Just last week I happened to be awake at 3 am and heard “go away, stop it” from outside my apartment window. Of course I was worried and wound up going outside with my cell phone and my pocket knife (the cell phone so I could pretend I was on it). I found a woman across the street, 18-20, somewhat drunk and trying to pull away from a guy claiming to be her boyfriend. After walking to the end of the block and back I sucked it up and stopped right next to them and asked her if she was okay. No. I asked if she knew him. Yes. I asked if he was her boyfriend. No. I asked if she wanted to go with him. No. I told her she could come with me. He wouldn’t let go of her arm and kept talking to her with the platitudes women are familiar with - come on baby, I’ll take you home, just hang out with me, we were having such a good time - and eventually he gave in after seeing I had my finger on the dial button, but he was vibrating on the spot and he was pissed. Then he kept talking to me with all the insults women are familiar with - bitch, cunt, stupid fucking slut, etcetera forever. And of course he went after her for “leading him on.” I got her in a cab from my front door and went so far as to make sure I didn’t turn on any lights when I went inside so he wouldn’t know that my apartment was on the basement level facing the street where he was standing.
But this isn’t a problem or anything.
A few months ago I was working late shifts at work and getting off at 3 am. I only live a few blocks from there, so I was walking home. This was when there was a series of attacks against women in my neighbourhood. Not rapes, but escalating attempts to harm women, involving choking. So yes, I was on red alert. A group of five men from the bars saw me walking home. They started calling out to me - again, with all the lines women are used to (that, by the way guys, are not in the least bit attractive) - hey baby, where you goin, come on just stay and chat, a pretty thing like you shouldn’t be going home alone, where do you live. I ignored them and walked faster, and they sped up to keep up with me. Five men in their 20s. Following me home, drunk, and getting progressively angrier that I wouldn’t talk to them. “Why the fuck you being so rude? We just want to talk, quit being such a frigid bitch.” *guffaw guffaw* “Baby come on slow down, have some coffee with us.” I walked even faster, still not talking to them. I have foot and knee injuries, so this was getting really painful and I couldn’t have broken into a run if I’d tried. They thought this whole thing was quite hilarious and quite rude of me, never mind that I’m the one being followed home by drunk strangers. I finally looped a block and backtracked to the main road, which is really well-lit, and plopped myself dead centre in the middle of the ambulance-police combo that is in front of one of the bars every Saturday night without fail.
But street harassment isn’t a problem or anything.
Walking down a bright road in daylight, men lean out of car windows and honk and cheer at me and my friends. This has been happening since I was 14. Many of them are stuck at the same light we are, so we spend a good two minutes listening to them ask us to flash them. “Just show us your titties, we’ll give you each $5!”
Going to a bar and getting my ass groped at the bar as a precursor to offering to buy me a drink. I don’t know if men think this is a demonstration of their sexual abilities, or what, but it happens all the time.
Walking home from Walmart at 10pm and having a guy walk by me say “nice titties” thinking I can’t hear him because I have headphones in. Worst of all, spinning in anger and having to keep my mouth shut, because it could get a lot worse really fast.
Being “accidentally” groped on buses and trains frequently (they say they’re stumbling and that’s where their hands end up, but come on: I’m on the same vehicle, there was no jolt, and even if their was my hands don’t wind up on them), and not being able to complain without everybody thinking you’re crazy.
Dancing at a bar and having a guy slide his hand down the front of my pants. And then getting thrown out for elbowing him and shoving him away from me.
Getting told to smile by strangers (always men), and being told to cheer up, like I owe them a certain mood.
Having a guy you slept with once sit outside your house for seven hours, and then try to follow you inside while you pretend not to notice his car, and then disregard your requests through the intercom to leave you alone. And then, when you finally call the police, having the policeman call you back to say “He’s leaving, but he sounded sincerely sorry. You shouldn’t be so hard on him, he sounds like a nice guy.” Yeah, give him your home address then.
Having male customers look you up and down like you’re on the menu, and not being able to slap the customer who grabs your ass while you’re cleaning tables because you’ll be fired.
Finding out your sister’s employer felt comfortable uttering threats to punch her in the face for accusing him of being unfair, and her not feeling like she could tell anybody.
Having my male boss feel like he can touch me, rub my shoulders, call me honey and sweetheart and baby, and him being right, he can do those things, because everybody calls you oversensitive if you complain about those things.
Being followed home numerous times, both on foot and by car, being forced to talk to the guy who sits next to you on the bus for 45 minutes straight, and since I couldn’t think of a non-threatening way not to give him my phone number, I did so that I could get away. It took him a year and a half to stop calling me. Being told I’m paranoid for carrying any kind of protection, and stupid for not protecting myself, I’m a misandrist for assuming the worst of strange men, and stupid for having a conversation, I’m rude for asking men to leave me alone, and stupid and weak for not being more direct and assertive. Being told to go out and have fun more, stop being so uptight, and having that thrown in my face when something happens, because if I had some morals and didn’t advertise myself as, I don’t know, being alive or something, nothing would have happened. Being told to give him a chance and then being told to stop leading him on. Having to know all of the escape routes on my way home, and sending staff to the dumpsters in pairs. Having it be a fucking brave thing to do to stand next to a girl so she can walk away from the guy trying to bully her into going home with him.
And then having to listen to people say, “You’re exaggerating. Men aren’t like that, quit trying to see the worst in people. Men get harassed too, just ignore them and walk away. It’s the same thing.” Listening to people just step right over the fact that if woman deems a guy creepy, she’s told she’s being too critical and she needs to lower her standards, but if a man deems a woman possessive, controlling, demanding, jealous, bitchy, clingy, psycho, on her period, whiny, or outright dangerous he’s commended on his standards and congratulated on a bullet deftly dodged.
How many women does it take to bring these things to light before people stop thinking we’re crazy, over-critical bitches?
The thing that gets me about the “misandry means women are scared when I stalk them” thing is that I’ve had dudes do shit like that to me on multiple occasions.
Almost always at night, always white dudes who get offended that I am trying to give them a wide berth or avoid them in the street. It’s always these dudes who decide that they are so fucking entitled to dictate where and how I fucking walk on the fucking public sidewalk that they are justified in rushing me, grabbing me, chasing me, in one case circling me tightly so I couldn’t get away, and then fucking laughing at my obvious panic and fear because “omg lighten up, lady!!!!”
Like, this is an actual thing dudes do.
Their solution to women being afraid alone at night is to give them more reasons to be afraid, and then turn around and mock and insult them for being afraid.
Fucking logic/fucking basic human decency/fucking people.
How do they work.
Yesterday I was at a bookstore with a male friend. I was staring at a shelf; he was just around the corner at a computer the store provides to search their inventory. This is significant because as we stood there, a dude just blows in and says, very loudly and intrusively, “Any good books on this shelf?!” It takes me a moment to realize he’s alone and talking to me. At that point I glance over at my friend, who’s wide-eyed at this guy’s arrogance, and boom, intrusive dude realizes I’m with a ~chaperone~. At this point, I was uncomfortable enough that I walked away. My friend comes after me and says, “Wow, that was weird.”
Of course, I then had to explain it wasn’t weird at all; this kind of thing happens to me all the time when I’m by myself. Men come out of nowhere and demand responses from me, knowing that most women are socialized to stand there and giggle uncomfortably while they impose on their space and time. I used to do that, even though I hated every second of it. We are taught to fear leaving and taught to fear staying, and of course, when we relate these stories, the maliciousness is so subtle and context-dependent that people who weren’t there feel free to assert that we must be overreacting.
What suddenly occurred to me was the sheer depth of the danger inherent in fact that men take care not to do this in front of men who might conceivably be sympathetic towards a given woman. It causes men, even men who are quite decent and aware of sexism, to wonder why they never see these things women keep saying are so common. Not only does it cause us to lose credibility, but it also allows the men who DO act this way to maintain the mental division between “having fun” and being a person who deserves to be feared and avoided.
This is really important commentary so I’m reblogging for the bolded, because:
1. When we talk about sexism making women feel “crazy” it’s important to understand that there really is a sort of mass gaslighting (for lack of a better term) going on; incidents like this are part of that. First you induce fear in someone, then you humiliate them for their fear response, and best of all, the whole thing is so context-dependent that when they try to explain that this happens all the time and is a problem chances are, especially if they are trying to explain this to a dude, they’ll be told they’re over-reacting. That is some fucking systemic abusive behavior.
2. There is a real kind of selective sociopathy at play here. Dudes know on some level that this is not okay, so they hide it from their fellow dudes, but they still get their fucking rocks off over it, they do it for fun. To get enjoyment out of a woman’s terror. And these are ordinary dudes, who just deny deny deny that that is fucked up so much and deliberately avoid situations where they might be told by another dude that it’s fucked up so they can continue to do it. Just. Yeah.
So Tumblr, normally I can take insults pretty well but a recent happening (of about an hour ago) has really made my blood boil.
So I’m walking in town by myself, and a woman who was about 20 was walking in front of me. We turn a few of the same corners, so it’s obvious we’re going to the same place.
But then I realise that she keeps looking over her shoulder at me. And then she sped up a little, clinging to her bag.
It came to my attention she thought I was going to attack her.
To test my theory, I sped up a little. She noticed and sped up even more until she was practically jogging.
Now here’s a few details:
Me: Overweight 17 year old boy wearing shorts and a t-shirt with Cookie Monster on it.
Her: 20 year old woman wearing high heels and has a bag
Time of day: 2pm
Clearly I looked threatening and was going to attack her.
Inspired by the “Racism in America” youtube videos, I decided to have a little fun.
I kept picking up my pace, she kept turning around, noticing I had sped up, and in turn did the same.
Then, after making sure she was looking I suddenly started into a sprint and when I was about 3 foot away from her she screamed.
And then I ran straight past her.
I didn’t get to ser her face as I ran past, but I hoping she was incredibly embarrassed.
In retrospect, I probably should have asked her for her Social Justic blog URL…
Misandry doesn’t exist apparently, isn’t that right Tumblr?
I am totally doing this if ever I get the chance.
So let me get this straight, OP. You deliberately tried to frighten a young woman and are gonna accuse her of ‘misandry’ when she was - surprise, surprise - afraid?
Wow, fuck you. I’d be afraid of you too. People like you terrify me.
I think this story warrants a well deserved “fuck you”. I can only hope that all the people reblogging it are calling you out on your atrocious behaviour, and certainly not congratulating you.
firstly: you deliberately tried to scare this woman. you describe yourself as being overweight, which suggest you’re probably quite a bit heavier than her, and most likely stronger too. secondly, she was in heels, which would make it difficult for her to run away - and obviously you took this into account when you decided to go out of your way to display threatening behaviour towards a stranger on the street.
secondly: one can only wonder why she would be scared! it’s not like she’s been bombarded with ‘advice’ from the day she hit puberty: don’t go out alone, don’t wear skirts, don’t talk to men you don’t know, don’t talk to anybody, don’t be a woman, don’t fucking exist. from day one she’s been taught that poor men simply can’t help themselves, and so it’s up to her to modify her behaviour to suit them. think about it: if somebody was going to attack her, would they behave any differently to how you did up until the point you passed her?
you accuse her of misandry, when in fact it is you who is guilty of misogyny to the point that you felt angry at a woman for feeling threatened when you PURPOSELY TRIED TO THREATEN HER. a woman isn’t guilty of ‘misandry’ for being wary of men. not when one in six women is sexually assaulted during her lifetime, not when 98% of rapists are male, not when a woman in the USA is more likely to be murdered by her husband or boyfriend than a woman in pakistan - a place people like you use as an excuse to disregard women’s feelings, telling them “you have no right to complain!! other women have it worse than you!”. and if she was a misandrist, well - it’s people like you that give her good reason to be.
also: don’t you DARE try to compare your status as a poor man who victimised by meanie sexist women after they reacted to your attempts to intimidate them to the prejudice and discrimination POC have to go through every day of their lives. don’t you fucking dare.
“i tried to scare a woman and it worked and it was totally her fault”
this fucking planet sometimes
“A woman felt threatened by me, so I decided to show her, and threaten her some more, LOL what a misandrist!”
What kind of fucking logic is this?
What. The. Hell. A person felt threatened by another person who was walking fairly close to them and took the same route for several blocks. You can even take gender out of the equation and this is still fucking creepy.