Street harassment isn’t a very new phenomenon, and we’ve all seen our friends and immediate family members being subjected to it. It’s vile, crude, and undeserving of the 21st century society. However, even something like this is protected by a shoddy wall of bad logic.
Image source: Youtube
Here are 8 excuses for street harassment we need to stop making:
1. “Just a compliment! Calm down woman”
I see pictures being shared all over the internet captioned as “Women these days take genuine compliments as a cheap attempt at flirting.” The incredulous sense of entitlement many men have in this regard doesn’t shock me as much as it disgusts me. Some people don’t understand the idea of personal space and think that random pedestrians exist for their amusement.
2. “You’re a woman, this is normal. Deal with it without making a fuss about it”
You have the right to make a fuss about it, and when you do it, make sure you’re loud. Contrary to popular belief, street harassment will NEVER be the norm, nor should it be allowed to. This is exactly the kind of patriarchal ‘normalcy’ that needs to be weeded out before future generations ease into it.
3. “Why would you wear something like that if you don’t want to be bothered?”
Apparently certain men in your locality have taken up the duty of teaching you conservative fashion sense. This is a common excuse that comes up every single time there’s a case of harassment or molestation or even something as serious as rape. The excuse of “she was wearing revealing clothing and was asking for it” isn’t an unpopular one.
4. “We didn’t invade your privacy, we kept our distance”
It might be astonishing to you but many perpetrators of street harassment actually believe they aren’t doing anything wrong. It is extremely dehumanizing, and might even be actually traumatic, depending on the person you’re choosing as your new victim. The idea of treating female pedestrians as ragdolls isn’t a very new tradition. Regardless, it needs to go.
Suggested read: Excuses for workplace SEXISM that need to STOP now
5. “Boys will be boys, ha!”
Have societal expectations of the male sex fallen so low that we assume street harassment and catcalling to be an inherent part of the male personality? Well, we can’t say we men aren’t responsible for that. I’m not sure if this excuse is meant to make women feel inferior to men or to make men with dignity feel degraded. Good old patriarchy.
6. “These days I can’t even say ‘Hello’ without feminazis getting their knickers in a twist”
Men and their abhorrent bias against feminists is something that we see far too often. In their eyes, any self-respecting woman is automatically a ‘feminazi’ because fighting for your rights and personal space is akin to what Nazis did in the Second World War. This is especially true for strong-willed women who resist their ‘charms’; they’re automatically relegated to ‘sexually-frustrated lesbians.’
7. “You can always choose to ignore, you know”
Yes, but why? Is ignoring a pertinent issue the way to go, when the issue clearly discomforts us to a great degree? People make a huge deal when someone voices their concerns, especially when it’s against widely accepted ‘norms.’ So yes, you can always choose to ignore, but the day you ignore it, you leave behind your integrity and you indirectly perpetuate blatant misogyny.
8. “It’s the only way to get your attention”
I don’t know why people say that something like catcalling will ever get them a date, and I don’t think they do it with the intention of getting someone’s attention for a prospective date either. It’s about lowering someone’s self-esteem and making them feel helpless in public spaces. One could say, it’s the gendered approach to bullying, but it’s much more damaging than that.
Street harassment is a relic of times when public displays of misogyny were passé, and should be treated as such. In order to progress as a society, we must work together to keep this from ever being the norm.
Featured image source: Youtube