The way some men objectify women publicly on the street has been pissing me off for years. It's bullshit and it needs to stop, pronto.
In San Antonio street harassment was constant and scary. Any time I tried to walk somewhere, guys whistled at me, followed me in their cars, propositioned me when I was walking my dogs, told me to get into their cars at the bus stop; I almost never felt safe walking around that town.
Now that I'm in Seattle it's so much better. But even in a city with significantly more gender equality, street harassment happens, especially when a woman passes a group of younger men on the street after dark. Last night it happened twice to me in about 10 minutes as I was walking around downtown before a show.
Both times it happened like this...
*one guy looks me up and down*
Guy: "I would hit THAT" / "I'd do THAT"
*other guys laugh*
I knew they were talking to me because both times I was the only woman around. I can't tell you how terrible it is to be called an OBJECT--not 'her' but 'it' or 'that'--but when it happens in public it's even worse.
Are you purposely trying to dehumanize me?
Were you raised by misogynistic wolves?
Or perhaps you're just a shitty excuse for a human being?
It's obvious that we're still a far cry from gender equality because street harassment still happens. A LOT. And to all kinds of women of all shapes and sizes, young and old.
Saying you'd have sex with someone so they can hear you on the street is sexual harassment, pure and simple. And dehumanizing the woman by calling her 'it' or 'that' adds insult to injury. But the intent is clear. Make a woman feel small. Make a man seem big.
Men: if you thoughtlessly engage in calling women "THAT" or "IT" (even in "jest"), please fucking check yourselves. And if your mates do it, call them out. All you have to say is "DUDE" in a disapproving voice or roll your eyes. Signify in some way that this is not cool. It's not that hard to do. Literally referring to a person as an object has never been right and I think most of us can agree that harassing any human being on the street is repugnant.
If all us--both men and women--express our disgust when demeaning sexual comments are made about a woman, the behavior will die out. Organizations like Hollaback! and Stop Street Harassment are making people aware of the issue and helping women speak out. And if you haven't experienced street harassment, check out the viral video 10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman.
To the next man who says "I'd hit THAT" (in front of me):
I won't pretend I didn't hear your douchebag comment, they way I usually do.
Next time I'm going to call your shitty ass out, right there on the street in front of your friends. I'm going to shame you publicly for sexually harassing me.
I'll make you think twice about making that kind of comment to another woman.
The WOMAN you would 'do'
P.S. kudos to the amazing men who are enlightened enough to tackle this issue and do something about it. Aziz Ansari's Netflix series 'Master of None' has an amazing episode on sexual harassment entitled Ladies & Gentleman (Episode 7) that deals with men being kind of oblivious to the harassment women experience on a daily basis. And blogger Nate Pyle explains how he will teach his son to see women as more than just bodies. The post is really amazing and worth a read.
Tired of being harassed...or want to read more about the issue? Here are some good resources:
10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman
Hollaback! A movement to help end street harassment
Stop Street Harassment A non-profit org dedicated to documenting and stopping gender-based harassment worldwide
6 Things Men Can Do to Stop Street Harassment