Street Harassment: It's Not Flattering
"Your tits are amazing."
"He-lloooo there beautiful."
Excuse me, DO I KNOW YOU?? Nope, I don't. So leave me alone, please.
Street harassment is a serious problem that women - and even men - face everyday. It's the reason why I take the circuitous route to work that doesn't pass by construction workers and it's the reason why I take the bus home at night even though my work is only a 20 minute walk from home.
Many people try to laugh off street harassment as just "boys being boys" or try to convince women that it's meant to be flattering and harmless. Well the truth is that it's not harmless. Telling men that it's okay to view women as objects contributes to rape culture and classifies women as less than human.
A recent Snickers Australia ad documented construction workers saying nice things to women on the street like "you have a lovely day" and "that color really works on you." However, the beginning of the ad reads "What happens when construction workers are not like themselves?" By stating that it is normal for construction workers to say vile things to women on the street teaches men that it is okay to objectify women. And no matter how nice these men in the video are being, they're still interrupting these women's days and giving them unwanted attention.
Former Miss America contestant Jen Corey decided to use a hidden camera to document how many times she got harassed throughout the course of one day. In the video, Corey is constantly barraged by thirsty men just for walking down the street.
Think that only women experience street harassment? Well, you're wrong. Gay men are also victims of it and are more likely to receive violent threats with it. Studies show that 70% of LGBT people and 40% of heterosexual people experience street harassment by the age of 17. Clearly the problem is very widespread.
Several organizations have been established to try to end the culture of street harassment. Hollaback is an organization that encourages people to post videos and pictures of their harassers to publicly shame them and call them out on their bullshit. Stop Street Harassment also encourages people to document their attackers and educates the public on what street harassment means and how to stop it. Jen Corey is a prominent activist working toward ending street harassment. Every since her video was posted, she has received countless tweets telling her that she is wrong to call for an end to street harassment. Trolls will be trolls, but these tweets show a serious issue with society and rape culture. We need more people like Jen Corey to stand up against street harassment.
So here's a simple message I have for the man who told me I had a fine [expletive] the other day: It's not flattering. It didn't make me smile. It's harassment and it's not okay.
Speaking of harassment, the relationship between Ana Steele and Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey is a bit controversial. But this version of the movie trailer with kittens is just too cute!