No, I don’t want you, stranger, to follow me down the streets

Imagine you’re walking down the streets, on your way to work. It’s a beautiful, sunny spring day. You bought a new clothing item on sale a few days ago, and you picked it for that very day to match with the exquisite weather that seems to herald that summer is coming soon. You feel all too comfortable and confident in that outfit… only to hear during the whole of your journey the horns honking, the whistling and the ungracious stares.

 

In the U.S. over 99 percent of women say they’ve been victim of catcalling or street harassment [report].

Sexism takes many forms in our society, from catcalling, groping to rape. It happens all too often in our everyday life. It may affect us as regularly as daily. The first step to tackle the issue is plain and simple. It requires not to tolerate, accept or turn a blind eye on any of them.

What you may perceive as just a little teasing is actually the very first step to boundary-crossing, that can over time turn into much more violent and harmful forms of sexism. Yet, here’s the trick, catcalling is just as harmful as groping in the sense that society’s made us to consider it as trivial. Some women have come to accept it, as if it was in man’s inherent nature to behave in such a way. Whilst others are struggling to fight it openly, in the light of the various responses they have gotten in retaliation.

 

Men shall know the limit.

 

No, I don’t want you, cashier, to call me ‘love’ or ‘darling’ just because I buy something at your shop once in a while.

No, I don’t want you, random stranger, to keep on following me down the streets even after I crossed the road to avoid you, especially after I ignored your comments and declined your proposals. That is creepy, and the insistent behavior does not help.

No, I don’t want to hear your disrespectful and demeaning comments about my body or my outfits, you random stranger.

No, I don’t want you, the bartender who’s trying to tease me, to warn me about the men that I’m turning on because of a piece of clothing I wear. Lousy flirting strategy.

No, I don’t want any of you, random men, to touch me, wherever I am, be it in a bar or in club or anywhere else in the world.

No, I don’t want you, twelve-year-old kid, to grab my ass while I’m walking down the streets.

No, I don’t want you to insult me for wearing clothes that are seemingly too revealing for you and I certainly don’t want to deal with you flirting me afterwards and grabbing my ass on the spur of the moment.

 

No means no.

 

What gives you the right?

 

I don’t have a care in the world about the reaction people may have to the way I dress. I have absolutely no will to give importance to men that can’t seem to be able to control themselves. I will not change and I will continue to wear my dresses and my high-heels, for the sake of my own happiness.

What I wish, on the other hand, is that when I wander around, in broad daylight or at night, I wasn’t perceived as some random piece of flesh that you could get a hold of if you wanted to.

What a scary thought is it to feel as though as you should consider yourself lucky because even given the way you like to dress you’ve never been subjected to a severe form of attack.

As soon as we start ignoring the incivility of catcalling, we let the door open for the utter violence that it can lead to.

 

Of course, we need feminism.

Speak out and be brave.

 

How do you usually react when you’re witnessing such actions? Have you ever been victim of it? How should we fight it?

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