In case you haven’t read Better in Real Life’s post about violence against women, uh, go do that and then come back:
Ok, hi again.
So last week I wore what I thought was a relatively conservative outfit to work:
On the way to the train, walking down my sleepy suburban main street, I got tailed by 2 20-something dudes in an SUV yelling things at me that I thankfully couldn’t hear. This is so uncommon blue that for a minute I thought I had dropped something before I realized what was going on.
Then when I was getting off the train in the city an older man with a glint of serial killer in his eye got all up in my face squeezing by (when there was plenty of room) and breathed, “hey sexy” at me so quietly I thought I was imagining things.
Later on, one of the crowd of random workers who hangs out on our office buildings steps attempted to say hello. It was actually polite, and he probably meant well, but by then I’d had it.
This day had me thinking in circles about women and objectification, and feeling threatened, and how white tights are apparently more sexual than black, and what exact level of dowdiness one must wear to be left alone. I thought about the models I see being gawked at openly, and sometimes approached and harassed. I thought about the women who aren’t so fortunate as to have things left at a gawk or even a grope. I thought a lot about how when we aren’t sartorially “asking for it,” we are still apparently deserving of it.
And mostly, I wondered how we can handle these situations in such a way that tells the perpetrator that their behavior is NOT okay, without potentially risking our safety in the process. Is this even possible?