Tuesday 26 March 2013

Street Walking

There's something wrong with the culture when you can't even cross the street without harassment. At ten to six this afternoon, a car drove past me and laughter spilled out, aimed at me.

"Bro, that ain’t even street harassment," I tweeted.

Thinking about it a little more, I got madder.

He thought that being a lady on a public street was shameful, or worthy or ridicule. (Despite the title of this post, I was dressed in my jeans-and-a-top office-causal uniform.)

Maybe he thought I was a pedestrian, and he was laughing at that. (I'd parked about a hundred metres away. Maybe he thinks that a car is a destination in itself, not a tool for going somewhere more interesting.)

Maybe someone in his life belittled him and he was lashing out instead of dealing with his issues.

Maybe he thought I'd be cowed and next time be less bold about existing in public. (Like in this post - making excuses for myself all the way through, even though I've done nothing wrong.)

Street harassment effectively turns the street into an unsafe space, a space where you cannot be sure of your physical, emotional, or mental safety. You avoid unsafe spaces. You don't go through the park after dark, you don't walk down that alleyway.

When everywhere is an unsafe space, like the streets can be for women - what then? Do you stay off them? Do you drive, quickly, between the office and home and the supermarket? What do you miss if you do that? A chance to participate in culture, to shape and change the world we live in, because some tool was having a bad day and wanted to make you feel ashamed just for existing?

But what’s more shameful than being a lady on a public street? Being someone who thinks that’s worthy of ridicule.

"Although," I tweeted, "Let’s be fair: the dude’s clearly not interacting with women a whole lot, if you catch my drift."


  1. Someone yelled "Boooooobs" at me the other day, when I was walking home from work. I guess it looks kind of funny on paper but it was weirdly horrible at the time - especially as the traffic had piled up, meaning they were driving past me verrry slowly. I've had worse, but still. Not sure what the solution is - it was broad daylight! I had to walk that way! But I hate that the person who yelled it has undoubtedly forgotten whereas I can still replay it in my head. Sorry you got yelled at yourself. There's something wrong with the culture when that's the case, as you say.

    1. I'm sorry you had that - it's shitty :( I wish there was an effective way we could fight back agaist these tools.