Breaking: Weird, Area Woman Wasn’t Harassed Today

In a bizarre twist, she didn’t even get any lascivious grins or reminders that it wouldn’t hurt to smile.

ATLANTA–Returning home from work Wednesday evening, area woman Caitlin Levy suddenly realized that, quite unusually, she had not been harassed or propositioned for sex even once the entire day, the puzzled 28-year-old told reporters.

Noting that she had just experienced a lingering sense of ease and safety all day long that “just felt off,” the paralegal told reporters that, strange as it may sound, she somehow could not recall one single instance from the past 10 hours in which she had been gawked at, hit on repeatedly, or otherwise leered at by a male as she conducted her daily routine.

“Maybe I’m just living in an alternate universe,” she said after returning with a look of utter bewilderment. “An alternate universe where I don’t want to crawl into a hole 35 times per day.”

28 comments for “Breaking: Weird, Area Woman Wasn’t Harassed Today

  1. August 10, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    People (MEN) telling me to smile while I am just going about my business is my least favorite thing. Especially vexing because they are being sexist but think they are being nice.

  2. Dan
    August 10, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    I am one part really happy that the Onion did something this on point about something so ignored… and one part really wanting to hit something that this is so dismissed a problem that the ONION is the only thing that will address it in the popular sphere.

  3. Kaija24
    August 10, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    That is oddly how I felt at first after moving to Large Canadian City…I went running and people only commented with stuff about the weather or positive comments like “good for you!”). Bizarre indeed…I have whole layers of defense that have fallen into disuse.

    The one time I *did* get propositioned on the street, it surprised me so much that I stopped, asked the guy if he was American (he was), and told him, “FYI, they don’t do that here…try to fit in.” And he apologized, which was the second shock of the day.

  4. pheenobarbidoll
    August 10, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    We must have lived in different areas of Canada. When men heard my Texas accent, I was propositioned to say dirty sexual things for them.

    Go fuck yourself probably wasn’t what they had in mind.

  5. August 10, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    People (MEN) telling me to smile while I am just going about my business is my least favorite thing. Especially vexing because they are being sexist but think they are being nice.

    As a straight young Man, I must say that you are completely wrong. Men have told me to smile countless times! So stop trying to find sexism where it doesn’t exist!!!11

    (even typing that made me cringe)

  6. August 10, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    Kaija, I totally get how you feel. Moving to Canada has been a major relief where creepers on public transport is concerned… or even creepers on the street or where I study. I hadn’t realised how exhausting the expectation of yells/groping was, until I could stop expecting it.

    pheeno, fwiw, Canadians seem to be somewhat ruder to USians, so I could believe that, yeah. Sorry that happened to you.

  7. pheenobarbidoll
    August 10, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    pheeno, fwiw, Canadians seem to be somewhat ruder to USians, so I could believe that, yeah. Sorry that happened to you.

    Pigs are pigs wherever they’re from. The majority of people were nice, but men who feel entitled to treat women like that exist everywhere.

    It was also the whitest town I had ever been in. It took me a few days to figure out what felt off, and suddenly it hit me- there were no brown people.

    There were 2 Asian families and 2 Greek families. That was it as far as diversity went.

    Kinda freaky.

  8. August 10, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    Ahh.. so it’s a geography thing. Always wondered why I felt oddly left-out of the street harassment conversations.

    Also extending my apologies to Pheeno for my more douche-tastic countrymen.

  9. August 10, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    Pigs are pigs wherever they’re from. The majority of people were nice, but men who feel entitled to treat women like that exist everywhere.

    Oh, I’m not arguing with you about that, just pointing out that from what I’ve seen, Americans seem to occupy a blind spot where exoticising/vaguely racist behaviour is concerned, for Canadians.

    And yeah, ugh, the whiteness… the towns (anything with a population over like 50K) seem fine, I’ve seen a fair percentage of POC where I live and I’m not in a big city or anything. But the littler places achieve Whiteness Level Dazzle.

  10. Donna L
    August 10, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    My 22-year old (obviously gay) son was getting off the subway recently when an apparently intoxicated man slapped his rear end and said “nice ass.” I was horrified; he said he felt flattered. I said to him that one time might feel flattering, and it’s his right to feel however he wants, but that he’d probably get very tired of the experience very quickly if similar things kept on happening to him, as they do for so many women.

  11. August 10, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    As a straight young Man, I must say that you are completely wrong. Men have told me to smile countless times! So stop trying to find sexism where it doesn’t exist!!!11

    I never understood that line of thinking. I *have* been sexually harassed at times. “As a straight young Man, I must say that”… It really is incredibly vexing! Where does that go from a basis for empathy to a supposed counter-argument?

  12. Jim
    August 10, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    “pheeno, fwiw, Canadians seem to be somewhat ruder to USians, so I could believe that, yeah. Sorry that happened to you.’

    That, or just negative stereotypes about Texan women. If the only Texan women you’ve met have been in CW songs, you might make some stupid assumptions.

  13. August 10, 2012 at 6:06 pm

    I’ve seen a fair percentage of POC where I live and I’m not in a big city or anything. But the littler places achieve Whiteness Level Dazzle.

    It also depends on where you live *in* the city. I grew up in a moderately-sized Canadian city which was reasonably diverse from a pure numbers perspective, but highly specific in who lived where (and not just along class lines either – there was the “poor whites” area of town as well as several “poor/newcomer POC” neighbourhoods), so you could grow up in particular middle-class or very wealthy neighbourhoods and still think the world was full of mostly white people. I think it’s changing? I’m living in the Prairie provinces now and the big theme is a huge influx of mainly POC newcomers from a lot of different countries because of the (relatively) better job market, so there’s been a radically shifting dynamic there, but by no means an integrated population yet.

    Re: street harassment. I’ve never lived in any Canadian neighbourhood where I had to deal with this as a really big problem compared to some of the stories I’ve heard come up from the US, but when I did get inappropriate come-ons, it was specifically when I was under-aged (and looked it), which always made me feel a bit ill to think on it. After I turned 17 or 18, it tapered right off.

  14. Bagelsan
    August 10, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    As a straight young Man, I must say that you are completely wrong. Men have told me to smile countless times!

    I know you’re joking, but my boyfriend has actually been publicly propositioned and groped and I never have been; sometimes certain men do get the *snerflol* hard end of the stick.

    (I’ve been verbally harassed more than he has in total, usually in a “smile, beautiful!” way.)

  15. pheenobarbidoll
    August 10, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    t also depends on where you live *in* the city

    I lived in Jasper AB. Not a city by anyone’s definition. Unless you count the elk.

  16. August 10, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    I lived in Jasper AB. Not a city by anyone’s definition. Unless you count the elk.

    Oh yeah, it’s a principle that definitely only applies in the cities, like Mac was saying – once you’re out in small communities, it’s mainly all white (or Native if you’re on a reserve).

    I also apologize on behalf of my country for the shitty treatment you received. :(

  17. DouglasG
    August 10, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    [My 22-year old (obviously gay) son was getting off the subway recently when an apparently intoxicated man slapped his rear end and said “nice ass.” I was horrified; he said he felt flattered. I said to him that one time might feel flattering, and it’s his right to feel however he wants, but that he’d probably get very tired of the experience very quickly if similar things kept on happening to him, as they do for so many women.]

    I get your point, but it could be the Gay-Straight Divide showing again. Not that I’ve been objectified for a considerable period of time, but there was a huge difference. Receiving that treatment from “straight” men felt threatening and creepy. But remove the power disparity and the dynamic of one half of a possible couple exercising the privilege, and it was very different – not always fun (and I’ll admit, not my style), but much more positive on the whole.

    (Amusing Aside: The nearest I ever did to anything like that myself was entirely innocent. When I was younger and newly out, my waist size went down from 32 to 30, and I used to show my close friends that my favourite trousers weren’t tight by taking someone’s hand and putting it down my back side to feel for himself. I did this with about four friends until one of them mentioned that I was causing Something to Happen. I was genuinely embarrassed, because the idea had never occurred to me.)

  18. miga
    August 10, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    Right now I live in a pretty poor, mainly black/Caribbean part of Brooklyn and it’s frustrating to have to bite my tongue or look busy twice a day to/from work. And even that doesn’t make much difference- it just gives me a better excuse to ignore them when they call after me (though one time a guy tried to grab my arm because I was on the phone and didn’t acknowledge his hello)

    And I absolutely hate when the black men around my age will go: “baby, i’m not a savage” or “You’re not gonna talk to me? That’s racist!” FOOL, I’m FUCKING BLACK TOO. Stop trying to guilt me by being a racebaiting asshole, and act like a gentleman.

    I’m originally from a place where people are cordial and say hello to each other when passing on the street. I can’t do that here. I can’t make eye contact. And it’s humiliating because these are supposed to be my people. I want to connect with the folks in this new neighborhood, but it’s so hard when many of the men feel they own my body from the get go.

    I can’t go out for walks in my own fucking neighborhood. It sucks.

  19. August 10, 2012 at 11:16 pm

    I lived in Jasper AB. Not a city by anyone’s definition. Unless you count the elk.

    Ahhh, no, yeah, that’s so not a city. It’s also skewed even whiter than other rural areas, because of the obscene richness (or the service-industry-related indenturedness) you have to have in order to live there, from what I understand.

  20. August 10, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    That, or just negative stereotypes about Texan women. If the only Texan women you’ve met have been in CW songs, you might make some stupid assumptions.

    *blinks* I wasn’t even aware of this. Any resources/101 I can get on that, if anyone feels like taking the time? I’m not that well educated in finer stereotypings than north/south, Appalachian/east-coaster tropes, where the US is concerned, and I don’t think I accidentally used any, but…

  21. pheenobarbidoll
    August 10, 2012 at 11:46 pm

    I’m not a big CW fan, but I’ve yet to hear a song that says Texas women would be fine with a random stranger accosting her at the grocery store after hearing her speak to the cashier.

    Most that I’m aware of tend to give the impression we’re bitches.

  22. August 11, 2012 at 12:08 am

    It took me a few days to figure out what felt off, and suddenly it hit me- there were no brown people.

    I had that same sensation when I visited Portland, OR.

  23. Schmorgluck
    August 11, 2012 at 11:51 am

    A Belgian student in cinema recently made a hidden-camera movie, as her final graduation project, about the usual harrasment she was confronted with in the area of Brussels she lived in. (look up “Sofie Peeters” and “Femmes de la rue” for more about that) It’s been broadcast two weeks ago on TV.

    It triggered a wave of reactions, in the form of much, much anecdote-sharing, from women of all walks of life, about just about any area in the French-speaking world. At a point, a (male) journalist expressed on Twitter that this had to be exceptional because he had never heard about it before. As a response, a feminist blogger launched the Twitter hashtag #harcelementderue (“street harassment”) for women to share their experiences about it. The aforementioned male journalist have been a good sport about it, and wrote an article on his blog about how he was totally baffled because he really didn’t know how common that was.

    Street harassment is still currently a huge subject in discussions on French-speaking Twitter and French-speaking Web at large. Sadly, a lot of it is about debunking xenophobic subtext in the debate, based on the original movie being shot in a primarily north-African neighborhood.

    As for me, a French cis-male, I was aware of the phenomenon. I learned about it about ten years ago on a French feminist forum. A forum member told how she asked her male lifemate to follow her unconspicuously while she walked on the streets, just so he knew what she had to face. So I knew it existed. Yet I didn’t know how pervasive it was. That’s something I only discovered recently with this debate. And like the male journalist mentioned above, I’m all “HOLY SHIT” about it, even though I knew better than him to begin with. And as a forever-recovering-victim of school bullying, I know how toxic such things can be.

    This is the kind of issue that feminism should advertise better, IMHO. Duuuh, wait… No, I’m not sure that’s how I should word it. I mean, men who are genuinely supportive of feminism, can still be totally unaware of this particular issue, because 1) they don’t do it, and 2) the women they know don’t talk about it because it’s so OBVIOUS.

  24. joyce
    August 11, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    I am Canadian:

    “Hey blondie, want to fuck?” – and variations yelled from passing cars.
    “If only I was a generation younger…” – from the older men at church, or in public.
    Got patted on my ass as I exited a city bus – by the bus driver.
    Car honks – all the time.
    Whistles – the rest of the time.
    Pushed to the ground and groped by a classmate, twice.
    “BITCH!” – when I nicely refused a drink from a guy in the bar.

    I mean, it goes on… need I say more?

  25. Azalea
    August 11, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    I’ve been harassed since puberty made it’s debut. It ranges from “Hey Beautiful” to “Daaaaaaaaaaaaamnnnnnnnn she badd.” My boys love trains so I took them on the metro one day, a teenager saw the boys playing and asked me if those were my kids I smiled and said yes and he responds ” You look GREAT to be a mom” ..>< are moms not supposed to be look good? And it feels gross whenever a child compliments me more bothersome to me than when an adult gives an unsolicited compliment because it feels like I've done something wrong; wore something too sexy and "corrupted" someone's son. I know, internalized sexism but that's the reality of it for me.

  26. J
    August 12, 2012 at 12:37 am

    Um, randomness because I don’t know where to put this
    but
    Does anyone know how to pronounce ‘Feministe’? Is it just, like, ‘feminist’? When I say it in my head it’s femin-ee-st.

  27. scrumby
    August 12, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    My 22-year old (obviously gay) son was getting off the subway recently when an apparently intoxicated man slapped his rear end and said “nice ass.” I was horrified; he said he felt flattered. I said to him that one time might feel flattering, and it’s his right to feel however he wants, but that he’d probably get very tired of the experience very quickly if similar things kept on happening to him, as they do for so many women.

    There was an anecdote going around tumbler awhile back in which a newly out transwoman sent her friend a text talking about how she got cat-called and was absolutely thrilled because it meant she was passing. Later texts showed that sentiment didn’t last the day.

  28. roro80
    August 13, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    This is how I felt when I moved to the Castro in San Francisco (the gay district) — suddenly the cat calling, random sidewalk groping, car whistling, propositioning, and daily marriage proposals from dudes in cars were just…gone. It was like magic.

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