I read an amazing post called why is street harassment and catcalling as bad as ever on the wonderful Sophie's Fashion Slave blog (If you've not read Fashion Slave then its a wonderful mix of beautiful outfits, beauty, lifestyle and forwarding thinking articles like the one mentioned) back in August. I read it, enjoyed and agreed and then went on with my life as one does. Sadly the people that really need to read these blog posts aren't the women nodding in agreement and getting angry behind their laptops; its men.
I hate be a man bashing feminist, far from it. My boyfriend/partner is as much a feminist as me and I would never tar anyone with the same brush because of someone else's behaviour. But sadly, it is men. Women never (or extremely rarely) wolf whistle or shout at men in the street. I have never witnesses it myself but always seem to experience it from men. Even when they do I cant imagine it feeling the same as when it happens to us girls. Its the whole issue of feeling safe while outside. Of feeling like our bodies are someone else's property, their right and that male privilege means, its probably our fault for wearing a skirt, for wearing anything figure hugging or for simply being a female, outside.
I live in a rough area of Glasgow by reputation but so far in six months have had no examples of crime or physical abuse. Sadly I have sexual harassment it the form of shouts, whistles and even kisses (like pecking in the air at you) in the street. A look isnt always harassment and I try to forgive that but pecking at me in the street, from (in this example) a middle ages man in a slow moving white van. Is there anything more terrifying than a white middle aged man in a white unmarked van leering at you? This is the stuff of horror films before we get to basement jails and its puts the lotion on the skin or else it gets the hose again.
Even more recently while in the pub at the weekend watching the football with my fella and having a pint an older man thought it was acceptable to graze my bum with his hand despite it not be a crowded pub. When he came out of the bathroom and walked past me again, I moved away he smirked. I decided not to say anything or make a fuss because its barely worth my energy and effort but how is this acceptable?
This weekend just gone I witnessed a man shouting at two women in the street. Nothing too inappropriate but the women clearly looked uncomfortable, started walking faster and tried to get away. That man has no right to do that. I feel like I keep witnessing or suffering these types of experiences over and over again recently.
Whats worse is that this has nothing to do with being physically attractive. I could go out with no make up, old sweat pants and greasy hair tied up just to go grab some milk and it would still happen. This isnt about showing someone you like them, its about power and control. Its about men thinking its okay to show women that they are property, that theyre allowed to make you feel uncomfortable.
I dont know what is to be done but with cases like Brock Turner on the increase and living in a world where young men still need to be reminded that no consent is rape and rape is a crime we've really not come a far as we would like to think on this issue.
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