These comments have been made to me since the age of 13-14 by guys ranging from their teens to men in their 60s, in places including but not limited to: the street, libraries, universities… Wait a second, why am I making a list? Let’s do the easy thing and say it happens anywhere a woman sets down her foot, public place or not.
“hey! come here. aw come on baby, where are you going? i/we just wanna talk…” x infinity
“come here, i wanna show you something” x 50
“those jeans are really workin’ for you/damn, those pants fit you nicely”
“i’d love to see your body print on that wet cement”
*upon being ignored* “wow, you’re not being very friendly/you’re a bitch”
“are you married? you look nice and womanly”
Believe me when I say that this list of things is by no means exhaustive. This list is specific to me, but I can tell you for a fact that every single woman has one. These things I’ve mentioned are verbal. When you combine the comments, along with the body language, facial expressions, and the general air of these men, it’s enough to make you wish you could melt in to the ground. Which, incidentally, is exactly what most women try to do. Do you know why? Because fear for your safety overrules your need for anything else, so you think, “I won’t do or say anything so as to not aggravate the situation and make it worse for myself.”
Most recently, a guy in one of my classes has taken to harassing me, which began with a simple, “it’s really too bad you’re not in our group anymore,” when i backed out. It quickly turned to wildly inappropriate social etiquette (to put it nicely). This ranges from repetitive unwanted comments, to lurking around while i’m engaged in conversation or busy with an activity, to actually following me in to an enclosed space. I walked in to the photocopying room to copy something, but walked right back out after noticing he had followed me in. My initial simple task went unfulfilled. I have not been quiet. I have not been courteous at his attempts to speak to me. I have continually rebuffed his attempts at conversations. I have been downright rude, almost spitting back sharp replies. And he has laughed.
The ages of 13-14… That’s when these things started. Before women even have a chance to understand the concept of power, it’s taken away from them.
If you’re a man reading any of these things and your impulse is to think “well, i don’t/wouldn’t do that,” I don’t care about your opinion. If you feel defensive, I don’t care. If you feel that women create too big a fuss about this, I don’t care. If you simply resent me for saying these things… Well, let me tell you that the expression ‘I don’t care’ still rings true to an unfathomable amount. And sadly, at this point in my life, I would much rather that men hate me, than like me. At least I feel safer that way.