When someone tells me some women “like” the attention

This was shamelessly yoinked from the brilliant Hollaback! Des Moines. Check out their entire collection of hilarious anti-street harassment GIFs here.

 

Let me explain: some people, even feminist-identified women, do claim to like the sexual attention they receive from strangers. While these perspectives complicate our narrative of what harassment is (or might look like), we can’t run away from or dismiss these lived realities. Thus, while cautiously granting that some people have had positive experiences with things that fucking terrify me, I have two things to say:

(1) Harassment is defined as unwanted attention, determined by the person who experiences it. Thus, while catcalling as an interaction might be desirable to some, it is most certainly not desired by everyone. Maybe Person A didn’t feel harassed when you called zie “sweet thing”; maybe ze did in fact like it and leave that situation feeling more confident, more desirable, hotter. Does that mean that Person B felt those same emotions? No; and how do you know the difference? Ask them, actually listen to them. Or read some stories here.

and on that note:

(2) PEOPLE ARE NOT UNIVERSAL. Our Hollaback! submissions are not meant to represent anyone but the individuals who wrote them. As a collective group, we are a driving force of queers and other women-folk, but we’re sure as hell not homogenous. I don’t care if your best friend, or grandparent, or even your fucking  Women’s Studies professor assured you that they felt fine with being groped or hollered at. That person doesn’t stand for their entire group memberships with regard to gender, sex, sexual orientation, race, religion, political affiliation, etc.  Henceforth, no one else’s feelings should (a) tell you how you should feel upon being harassed or (b) grant you any sort of back-asswards, presumptuous free-pass to harass anyone on the off-chance they will like it.

So, I leave you with this: when in doubt, err on the side of being more fucking respectful.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *