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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.

 

 

 

If there has ever been a motif to this blog, it would be the sentiment that J.K. Rowling captures in her Twitter feed. The experience of society for females and males is distinctly different, and that difference is deleterious for the female half of the world. Men like to dance around the fact that they have the world basically arranged and shaped for their benefit. The mask of ‘being a good liberal’ quickly slips though once it has been demonstrated that the female in question has the temerity not to back down and not know her place in society. Then we can see the real society that we live in. Threats to male dominance are quickly acted on and the abuse J.K describes happens.

Yeah, so dudes, if you don’t threaten and demean women, good on ya, cookie achieved. Next big cookie to win is speaking out and telling your mates when they are acting like assholes toward women in society. It’s scary, but worth it if you happen to value those born female.

Consider this conversation and then juxtaposition it with all the chatter one hears about ‘gender identity’ and ‘gender expression’.  Add to your lens the notion of male privilege and how it often plays out when it comes to respecting the boundaries of females.

(not) Funny how that works.

 

The term ‘essentialist’ gets thrown out quite a bit as the tenets of radical feminism rub up against the new gender zeitgeist.  Let’s look at a common argument that genderists make while interacting with Radical Feminists.

 – Genderist: For not wanting women reduced to their genitals, you seem to care a lot about what kinda genitals trans/NB people have.

“Feminism can’t be boiled down to “not wanting women reduced to their genitals” it’s about not wanting women and girls to be raped, murdered, beaten, abused, exploited, disenfranchised, oppressed, and treated as subhuman by men (males) on the basis of our sex (female). Women’s oppression arises from our biology so sex matters. Saying women have vaginas and men have dicks isn’t reducing them to those body parts – it’s just correctly identifying that they have them. 

This is such a tired argument. Reducing someone to their genitals would mean associating behaviours with the biological sex and then expecting people to behave the way their biological sex prescribes. But we have gender for that. Focusing only on biological sex frees people from gender norms. But it also highlights that one of the two sexes is oppressed on the basis of their biology. Neat, huh?

Going by observable features isn’t even a particularly radical notion.  What is radical is someone asserting that *you* have to buy into another individual’s subjective interpretation of reality – outside of totalitarian states, this sort of shit just doesn’t fly.

[Source:RadFem Chronicals]

 

Featured Image -- 14235 I find it curious that when it comes to feminism as a movement it is often decreed that it must be “inclusive”.  Here is the thing though, feminism is the struggle for female liberation from the patriarchal structures and mandates of society.  The only requirement for membership in feminism is, hold on to your (pussy)-hats, being female.  Encompassing more than half of the world’s population should satisfy any musings about inclusivity and the like.

Concomitantly one can identify what feminism is if the stated goal or objective in question happens to is to aid in woman’s struggle against patriarchy.  If you’re not working toward increasing female liberation from patriarchy you are not ‘doing’ feminism.

So here is Empress-radfem expressing her thoughts on the recent Woman’s march, and she compares the feminist movement to other movements struggling for liberation.  She asks very important questions in the first paragraph that makes me wonder why it is beyond the pale to foist up an #all lives matter at a #BLM rally, but females in feminism can make no such claim.

Why is that?

“it’s no coincidence to me that liberals have taken aim at women holding signs about vaginas, uteruses, and specifically female-centered issues during the women’s march, but wouldn’t dare suggest that “black lives matter” activists should include “white lives” or “blue lives” in their signs and slogans too, nor did they see fit to inform occupy wall street protesters that its “not all rich people.”

women are the ones who have to step aside and make room at the podium for others. women are the ones who have to be reminded that it’s not okay to put ourselves first. women are the ones who need to sacrifice precious time, space, and voice at a public demonstration to make sure others are heard and seen, too. women are the ones who have no specific experience worth naming and discussing, no specific interests worth protecting.

woman does not exist.”

Empress Radfem

  Men not tolerating creepy behaviour on the behalf of other men is the least that can be done in the public sphere to combat the gauntlet of patriarchal foolishness women face every day of their lives.  Dudes, are you up to  it?

 

“Let me tell you what happened to me an hour ago:

   So I’m at the bus terminal and this guy (who’d been following me and hovering over me for 10 minutes) comes up to me and says “hey beautiful. Can I talk to you?” So I said “no thank you.” He goes “I just want to speak to you, though.” And I said “yeah I know that and I’m not interested in talking to a strange man at a bus terminal. Please leave me alone.”

   So he stands there watching me.

   Finally he says “listen, there’s no need to be difficult. I approached you politely like a gentleman so I don’t see why you’re saying no. Now just let me speak to you.”
I said “nobody’s being difficult my guy. You asked a question, I gave an answer so we’re done.”
     Then he says “yeah but the answer you gave me made no sense. Why don’t you want to talk to me? You don’t know what kind of person I am. You’re judging me before you know me. You’re being ignorant and prejudiced so”-
    Just then this other guy who’d been sitting close to me said “my nigga shut the fuck up! I saw you following her and stalking her like a fucking animal or some shit, like you didn’t think she didn’t notice? She’s probably scared of your predatory ass and I don’t blame her. Mans need to understand you don’t follow girls and shit. That shits corny.”
      So the guy goes “yo, mind your fucking business.”
    And the other dude says “nah because I see you harassing this girl and as a man this becomes my business. You thinking you were polite doesn’t mean a girl has to speak to you. Be nice because you’re nice, don’t use that please and thank you shit and think somebody has to speak to you. You’re not a “gentleman if you don’t respect her. Take the L and go catch your bus you fucking creep.”

 
    So the guy starts swearing and then walks away. The guy who’d defended me is like “you okay tho? Like real talk I don’t really like men because of shit like that. They’re fucking predators man. I do what I can when I’m able to for women because you don’t deserve to be hunted.”

This is literally how you do it.

[Source: Gluten-Free-Pussy]

 

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