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 • 582 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 • 4,006 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 • 1 note
|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 • 539,726 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 • 5,225 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 • 895 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
Max: I uh… I like your tight body. It looks like it would do what I tell it.
Max: I said…
Joan: No, I heard what you said. And I’ll admit ‘What?’ was a rather banal, cliché, noncolorful response. What I really meant to say was: ‘Why don’t you do the world a big fat fucking favor and crawl back into your mother’s womb?’
(Source: oldfilmsflicker, via oldfilmsflicker)
5:12 pm • 28 May 2014 • 1,248 notes
May 27th, 6:28 PM
It has been a long time, and though there have been a couple slight instances of harassment in there, for the most part it’s been MIA. I felt kind of weird about it for a while, since street harassment has been a constant, though of course unwelcome, presence in my time in New York. Had I changed? Not really. Had New York changed? That’s a stupid question. Chance definitely had a lot to do with it (as did being at my computer less to remember to write down the tiny instances), but I think I also just happened to be around the city a little less, going out a little less, and going out in larger groups or with men much more, all of which make it less likely to be catcalled.
But today it came back of course, because no terrible systemic problem goes away forever. I was walking down 1st Avenue, stressed and like most other women, deeply disturbed by the gender violence of the past few days, when a man walking towards me stopped dead in his tracks. He probably wasn’t homeless but I’ll politely call him scruffy and he opened his mouth in mock surprise and started fanning his mouth/face with his hand. When I ignored him, he started following me, starting on some speech with “damn girl you looking so fine…..” at which point he definitely kept talking but I didn’t hear anymore and I was so pissed at not being able to do anything that I turned around and yelled at him “Do you have any idea how often I have to put up with this shit?” (I know it’s not technically true right now but it felt true) He drew a giant breath to start defending himself and I put my hand up in front of his face and went “Don’t. Just don’t. I don’t want to hear it.” and then crossed the street really fast before the light changed.
6:56 pm • 27 May 2014 • 2 notes
“Despite what it may seem like on the surface, street harassment is not about simple attraction any more than rape is. Street harassment is about power, control, ownership of public space and visible displays of masculine domination. Those things are assumed and taken for granted as the standard of what is normal among those who exist in this society as men. Because of those dangerous assumptions, women end up occupying volatile claimed territory at any point they decide to step outside of their homes.”
12:10 pm • 1 May 2014 • 163 notes
April 19th, 6:37 PM
I was walking down Avenue B past Tompkins, talking on the phone and wearing jeans and a sweatshirt, and suddenly there’s a huge commotion coming from the park. It’s a group of three or four teenage boys so displeased with my covered appearance that they stopped their basketball game to yell alternative outfit suggestions at me.
No thank you for your input; I will do whatever I want.
11:41 am • 21 April 2014 • 5 notes
April 12th, 2:13 PM
I was walking with a friend in Kips Bay and a middle aged guy walking towards us pointed to one and then the other of us and went “Nice. Nice.” My friend laughed nervously and said “Ugh, WHY?”
I wish I knew. I really wish I knew.
11:18 pm • 14 April 2014
April 10th, 6:28 PM
I was checking out at Trader Joe’s and i was fixated on unloading my items from the basket, so I didn’t hear the cashier say “how are you?” He said it again and refused to start scanning until I answered him. I was a little embarrassed even though he was being weird, but then he kept asking more and more questions, none completely unreasonable, but all a little invasive for someone I don’t know and am not responding to with any enthusiasm - do you live in the city, where exactly do you live, how long have you been here, where did you come from, why did you leave. He was weirdly aggressive about it and controlling. He wouldn’t let me tell him I had reusable bags, wouldn’t let me bag the groceries, and if I didn’t answer him quickly enough, he would stop scanning items. Eventually, he finished (maybe he asked me out? I don’t remember) and I left quickly.
It was the strangest interaction because he didn’t do or say anything really WRONG, but the entire thing was extremely uncomfortable.
5:55 pm • 14 April 2014 • 1 note
For the past couple days, I’ve been yelled at a lot when I’m on the phone, which is annoying as shit, but also makes very uninteresting reports because I have no idea what was said.
So basically, dudes said things and it was annoying.
4:57 pm • 31 March 2014