothing to do with engaging the women personally. Probably the only time a guy you don’t really know who makes a comment about you is actually reacting to your personal appearance is when he does or says something awkward or clumsy.

    Autumn Whitefield-Madrano:
    @Tracy: “what exactly are the writers getting out of this?”

    I can’t speak for Anoushka, but as the writer of the “hello” piece, I genuinely wanted to know to what degree other feminists thought about this. You do raise an interesting point about how there aren’t as many pieces about not receiving street harassment, to which I would ask: Why do you think that is? Is there another reason besides Anoushka and I wanting to somehow appear to be self-aggrandizing in regards to our appeal?

    The thing is: Street harassment is categorically not about our appeal. Women who are seen as asexual–I’m thinking of women who are visibly disabled and who often say that they feel like they’re treated as sexless or childlike–may receive a different sort of treatment on the street than I do as an able-bodied woman. But that doesn’t mean that the comments I hear are actually about how I look. It is about power in public space; it is about men dictating the terms with which women walk through this world. And that is what makes it a feminist discussion.

    If you’re genuinely interested in this, you may find this post I wrote on my own blog interesting. (Apologies for self-promotion.) There are feminist discussions of what street harassment means in terms of perceived attractiveness and how we internalize that; they’re just not here at this very moment, because we’re not obligated to examine every aspect of every topic just to avoid criticism.

  48. Ardiril says:

    Why were you in a crosswalk wearing headphones?

  49. Mariella says:

    @ Autumn:

    “You do raise an interesting point about how there aren’t as many pieces about not receiving street harassment”

    That is actually not what she said at all. She wasn’t talking about invisibility, she was talking about being subjected to a *different form* of street harassment.

    I agree with what you’re saying generally. But I thought it was very interesting that you characterized a comment about receiving a different type of street harassment as a comment about “not receiving street harassment.” That makes it sound like you didn’t hear what she was saying at all, and continued the marginalization of her viewpoint.

  50. Lisa says:

    Tracy:
    Even in the comment section on all of these articles, no one ever writes about street harassment that revolves around her being unfuckable.

    No one ever writes, hey I was walking and someone mooed at me.A group of guys barked at me and laughed.A group of guys pointed at me and yelled fat bitch.

    But everyone is lining up to tell how they can’t leave their houses without being swarmed by men sexually harassing them.

    I’ve seen that plenty of times, actually. I suspect the pro-fuckability catcalling is more common, in part because men can convince themselves that they’re paying a compliment, and not just harassing a woman. And based on what I read in the Shakesville article, I guess that there are women who are more ashamed of harassment involving negative comments than they are the ‘complimentary’ style.

    But please be careful not to feed into the whole notion that women are somehow bragging when they talk about street harassment. That’s a really common myth, and it’s one of the main reasons that I’ve often hesitated to bring it up.

    I am not flattered by street harassment, no matter what the content. In fact, a good percentage of the time, I can’t even make out what they’re saying, so I don’t know if their opinions are pro or con–and I have gotten both. It’s all the same thing to me, because I actually for reals am not interested in the specific assessment being relayed. It all means the same thing. It’s a stupid dominance display.

    If a dog comes up to me and humps my leg, I don’t really care whether they’re trying to mate with me or just trying to establish a social pecking order. They need to quit it either way.

  51. Bagelsan says:

    Why were you in a crosswalk wearing headphones?

    …To get to the other side?

  52. Kristen J. says:

    Bagelsan: Why were you in a crosswalk wearing headphones?…To get to the other side?

    lol *snort*

  53. Spilt Milk says:

    @Tracy I see the moos and the cat-calls as interlinked. They come from the same place of entitlement, policing, even menace.

    I do see a lot of people talking about being harassed for being unfuckable, mainly in fat activist circles.

    I have seen, though, some people who assume this is an either/or thing — you’re either ‘hot enough’ for cat calls or you get moos. This erases the fact that fat women (and women with bodies that are marginalized for other reasons) still get sexually harassed. It also obscures the reality that being ‘hot’ doesn’t preclude you from body policing or put-downs.

    Anyway – Tracy if you’re looking for a piece that deals with the ‘other side’ try this by Lesley Kinzel
    http://www.xojane.com/relationships/true-tales-street-harassment-and-my-anger-issues

  54. Fat Steve says:

    Lisa: I’ve seen that plenty of times, actually. I suspect the pro-fuckability catcalling is more common, in part because men can convince themselves that they’re paying a compliment, and not just harassing a woman. And based on what I read in the Shakesville article, I guess that there are women who are more ashamed of harassment involving negative comments than they are the ‘complimentary’ style.

    But please be careful not to feed into the whole notion that women are somehow bragging when they talk about street harassment. That’s a really common myth, and it’s one of the main reasons that I’ve often hesitated to bring it up.

    I am not flattered by street harassment, no matter what the content. In fact, a good percentage of the time, I can’t even make out what they’re saying, so I don’t know if their opinions are pro or con–and I have gotten both. It’s all the same thing to me, because I actually for reals am not interested in the specific assessment being relayed. It all means the same thing. It’s a stupid dominance display.

    If a dog comes up to me and humps my leg, I don’t really care whether they’re trying to mate with me or just trying to establish a social pecking order. They need to quit it either way.

    These men will take out their aggression and insecurity on anyone. I’m sure the guys I’ve had shout homophobic slurs to me from cars, just came from calling overweight women rude names and cat-calling women they find attractive.

  55. Annaleigh says:

    Lisa: But please be careful not to feed into the whole notion that women are somehow bragging when they talk about street harassment. That’s a really common myth, and it’s one of the main reasons that I’ve often hesitated to bring it up.

    THIS. Thank you.

  56. Bagelsan says:

    But please be careful not to feed into the whole notion that women are somehow bragging when they talk about street harassment.

    Yeah, it’s part and parcel with the myth that only pretty or young women get raped — unwanted sexual attention is depressingly indiscriminate and no one is 100% safe from it because it’s all about the man doing it, and his gratification, rather than the target it’s aimed at. If harassers wouldn’t harass then Salma Hayek could walk buck-naked through NYC without a peep; but because harassers do harass everyone from pre-teens to senior citizens is fair game.

  57. Sabrina says:

    I just discussed this topic on my blog. I absolutely hate street harassment. I cannot understand how these people think that they have been granted the right to treat anyone this way.

  58. Marksman2010 says:

    You should have clothes-lined that fucker.

  59. bpbetsy says:

    This is one of my favorite pieces I’ve EVER read on this site! Street harassment makes me feel enraged and unsafe, and is probably the single feminist issue that affects me the most on a day to day basis. It’s also the most vexing because I truly see no way of ending it. I don’t want to “accept” feeling constantly scared and furious in public as the price to pay for being female. Also, just “ignoring” the harassment doesn’t work for me – mostly because MY behavior never changes the behavior of the men who do this. So there is an acute sense of helplessness and powerlessness.

    Also, I agree with 4catlady here: “The type of man who does/says sexual harassing things is really a rapist waiting to get loose. It is a frank disregard (and hatred) of women as people. Harassment needs to be considered a prelude to potential rape – and treated as such by authorities.”

    How I wish it were so!

  60. CassandraSays says:

    “Why were you in a crosswalk wearing headphones?”

    If a woman falls in the middle of the crosswalk and no one is around to hear, does it still make a sound?

    (What? I thought we were doing “asinine pop philosophy” on Sundays now.)

  61. maruja de lujo says:

    Regarding appropriate responses to street harassers, it’s noticeable that many of them have a modus operandi that makes it very difficult to respond: if they shout or grope you or hit you from a car you usually don’t have much chance of catching up to them (though a friend of mine heard abject apologies issuing from a carfull of terrified men who got stuck in traffic after harassing her on her bicycle. It hadn’t occurred to them that the big Samoan cyclist now approaching them was her boyfriend).
    The most common form of harassment I’m subject to is an obscene comment quietly muttered by a fellow pedestrian coming the other way just as I pass, so that I have to turn around and go after them if I want to respond. I’ve done this sometimes but of course it takes up a lot of energy and can be really nerve-racking. I’ve been threatened with a broken bottle for doing it. I told a boyfriend about it and of course it was all my fault and I should be careful etc.

    My favourite experience was years ago at a local waterfall where you could go to the top of the waterfall and jump into the swimming hole below. While up there, we received all sorts of comments about our bodies from the men and boys below, so once we were down beside the waterhole we did the same to the guys who were up at the top of the waterfall. To my surprise ( I was more innocent then), they were really disconcerted, and quickly slunk away.

  62. chava says:

    I would like to live in this NYC.

    Bagelsan:
    If harassers wouldn’t harass then Salma Hayek could walk buck-naked through NYC without a peep; but because harassers do harass everyone from pre-teens to senior citizens is fair game.

  63. Elena says:

    Wow. This was powerful…I related to it so well. Here’s my experience…I wrote this and wasn’t sure if I should submit it or not, but this seems like the right time…
    It’s Not Funny!

    My history teacher is a funny guy. He’s a funny, intelligent, and caring guy. Really, he is. But a few days ago, I realized something else about him; he is completely clueless.
    He was relating a story to us in which he was driving a rather eccentric man to get a mattress. It was summertime, and when they stopped at a stop sign, a pretty girl crossed the street. The eccentric man leaned out the window and shouted “Stop! We want to look at you!” My history teacher found this funny. I found it tasteless, and frankly, offensive.
    A brief history of me, explaining why this irked me: I have been experiencing regular street harassment since I was 12 years old. To be fair, at 12 I looked about 15 or 16 (woo hoo early blooming). I live in a small city, whereas most kids in the high school (a private school) I attend live in small suburban communities, and haven’t really experienced the kind of street harassment I have. All of them, girls included, laughed at this anecdote. But not I. I’ve had men explicitly tell me exactly what they’d like to do with my body if they ever got me alone, absolutely disgusting. This terrified me as a 12 year old. Now it just makes me roll my eyes. I wonder if I’m overreacting to this little story that my teacher shared with the class. I don’t think he intended any harm, but I can’t help but feel offended and a little disappointed that he would find that amusing.
    It’s not amusing when you’re the victim.
    It’s not at all comical to be made to feel uncomfortable, objectified, and self-conscious.
    It’s not humorous when you’re 12 years old and wondering why some grown man just said he wants to “fuck your sweet wet pussy so hard that you can’t hardly walk the next day”
    It’s not laughable when the victim is your daughter, your sister, your girlfriend, or your wife.
    It’s not funny. It’s not a compliment. It’s never okay.

  64. Tasha says:

    Me:
    I agree that this man’s behavior is meant to be an assertion of power, dominance, and aggression. That is why it feels so violating; it is.

    Rather than yell “Fuck you”, which confirms that he has achieved his goal of upsetting and thus dominating me, I prefer to yell something unexpected, like “Homo!” which hopefully for an idiot like this will seem like a put down and and ‘unmanning’. I don’t see it that way, nor even as the ‘put down’ he might feel it, but it challenges his sexuality just as he is trying to assert it. You could yell other things, absurd or bizarre, anything to both shake his confidence, and to show that you have kept your cool and not been effected. Even though you have, that prick doesn’t need to have it confirmed. Just MHO.

    So you would rather a person who may or may not be gay be sexually harassed in public? You claim to not feel that “homo” is derisive, yet that is the context in which you want to use it…because you say “homo” is a challenge to masculinity….so gay men are not masculine or “real” men?

    This is absurd and hateful

  65. Sheelzebub says:

    Rather than yell “Fuck you”, which confirms that he has achieved his goal of upsetting and thus dominating me, I prefer to yell something unexpected, like “Homo!” which hopefully for an idiot like this will seem like a put down and and ‘unmanning’. I don’t see it that way, nor even as the ‘put down’ he might feel it, but it challenges his sexuality just as he is trying to assert it.

    Look, it’s not cool to use homophobia as a way to combat street harassment. I have a lot of LGBT friends and I’ve gotta tell you, it’s really damaging and hurtful to them when their sexual orientation and/or gender identity is used as a bludgeoning stick to hurt people–even people who are acting like assholes. WTF did gay people ever do to you to be used that way.

    Not cool. Not cool at all.

  66. Rare Vos says:

    I can personally state that one’s physical attractiveness to the harrasser means fuck-all.

    I was harrassed when I was 300 lbs. I’m still harrassed at 150 lbs.

    Both “moo’d” at and cat called, regardless of weight.

    It has nothing to do with the woman. It has everything to do with how hard the douchebag making the statement is trying to impress his friends, shore up his self-esteem, or make someone else as miserable as he is.

  67. Fat Steve says:

    Me:
    I agree that this man’s behavior is meant to be an assertion of power, dominance, and aggression. That is why it feels so violating; it is.

    Rather than yell “Fuck you”, which confirms that he has achieved his goal of upsetting and thus dominating me, I prefer to yell something unexpected, like “Homo!” which hopefully for an idiot like this will seem like a put down and and ‘unmanning’. I don’t see it that way, nor even as the ‘put down’ he might feel it, but it challenges his sexuality just as he is trying to assert it. You could yell other things, absurd or bizarre, anything to both shake his confidence, and to show that you have kept your cool and not been effected. Even though you have, that prick doesn’t need to have it confirmed. Just MHO.

    How does yelling anti-gay epithets and/or ‘bizarre things’ show that you have kept your cool?

    Despite being a confirmed heterosexual, on a number of occasions, I have had a car slow down and guys inside yell ‘faggot’ or ‘homo’ at me (one time a full mcdonalds soda was thrown,) and I know the best thing to do is ignore them- because they are doing it so I will react. They are hoping I’ll shout back something like ‘Fuck you’ or ‘so’s your father’ or whatever, just so they can use that as a pretext to stop and beat the shit out of me.

    P.S. I’m not saying women should just ignore street harassment, I’m just saying that’s what I do, because usually that thing happened to me when walking around alone late at night in my old (historically gay friendly) neighborhood in downtown Manhattan (the cars always had New Jersey plates, oddly enough.) Everyone should do what’s comfortable to them.

  68. Rare Vos says:

    I’m not saying women should just ignore street harassment, I’m just saying that’s what I do

    It’s what I do, too. I see absolutely nothing to be gained by rewarding those pathetic pigs with even a nanosecond of my attention.

    Which, of course, only works when they aren’t cornering you in some fashion. It happened exactly once that I saw a woman cornered by a strett harrasser and she whipped out the pepper spray. I have to say it was the most satisfying comeuppance I’ve ever witnessed.

  69. K. says:

    I hear you.

    Nothing makes me feel unsafe like someone yelling out their window at me…unless they pull into a parking lot after I gave them the finger (after they tried to get me to get in their car. WTF?).

    I threw frozen yogurt in a harrasser’s car window once-I have a temper. A friend of mine chases their car down the street yelling TRUUUUUUE LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE! but there’s risk there that I’m not willing to take.

  70. Rare Vos says:

    A friend of mine chases their car down the street yelling TRUUUUUUE LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE! but there’s risk there that I’m not willing to take.

    LOL. Okay. the next time I’m not alone and get catcalled, I am TOTALLY doing this.

  71. Elena says:

    K.: < A friend of mine chases their car down the street yelling TRUUUUUUE LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE!

    that just made my day.

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  73. over50 says:

    I suspect that yelling anything back probably backfires. Stick your finger in your nose. It says “you think you own me? You don’t wanna own me”

  74. Sulliver says:

    I don’t understand–if you were wearing headphones, how did you hear what was shouted? Did the bicyclist run a red light? Did you check both ways before crossing?

    Street safety is important.

  75. ani says:

    thanks for writing this – thanks for your rage – clarity – self respect

    AtheistChick:
    “You are the reason I have to make loving myself WORK.”

    Very powerful.

  76. groggette says:

    Sulliver: I don’t understand–if you were wearing headphones, how did you hear what was shouted? Did the bicyclist run a red light? Did you check both ways before crossing?Street safety is important.

    SO not the point of the article.

  77. Annaleigh says:

    groggette: SO not the point of the article.

    Of course not, but you know some people, why pass up a good opportunity to blame women for the harassment and abuses they are subjected to on a regular basis?

  78. Sulliver says:

    Annaleigh: Of course not, but you know some people, why pass up a good opportunity to blame women for the harassment and abuses they are subjected to on a regular basis?

    Harassment is never justified, under any circumstances. I’m simply pointing out that I have some narrative issues with the initial anecdote, which is the starter log for a fire that, justifiably, has other sources of fuel. It’s tough to not notice a speeding bicycle if you are actively paying attention, and the sequencing seems pretty uncommon. Could it be that the bicyclist, legally considered a vehicle, may have been shouting “Red light!” at an inattentive pedestrian? Instead of just, you know, defaulting to unbridled sexism in what would have been a half-second encounter?

  79. Annaleigh says:

    Yeah, yeah, Sulliver, I get it, it’s her fault.

    / sarcasm

  80. Sulliver says:

    Annaleigh:
    Yeah, yeah, Sulliver, I get it, it’s her fault.

    / sarcasm

    Sweet, you got me. Completely not putting words in my mouth in any way, shape or form. My secret agenda, craftily disguised behind the statement ” Harassment is NEVER justified”–totally uncovered.

    So I give, and I will adopt your policy: harassment is sometimes okay when it’s directed at someone who dares to suggest that the rally call might be weakened by a lack of distinction between correlation and causation. Heaven forbid someone encourage conversation over back-patting. Marginalization? Just makes things simpler.

  81. Annaleigh says:

    Sulliver: Sweet, you got me. Completely not putting words in my mouth in any way, shape or form. My secret agenda, craftily disguised behind the statement ” Harassment is NEVER justified”–totally uncovered.

    So I give, and I will adopt your policy: harassment is sometimes okay when it’s directed at someone who dares to suggest that the rally call might be weakened by a lack of distinction between correlation and causation. Heaven forbid someone encourage conversation over back-patting. Marginalization? Just makes things simpler.

    Oh fuck you, Anouskha said herself that she heard him yell “nice legs baby” at her. Believe it or not, women can hear shit even when we are wearing earphones. In fact sometimes some of us try to strike a balance of having earphones and music on to discourage unwanted attention, but not so loud that we’re unaware of our surroundings so that we know when trouble is coming.

    But no, you march in here and imply either that Anouskha hears things that aren’t there, is lying, or is at fault for wearing headphones in the crosswalk, and you think you have something worthwhile to offer, when really it’s more of the same bullshit women hear over and over again when it comes to street harassment. Frankly, I am much more likely to trust her judgement and assessment of what happened to hear rather that I would your judgement and assessment of what happened to her. You can fuck right off with your blaming of her.

  82. Sulliver says:

    Annaleigh: Oh fuck you, Anouskha said herself that she heard him yell “nice legs baby” at her. Believe it or not, women can hear shit even when we are wearing earphones. In fact sometimes some of us try to strike a balance of having earphones and music on to discourage unwanted attention, but not so loud that we’re unaware of our surroundings so that we know when trouble is coming.

    But no, you march in here and imply either that Anouskha hears things that aren’t there, is lying, or is at fault for wearing headphones in the crosswalk, and you think you have something worthwhile to offer, when really it’s more of the same bullshit women hear over and over again when it comes to street harassment. Frankly, I am much more likely to trust her judgement and assessment of what happened to hear rather that I would your judgement and assessment of what happened to her. You can fuck right off with your blaming of her.

    Stances I will take:

    1. Not for catcallers.
    2. Not for aggressive bicyclists.
    3. Not for inattentive joggers.
    4. Not for forum users named ‘Annaleigh’ with alarmingly poor comprehensive reading skills.

  83. Sheelzebub says:

    Here’s a stance I won’t take:

    Coddling a troll who says shit like “harassment is never justified BUT” and then goes on disbelieve and shrug off the story.

    You came off as derailing and blaming. Cut the shit.

    (Cueing the whining about Stalinism and dogma in 3. . .2. . .1. . .)

  84. Sulliver says:

    Sheelzebub:
    Here’s a stance I won’t take:

    Coddling a troll who says shit like “harassment is never justified BUT” and then goes on disbelieve and shrug off the story.

    You came off as derailing and blaming.Cut the shit.

    (Cueing the whining about Stalinism and dogma in 3. . .2. . .1. . .)

    Three posts, not one instance of the word ‘but’ (with the exception of just this moment, although this is also #4).

    Congratulations! You are equally terrible at reading, and equally eager to jump to conclusions about someone else’s intent.

    To the author: Anyone who shouts at you in the street and/or runs over your foot is absolutely a jackass. Indisputably, unequivocally. Not sure how to state that in any clearer of a fashion. Also (def: in addition to, not in spite of), I think, from what I’ve experienced from your typical audience, they would make for the world’s Most Interesting Book Club. Which, you know–exciting! And I once belonged to a weekly hopscotch tournament/book club.

  85. Sheelzebub says:

    Dude, you basically said that it was possible she heard wrong and that she wasn’t paying attention. You lectured her on street safety and completely ignored the point of the post.

    But thanks for playing.

  86. Annaleigh says:

    Sulliver: 4. Not for forum users named ‘Annaleigh’ with alarmingly poor comprehensive reading skills.

    Congratulations, you’re still a smug, blaming asshole, and no effort to tell me I didn’t read from you what I read will change that.

  87. Fat Steve says:

    Annaleigh: Oh fuck you, Anouskha said herself that she heard him yell “nice legs baby” at her.

    Maybe there was a baby nearby. Do you know huh? huh? Were you there? I think not.

    P.S. I am not being serious- just parodying the sort of moronic responses you seem to be getting.

  88. Pingback: Amy Elizabeth » Blog Archive » The One With All The Street Harassment

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