I think I was 12 the first time I was called a slut. Maybe 14, because I recall having faded purple hair and wearing a Tripp miniskirt at the time, but young enough where the only thing I could do was go to a strip mall with friends, my mom’s cell phone in my pocket. And I remember standing at a street corner with my fellow baby-teens when a pair of guys pulled up to us, desperately trying to get our attention, before declaring that we were a bunch of sluts.
Street harassment is the best, dude, what can I tell you?
At least, that was the arrogant assumption of one Tumblr user who commented on The Riot, saying “many women” thought the attention one gets from street harassment is enjoyable. In response, this Tumblr asks the question: how many woman find street harassment flattering?
Spoiler alert: none of them.
This on-going project is a platform for stories from women being harassed and harrowed. Stories that are not only tragically relatable, but really upsetting and even scary.
Genuinely scary. So many of these girls recount times when they were being followed, actively pursued, and sometimes threatened by men. And they have to WONDER why we're not interested.
As I insinuated in a previous article, street harassment is like the ULTIMATE creep move. When a guy is persistently hitting on you in a bar or at a party, it's shitty, but you can at least understand this is supposed to be a "social setting" where people meet and mingle.
When you are walking down the street on your way to get an iced coffee, and some dude-bro in his car is saying how you look hot in those shorts and should go for a ride with him, that's COMPLETELY unnerving and uncalled for. If only because because it's 95 degrees out and you weren't going to wear a parka to work. I mean, come on.
It's like, "Dude, I'm just trying to get from point A to point B, and rest assured, point B is not your penis. So you need to calm down."
Anyway, the Tumblr is a great resource too, offering links to more information and campaigns that are working to mitigate street harassment. And it's so popular right now (good thing? bad thing?) that the creator has a whole backlog of posts.
Therefore, while I encourage everyone to have their stories heard, it may be a while till the site can get around to it.
So here's some other ways to stop street harassment in the meantime:
1. Never leave the house
2. Leave the house, but dressed in your high school mascot costume (you can worry about heat stroke later)
3. Hire a bodyguard
4. Start handing out THESE to catcallers:
5. OR, share your own stories in the comments below so we can just giggle and braid each other's hair and talk about how society is the worst! Yay!
Images via Stopstreetharassment.org, guardian.co.uk, and theriot.mag.tumblr.com