This Sundress is Not for You

Cross Posted from Hips and Hangers

I want to take a minute to talk about something serious- street harassment. I’ve never met a woman that hasn’t had to deal with cat calls, whistles, and/or unwanted advances at some point in her life. It’s something I face about 2-3 times a week as part of my commute to work. Most days I can shrug it off with a witty remark, but Tuesday I dealt with five separate instances of street harassment.

1. 9:00am- On the platform at the train station:  “Good morning beautiful”. I sigh, roll my eyes and walk away.

2. 9:20am- On the bus a guy sits super close and says “hey baby, how’s your day going?”. I say “It was going fine until you invaded my personal space” and change seats.

3. 9:25am- Walking from the bus to work, I get honked at and whistled at by a truck full of workers. The driver almost hits a biker because he isn’t watching the road. I give them the finger and shout “watch the road”. One of the men calls me a stupid bitch.

4. 2:45pm- Out of work early for the Holiday and excited to go meet up with my guy for a late lunch, I’m walking quickly to the bus. While waiting at an intersection for the walk signal a guy says “Excuse me” thinking he’s going to ask me for directions, I acknowledge him. He follows up with “where’s your boyfriend pretty girl.” I say “Please leave me alone loudly” and cross the street.

5. 9pm- Walking with my boyfriend enjoying the beautiful summer evening listening to him tell a funny story when I am distracted by kissy noises and calls of “damn, girl” and “hey sexy” from three men sitting on a stoop. I glare at them, drop my boyfriend’s arm and say “You’ve got to be kidding me.” He looks confused because he didn’t hear any of it. I explain what happened and that I would have said something back to them had he not been with me. They outnumbered him 3 to 1, and I didn’t want to start anything. I then vent to him about my day. I’m shocked that this happened with him. Normally men don’t bother you if you appear to “belong” to someone else.

 

By the end of the day I felt unsafe, pissed, annoyed, anxious, and sad.

I don’t know what it is that makes some men think that I get dressed for them in the morning, but I don’t. I get dressed for me. This sundress is for me! Women deserve to live in a culture where we can walk freely in our communities without fear of harassment or assault.

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5 Responses

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  1. Tashia G. says:

    Thank you so much for posting this to the site:)

  2. Mary says:

    I get stuff like that sometimes – not “a lot” – but holy crap, five times in one day is wearying!
    I do not understand what makes random men say these things. Who would ever give a positive or welcoming response to “Hey, pretty girl, where’s your boyfriend?” What are they expecting? That we turn around and say, “You’re just my type!”?
    Like you, I like to dress nicely, and my boyfriend appreciates it too, but when I get “Hey, gorgeous,” when I’m walking to the bus stop, it makes me wish I wore nothing but khakis, polos, and schlubby sneakers.

  3. Hilary says:

    This morning I went to the local quickie mart to get coffee. There was a guy getting coffee too and he smiled at me. Then when I was behind him in line I could feel him repeatedly looking back at me. I thought about pretending not to notice, but then I remembered to hollaback. When I turned to face him, he was looking at me and smiling. I said, “may I help you?” Then he turned back to the clerk, finished his business and left the store.

    I don’t think I’ll ever let a street harasser get away again without a piece of my mind.

    The other day a guy in SF walked by me and mentioned that he liked my “wide hips.” I just ignored him. What I wish I would have said was, “Shut your GD mouth, you rude MF.” Then if he called me a bitch or made it my fault somehow, I would say, “No pal, there’s not a damn thing wrong with me. The problem is you.” If he acted hurt and innocent I’d say, “Why are you harassing a stranger on the street?…. Why. Are you. Harassing. A stranger on the street? Answer the question!? What is your malfunction?” Then maybe I’d say, “The next time you think about talking shit to someone who’s waking down the street minding her own business, you should consider shutting TFU instead!”

    I’m practicing my script :)
    Love this movement.

  4. tara says:

    As a 38 year old woman who has been dealing with this since the 6th grade…I am almost ready to snap. Nothing like walking home from work and holding in tears because you have been reduced to a walking penis hole with tits for the 3rd time in 25 minutes.

  5. Tess Stickles says:

    Omg, I totally understand how you’re feeling right now..the other day I was at the grocery store and this jerk walks up to me and says hi, how are you?? Like seriously???? Do I have a sign on me that says ” I want to be harassed by some stranger?? Uhh..sooo annoying. I dont spend hours getting dressed up and looking hot for some disgusting pervert to notice and want to talk to me. I do that for myself jerk so stop being a guy and looking at me and noticing..Get a fn life

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