October 16th, 8:39 AM
I was approaching the intersection of 3rd and 14th when a construction worker/foreman (he was directing other men on moving raw materials at the same time. What a multitasker.) did the pretty standard “I’m a nice guy so don’t get mad” catcall. As I passed he went “Good morning, sweetheart. Have a nice day. And, smile - it’s not so bad.” He said it with this weird edge in his voice, as if the “pleasantries” were actually mild threats.
And that’s what I hate about these guys: they know they aren’t genuine and are taking advantage of social niceties to make you pay attention to them and let you know your body and presence is for their consumption. And unlike a dude who “Hey Baby”s me, I can’t just flip him off and move on because we’re not both acknowledging he’s a dick. He’s pretending to be a nice person who just needs me to smile for him like a trained monkey.
9:03 am • 16 October 2014 • 1 note
“There’s no point to a guy yelling, “Hey sexy baby” at me out of the passenger window of a car as it speeds past. Even if I was into creepy misogynists and wanted to give him my number, I couldn’t. The car didn’t even slow down. But that’s okay, because he wasn’t actually hitting on me. The point wasn’t to proposition me or chat me up. The only point was to remind me, and all women, that our bodies are his to stare at, assess, comment on, even touch. “Hey sexy baby” is the first part of a sentence that finishes, “this is your daily message from the patriarchy, reminding you that your body is public property”.”
— My First Name Ain’t Baby: ‘Hey Baby’ and Street Harassment (via official-mens-frights-activist)
11:18 am • 15 October 2014 • 83,459 notes
Got a Girl Crush On: Elana Adler’s catcall samplers
This series of thirty-two (plus) samplers is intended to be provocative and evoke emotion. It is a contemporary feminist interpretation of women’s work and an objectification of my personal experience. Each captures a moment, giving these words a visual presence, a power, and a state of concreteness. These words were hurled casually and heard quickly but required hours of time-consuming, careful stitching.
The physically delicate, traditionally feminine, form of the piece engages the viewer and confronts him/ her with a sweetness that may mask its crassness and vulgarity.
You read one sampler. Perhaps you are amused, but as you continue reading and consider the body as an entire collection, the response changes. The inherent filth emerges. It is a beautification of an assault. Perhaps in the moment these statements are meant to compliment, but most don’t find vulgar, highly sexualized statements whispered or screamed at them by random strangers complimentary. Rather, they are an invasion of personal space.
The body of samplers is a contemporary and unexpected response to unsolicited and unwanted attention. They reduce the complex emotional experience of being heckled by catcalls to a simple piece of women’s work.
More at www.elanaadler.com/index.php?/other-work/you-are-my-dutchess
9:59 am • 9 October 2014 • 168 notes
Author John Scalzi was on a roll this morning (currently 7:14 AM, 26 Sept. 2014) with a tweet he found from some guy sending out an “ultimatum” to women to “make a choice” between feminism and, well, men like him. So Scalzi launched into a truly magnificent set of scorchers, which I’m posting here for the delectation of people everywhere.
Also: I would like to thank that guy for setting the ultimatum. It makes finding a boyfriend so much easier when the undesirable ones wear a placard identifying themselves.
7:44 pm • 27 September 2014 • 119,054 notes
September 20th, 6:55 PM
On the other end of the subway ride, walking to a friend’s apartment, I passed a large, fenced in basketball court. There were five young boys - I’d say about 12 - who started yelling at me all at once. Phrases I caught included “Ooooooooh! Take my dick” and “I’d fuck your fat, bisexual pussy”. I said “It’s really sad you’re starting this young.” and continued walking. Unsurprisingly, that had no effect.
12:36 pm • 21 September 2014 • 2 notes
September 20th, 6:24 PM
I walked out of my apartment and basically into a group of 3 young men (mid 20s), one of whom immediately said “Smile, Baby. It can’t be that bad. Come on give me a little smile! You’d look so much prettier.” I didn’t even have resting bitchface on; I’d say I looked pleasantly neutral. I maneuvered so I was further away from the guy talking, and walked quickly through them so that I could move beyond them, but he kept going, so I flipped him off over my shoulder, and the classic switch flipped. Immediately it was “Fuck you, bitch. I was paying you a compliment!” (Which was….what exactly? There’s nothing that even resembles a compliment in that stream of bullshit.) so I turned around, gave him this weird jazz hands gesture - I perform well under pressure - and went “Ooooooh! I’m sorry! I forgot I owed you shit for daring to walk in public!”
His friends laughed. A lot. Unclear whether it was at me or him. And then I booked it away from them as nonchalantly as possible.
6:52 pm • 20 September 2014 • 3 notes
Tonight I went out to a small pub for karaoke, and the DJ happened to notice that I have big breasts. (MAZEL TOV, YOU HAVE EYES! WELL SPOTTED!)
So anyway, this guy decides to do the bar a favor and say, “Wow, I don’t usually single people out, but did you see this girl’s breasts? They’re amazing!” I was horrified. Men came over to talk to me, I huddled in a corner with my phone and tried to look as unapproachable as possible. I considered leaving, but I was there with my friends and didn’t want to go home.
Eventually, I felt comfortable enough to go up and sing (“Foolish Games” obvi), and I guess I should have seen it coming, but the DJ went ahead and did a 5 minute bit about my boobs with me standing right there in front of everyone. I was already pretty nervous what with being a writer hanging out with a group of professional singers, and by the end of his bit, I wanted to crawl under the floor and die. I cracked a joke about being uncomfortable (yaaaay comedy writer), and the DJ said, "Relax, it’s a compliment."
No. No. No.
Reducing me to the body parts you like best is not a compliment. Demeaning me and making me feel small is not a compliment. Reminding me that you and any other man who wants to can take my body as your own whenever you feel like it is not a compliment, no matter how jokey or flattering or whatever your tone.
I am sick of having to pretend harassment is flattery, and even more sick of being called ill-humored when I respond poorly. When I get upset about your harassment, I’m not ruining the fun. You are.
Sorry for the <rant>, but I’d like to pledge to be more outspoken in standing up for myself the next time this happens, no matter how scared or small I feel. Even more important, I hope I’ll have the guts to stand up for someone else next time I see something like this happening to another person — and I hope all of you (**especially you, male readers**) will do the same. Smooches! </rant>
3:13 am • 24 August 2014 • 608 notes
#NotJustHello is a recent Twitter dialogue (started by @Karnythia) on how street harassment is not just about men not being able to say “hello” to women (though all who experience street harassment aren’t necessarily “women” or ID as such). Above are some of my tweets during that conversation. The idea that it is women “preventing” hello is not just a violently gross lie, but a mass oversimplification of the verbal/physical abuse and even sexual assault/murder that comes about via street harassment.
Anyone who thinks all I describe above is okay clearly supports violence. None of these actions (and I’ve experienced much worse; some I don’t even discuss online) above are about saying “hello.” It’s one of the reasons why I included "so I can’t say hello?" in my Street Harassment and Street Harassment + Misogynoir BINGO card, that I included again in this post.
The first time I posted the BINGO card is in my recent post about my experiences, my writing on street harassment as experienced as a Black woman and the anti-street harassment chat #YouOkSis (by @Russian_Starr and @FeministaJones) scheduled for Thursday, July 10th at 12pm. In this aforementioned post (and within my years of writing on the topic) I address why some people want Black women silenced on this topic (and in general) and how the racist and anti-intersectional mainstream media framing and centering of White women as the only victims of street harassment with Black men as only perpetrators removes other men’s culpability and again, silences Black women. This is a time and space for Black women to speak our truths.
Related Post: Street Harassment Is Violence (Essay Compilation)
11:01 pm • 27 July 2014 • 4,063 notes
July 18th, 9:38 PM
I’m in Boston (surprise) and I was walking to meet some friends at a bar when I passed a guy shotgunning a Four Loko on the street, like a gentleman. He yelled at me - through his mouthful of beverage - “I LIKE YOUR STRIPED DRESS.” When I kept walking, he followed it up with “NOT LIKE YOU FUCKIN CARE.”
For the record, I wasn’t even wearing a striped dress, but a striped skirt and a blatantly separate solid oxford shirt. But then again, open container laws are also pretty basic, so I wouldn’t have a lot of confidence in his intelligence level.
12:53 am • 19 July 2014 • 2 notes
|Guy on train:
||I'd fuck you if you didn't have so many tattoos.
||*turns up music*
||I said I'd fuck you if you didn't have so many tattoos!
||*takes off headphones* Leave. Me. Alone.
||Why the fuck do you have so many tattoos?
||Are you fucking deaf as well as a piece of trash?
|Lady by door:
||Hey. Leave her alone.
||Are you her trash girlfriend? Fucking dykes, all tattooed like fucking men. Disgusting waste of pussy.
||*moves forward, carefully moves jacket so only I can see the badge on her belt* Are you okay?
||Fine. Just wish he'd go away.
||I can make that happen.
||Oh, yeah, bitch? Who the fuck are you? I'll kill you!
||And that's what I was waiting for. *grabs guy, holds him against the door* Harassing women on the train was enough, but you just threatened a cop. You're battin' a thousand tonight.
10:25 am • 25 June 2014 • 563,867 notes
“With the exception of that time when I got The Great Brooklyn Stomach Bug of 2013 and spent three straight days watching Downton Abbey on my bathroom floor, I have not gone a single day in New York without a man yelling at me, rubbing up against me, making lewd gestures in my direction, providing unsolicited commentary on my body, or badgering me for my contact information.
"But that sounds ludicrous!" the dudes protest. And it is! Until you talk to literally any woman ever and they tell you the exact same thing.
Every mundane choice you make, from the length of your skirt to the opacity of your tights to the volume of your iPod to the sturdiness of your jewelry, must be considered carefully and yet doesn’t matter at all. If I had to run in these shoes, could I? If someone grabbed my ponytail or my necklace, could I shake him off? Does this color make me look like I want to be approached? And off come the never-worn stilettos and down comes the hair, and all of a sudden you’re wearing an outfit that you hate, because you are just too fucking tired to deal with it today…and some asshole walks up to you on the train platform and starts making kissy noises in your ear anyway.
It’s like an eternal ringing in your ears, except sometimes that ringing assumes a human form and follows you home at night.”
Your Summer Guide to Annihilating Street Harassers (via celaenoo)
This is absolutely true of every woman I know, absolutely contributed to my depression there, and absolutely made me move away.
Yes, all women.
3:15 pm • 18 June 2014 • 5,238 notes
June 17th, 10:13 PM
There’s a group of young homeless people (mostly male) who are set up near my apartment. I have a feeling that they are at least partially homeless by choice since they were parked in the same spot last summer and disappeared the second it started to get cold, though I could definitely be wrong. I would be inclined to help them out a bit except that one of the men yelled sexist shit at me at least once a week all last summer.
Those are the times that it is so clear to me how much catcalls are about power and fit into rape culture. He yells crap at me to make himself feel better; to try to reassert his dominance when I have a home and he - an ablebodied early-20s white guy - does not. He may be homeless, but at least he can make me feel like shit, amiright?
So last night, he did it again. I was walking to a bar and a heavier, older woman was passing them in the other direction. They asked her for money very politely and she dug into her purse and gave them a dollar or two. They told her to have a good night right as I passed the exchange and right afterwards the catcaller yelled after me (without asking for anything) “Mmmmm, mmmmm, MMMMMMM! And you DEFINITELY have a good night.” Could be worse, but it’s also likely to happen all summer long.
12:48 pm • 18 June 2014 • 1 note
But what makes street harassment difficult to tackle in everyday life is that there doesn’t seem to be a clear-cut way to deal with it. Other countries have tried to implement female-only train cars to curb harassment, Italy opened a women-only beach to stop the leering and catcalling and now hotels are even offering floors dedicated only to female travelers.
The message here is that women should change their behavior, not men. And what happens if women-only spaces become the norm and someone is harassed outside of one – will we blamed for not taking our designated train car? We deserve safety in public spaces, not just in segregated “safe zones”.
— The end of hisses, whistles and stares: we need to walk the streets without fear, my latest at the Guardian US (via jessicavalenti)
5:25 pm • 13 June 2014 • 896 notes
June 4th, 8:26 AM
I was walking and noticed the guy walking towards me blatantly looking me up and down and muttering about legs. In general? Mine? Only he knows. He was so busy looking at me, he ran into a construction scaffolding pole.
5:00 pm • 9 June 2014 • 5 notes