Last week at the Atlantic Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote a piece about male powerlessness, aggression, etc, in the face of racism and aggression. In the final paragraphs, he threw in a line that’s been sticking with me for days:
Street harassment is a kind of implied violence, a tool most embraced by those who lack the power to set laws, men who are in doubt of themselves. Real men objectify women with dignity and decorum.
I posted that line to FB and emailed it to a few friends to try to parse the relationship between perceived powerlessness and street harassment. Since it’s Coates, the original piece obviously relies on race and class to illustrate empowered vs. disempowered reactions to slights, but given the pervasiveness of street harassment, I think there’s something broader happening with American masculinity. Hence, my subject for Role/Reboot this week:
Related Post: A letter to the guy who harassed me outside a bar
Related Post: Guest Post – A letter to the girl I harassed at a bar