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Articles like this highlight the systemic, societal based normative attitudes that we are bathed in.  Male violence is looked on in a sympathetic light and the narratives spun around them serve as a justification for their actions.

Lying in wait with a shotgun under your family’s car and then dispatching your wife and daughter with a shotgun is not a fucking act to by sympathized with.  This sort of violence and abuse is the hidden backdrop of our society and needs to brought to light in a most unsympathetic and biased toward the victim way.  Laying low at the root of situations like these is the male patterned socialization that states that using violence is an acceptable way to solve problems – coupled with the notion that women somehow are property and less than human leads directly to shit like this murder suicide.

We need to change the programming for our men and despite the insidious backlash of from the patriarchy about letting ‘boys be boys’ we need to get them early and counter these messages that glamorize violence and dehumanize women.

I know which minor superpower I’d like to have, I’d like the ability to switch minds of other people, or increase the amount of empathy others feel toward each other.  So much of the problem (other than the dudely shit-stains that actually harass women) is that people just can’t relate or believe women when they say they have been harassed.  This shouldn’t be rocked science – the social norms surrounding the harassment of women – need to be rightly moved over into the category of ‘unacceptable all the time’ and left their for perpetuity.  We don’t condone physical violence on the streets, why are we allowing this psychological (and often physical) torment to continue?  So a big thank you to the Gradient Lair for compiling this survey of street harassment responses.

 

“I recently mentioned a street harassment incident (they occur often, 10-75 times a week for over 20 years now) on Twitter, and I received a plethora of ignorant responses. I realized that these responses are common, so I documented them here.

1) “Gosh, where do YOU live?” This is asked for two reasons, besides the person being ignorant, of course. One is that they want to find a way to “contain” the negative behavior and associate it with a place where they don’t live, kind of like how people are currently pretending that racism is only in Florida and sexism is only in Texas. The second reason is that they want to be able to associate street harassment happening to a woman with some awful place that she “chose” to live in. This disregards class, race, culture and other factors that determine where people live.

2) “That NEVER happens to me!” Saying this is not empathetic, especially as a reply to someone explaining an awful street harassment incident. When cis hetero men say this, they are being ignorant of their male privilege. Of course they aren’t street harassed. (I am talking about street harassment here, which is highly gendered, not police harassment, for example, of Black men.) When White women (some of them are never street harassed or rarely street harassed compared to Black women) or women of a high social class (as street harassment does have some race/class factors at play) say this, they mean to infer the inferiority of the woman it has happened to. Because we live in a victim-blaming rape culture, if street harassment is deemed the fault of the person it happens to and it doesn’t happen to “some” women, it then implies that they aren’t as “low” as the women who experienced it.

3) “Just ignore it!” This is the lazy response from people who think they HAVE TO reply versus listening, understanding and empathizing with a woman who experiences street harassment. They are actually implying that the harassment is her fault for noticing it occurred. And at times, ignoring street harassment can have dangerous effects for a woman if that man is of the type who cannot handle being ignored and escalates the harassment to physical violence. “Ignoring” is a difficult thing to do anyway when speaking of something that happens with the frequency that I experience street harassment. How can I “ignore” up to 75 insults a week?

4) “Take it as a compliment; if you weren’t beautiful it wouldn’t happen!” This usually comes from patriarchal men who also street harass. They view anything they do, no matter how aggressive and dehumanizing as “flattering” for a woman. Further, this stance does not work. No matter how a woman looks, whether she is considered “beautiful” or “ugly,” men will justify harassment.

5) “Just move somewhere else!” This is the classist argument. Because street harassment tends to occur in cities (especially with public transportation) more than suburbs and in communities with higher male unemployment and poverty than ones that don’t have that, people assume that you can just pack up your S-Class Mercedes and buy a new mansion in a new city where though misogyny will still be present, naturally, it may not be in the form of street harassment. This also ignores the fact that no matter where I go, for example, I am a Black woman there. People decide to disrespect me based on who I am, not just based on what city I am in.

6) “You’re just saying that because the guy was ugly!” People who genuinely believe that street harassment is “flirting” think that disrespectful and aggressive men who are “attractive” are tolerable. After dealing with street harassment for over 20 years now, I know how utterly ridiculous this assumption is. I promise if the guy looks like Idris Elba and street harasses me, I am still angry. Plenty of physically attractive men street harass me (though most are ashy irritant pissants) and I am angry when it occurs. I don’t want to be harassed. I genuinely delight in a day where not a single man speaks to me. It’s peaceful and I am happy when I go home.

7)“Well say something smart back to him; that’ll fix him!” This response usually comes from those who have never experienced street harassment or it never became physical. While some men can be cursed out well (and I have done that) some cannot. Knowing which ones can and can’t is a guessing game that I don’t want to play in most cases. Just like ignoring one can escalate to violence, so can cursing one out.

8) “Go different places then!” So, women should not go to work, their coffee shoppes, their supermarkets, their bookstores, their laundromats, their gyms, etc. because men will be there and will harass them? Again, this is a location-associated response that ignores the fact that some women (like me and most Black women) are PROFILED and TARGETED for street harassment. It is about US, not the location.

9) “Well, a lot worse could happen!” This reeks of rape culture. Who is to determine what is better or worse? Only the person who experiences the wrath of misogyny, misogynoir, transmisogyny or homophobia (as some gay men are street harassed as well) knows what the experience is like. Even more legally serious violence like domestic violence and rape itself are brushed off as jokes or blamed on the victim. So the idea that I should be “thankful” for street harassment because it isn’t rape ignores the fact that no matter what happens to a Black woman, people will respond with victim blaming.

10) “What were you wearing; what did YOU do to cause it?” I addressed this response before in my post 6 Common Derailment Tactics Used In Conversations About Street Harassment and Sexual Assault and in Rape “Prevention” Advice That Doesn’t Include Tips For Men’s Behavior = Rape Culture. While the wardrobe comments are refuted over and over and why the street harasser or rapist is at fault is explained, people continually retreat to this ignorant argument. Girls are raped by their fathers wearing the clothing their fathers bought them. Women are raped fully clothed and in work clothes/uniform. Women are street harassed no matter what they wear. And regardless of clothing, the harasser or the rapist IS THE ONE AT FAULT.

Notice that in all of these examples ZERO ACCOUNTABILITY is applied to the men who street harass. None. Also, notice the lack of genuine concern and empathy for me or other women who are street harassed. Street harassment is a part of rape culture.

Related Posts: all posts tagged with “street harassment” on Gradient Lair”

As always, IBTP.

 

 

 

The sports term for idiocy like this is ‘own goal’. Well done dudes.

But unfortunately, back here on earth the most oppressed class in Western society – white males – is trumpeting their dismay… nay! anguish! over the lack of white dudery on the upcoming CBS Star Trek Discovery series.

Looks star trekkie enough for me. But of for others…

One opines that, for fans of a relentlessly optimistic and progressive sci-fi show, there seems to be a bit of a disconnect between what Trek is about, and the attitudes of people who watch and inhabit the Trek fandom believe.

I actually kind of relish the amount of whinging going on here, as these oppressed men bloviate on (usually dipping into sexism and racism) about how they cannot relate to the cast because they don’t see themselves portrayed.

Welcome to the default setting of what one half of the world’s population experiences almost every day of their lives.

The Neo-liberal programme is the very antithesis of class consciousness and solidarity.  The hyper individual focus of neo-liberal dogma forever places the systemic problems of society out of reach, while at the same time insisting that the Pyrrhic drive to better oneself (see self recrimination and loathing) is the only solution.

     “This is a kind of neo-liberalism of the emotions, in which happiness is seen not as a response to our circumstances but as a result of our own individual mental effort, a reward for the deserving. The problem is not your sky-high rent or meager paycheck, your cheating spouse or unfair boss or teetering pile of dirty dishes. The problem is you.
      It is, of course, easier and cheaper to blame the individual for thinking the wrong thoughts than it is to tackle the thorny causes of his unhappiness. So we give inner-city schoolchildren mindfulness classes rather than engage with education inequality, and instruct exhausted office workers in mindful breathing rather than giving them paid vacation or better health care benefits.”

[Source:New York Times]

It would be nice to believe that we are past the era of patriarchal stereotypes.  Unfortunately, this is not that case.  PSA’s like these three pictures exist because even in the most advanced Western societies many people believe that the length of skirt a woman happens to be wearing determines her sexual availability and moral standing.

Have you noticed that there isn’t a similar standard for men?  I mean certainly we can make biased judgments against fedora wearing, skinny tie and thick rimmed faux-glasses rocking hipsters and what not, but it is not like if said hipster is assaulted his clothing choice will become a major factor in whether the person that had assaulted him goes to jail or not.

Patriarchal double standards still exist because the majority of people consciously make the choice to follow the ‘moral rules’ they enforce.  It is bullshite, and it needs to stop.

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