Well that was a bit of a wild ride. The internet is a strange and magical place, this much we know. I spend a truck ton of time on it and I still never really know what’s going to happen when I put something out there. For example, the street harassment piece I wrote weeks ago suddenly went viral on Thursday. I have no idea how, but it did, and with it came letters and emails and tweets of all kind. Insulting mail, unfortunately, of the poorly-spelled variety like “Your blog sux,” more elaborate arguments against my argument, a few nasty notes about what a spoiled bitch I am for complaining about men finding me attractive.
And then there were love notes, intellectual love notes, but love notes nonetheless. There were notes from men about how they first learned to empathize with women by being pawed at in gay bars, notes from women who were grateful to hear the ideas they’d tried to convey before put into words by someone else, notes from guys who had never done the work before to try to see from the other side.
I want to share two letters from opposite ends of the spectrum, to illustrate the range of reactions this conversation inspires. Bad news first:
I read your open letter “To The Guy Who Harrassed Me Outside The Bar”. I did feel for you and other females when you have that creepy “Is this my rape” moment. It cant be easy being a woman. And I dont want to say that you ask for it, but whens the last time you or any of your girlfriends went up to the quite guy in the crowd and struck up a conversation with him? If a guy wants a girl he needs to make sure he is noticed. For a guy getting noticed isnt easy.Sometimes you have to be loud, obnoxious, even rude at times. Now maybe to you what he and the others have done is repulsive. To other girls he might have just been funny(and please dont say yeah those girls are sluts or whores) Also I have seen guys do that, I am one of those friends laughing in the backround, and then to the next random girl treat them in a completely different manner. You cant honestly say that the last guy who swept you off your feet hadnt made an obscene gesture towards a woman. If you really want to make a difference stop talking to the guys who have no problem going up and talking to any woman they can. Go talk to the quite guy of the group who is a little on the shy side. Write an open letter to Victorias secret asking them to stop putting words of the butts of their clothing line. Stop leaving the gym in your yoga pants. My girlfriend has a great body and when she wears my sweatpants for pj’s here lower body couldnt be more unflattering. So buy a big pear of sweats and keep them in your gym bag for pre and post workout garb.
There are plenty of things you can do that you may not even be making an attempt to do to avoid some of this behavior. I know that you cant stop it all but instead of 9 guys being rude to you a week maybe you can cut it down to 2 or 3. Thank you for reading my opinion and I will take your situation into awareness and study the reactions of women to the mannerisms of the men around them and see how I can do my part to make this less of a problem.
You all know what I would write in response to this guy, right? I don’t even need to type it out. It’s not my job to “avoid this behavior.” Duh. You can admire my yoga pants without commenting right? You have control of your mouth, I assume. Oh, and of course, I’m going to go buy a “big pear of sweats” right now, thanks for suggesting it. Etc. Etc. Etc. This is old news.
Now on to the good news:
“As a male that was brought up right by his Mother – it made me proud to not feel like I was reading my biography. I respect and cherish women. As a male that has several rowdy, yet well meaning, friends – it made me ashamed. I passed the note to this particular group of friends, and it sparked a very (shockingly) intelligent, and heated conversation. Long story short… everyone has been really respectful since our talk. I’m talking hockey players here – I thought there was no hope. While I know this doesn’t solve all of the world’s problems – I believe in thinking globally, while acting locally.”
Warms my heart.
Related Post: Notes on SlutWalk
Related Post: “Textbook slut”