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Thursday, May 31, 2007

Keep your hands (not) to yourself

Guy on T tonight:

I see you. I have my head down, hands on my face because I have a headache, but I can see and hear you. You and your friend keep talking about "bitches", but I find that about a third as disturbing as the way you keep grabbing your piece every three minutes. Yes, I see your penis. Around 50% of the population has one. I am not impressed.

Stop waving your junk around behind the mesh separating us and either take a shower or grow up. I don't need to be reminded of you and what you can do with that thing. I just want to go home.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Dirty Old Hose

This morning I was visiting with a neighbor and her friendly dog was jumping up and around my feet and licking my legs. By the time I got to the nursery with my mom to shop for some plants later on, my calves and ankles were itching from being allergic to the puppy. We spotted a nice-looking elderly man in the nursery, watering plants with a hose. So, we walked up to him and my mom explained what had happened and if I could please borrow the hose to wash my legs off. He said, of course, and smiled and held the hose for me as I took off my flip-flops. I quickly rinsed and said thank you, but his unexpected response to me was:

"Do you want me to lick them dry?"

I couldn't believe it, I said "What? NO!" And I gave him this totally grossed out look. My mom hadn't heard him, and when I told her what he said afterward, she was in disbelief, too. The guy was like, over 70. And my mom had been standing right there! Why on earth would he say something so disgusting in ear shot of my mom, too!? The thought of that old guy licking my legs....Ewwwww! Maybe he was so old he thought he could get away with it...maybe he got a little too carried away with his hose. Whatever. The point is, mister, sexual harassment is timeless.

(I felt much better after taking his picture. :)

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Assumptions make an ...

These young dudes yelled at me while I was trying to set up my camera on the beach to take a nice video of the waves, "NICE ASS!" I was so enrapt with my camera, I didn't notice - and my good friend elected to flip them off on my behalf and later tell of me of the transgression so as not to ruin my fun in the sun. We found them later and snapped a photo.

- Nantasket Beach, Hull, MA

Thursday, May 24, 2007

We're not gonna take it

Every day when I walk out of my Somerville apartment, and walk down the street to the bus stop, I get stared at. Leers, looks, cars slowing down to stare. I'm SO sick of it, but I don't really know what to do about it. Sometimes I stare back, and make a face, but that doesn't stop them. I used to worry every day about what I was wearing - especially in the summer. If I have any skin showing AT ALL, I know I'll get harassed that much more. I feel powerless.

Yesterday, I was walking home and I noticed a man across the street, and a young woman jogging towards him. I thought to myself "Oh, he's going to check her out and be disgusting about it." Sure enough, he stared and leered at her. Once she ran by him, he stopped walking, turned around and stared at her. I NEVER say anything to men, but I'm getting so fed up with it. All of a sudden I started yelling at him, "That's rude! Don't look at her like that-that's rude! She's not a piece of meat!!" I don't even know where the words came from, they just came out.

The man turned to look at me. He looked so surprised. He kind of muttered something, and looked at me as if he was trying to think of something to say. I continued walking, worrying that he would come after me. But, he didn't. It was an amazing experience for me. It felt so great to just YELL. To let a man know that it is not acceptable to stare at women like that. That we aren't here for him to stare at and think about fucking. I don't know if he even heard what I said, or what I meant by it, but dang, it still felt so great!

I decided, after last night, that I'm going to stop "ignoring" these men. Ignoring them just sends them the message that it's ok to harass women on the street. I don't care if people think I'm crazy; I'm going to start yelling at men on the street.

I got home and told my roommate about my experience. She related her harassment story of the day-being on the T and having a man lurking over her, with his crotch right in her face. Even when the T cleared out and there were plenty of seats available, this man still stood there, trapping her in. She got up to move, and when she moved, the guy turned around to look at her. She was ready to move again, but luckily he just stayed put.

Women face this every single day. Even if it doesn't happen to you every day, we still know it could. We still have to be hypervigilant, and worry about what might happen.

So from now on, I'm yelling at men. Enough is enough.


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Unsolicited - as usual

On Monday I walked past two of those guys who drive this big black "livery" cars around Boston. They weren't speaking English, but one made a point, as I walked within about two feet of them (because they were crowding the sidewalk), to stop and say, "Boo-tee-fuhl! BOO-TEE-FUHL!" I'd almost appreciate it - only I didn't ask for approval.

A few hours later, walking home from work to the Arlington T stop around 11:30pm, two guys passed me. I had my headphones on but no music was playing as I searched for a good song. Suddenly one of them started snapping his fingers at me to get my attention and yelled, "Hey honey!" I looked up. "Which way to Chinatown?" "Next block, take a left," I said. "Honey" probably should have snapped back and given the wrong directions - ya know, so they could get lost - but sometimes I'm just too tired to fight.

- Jenna

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

On the job

Because I'm one of the people at my store that can get by in Spanish, I'm sometimes asked to help customers who don't speak English. Guy came in the other day who only spoke Spanish. No big deal. As I walked him to his items, he asked me how I knew Spanish. I told him that I had learned throughout school. He somehow got "spouse" out of that, and I corrected him. He was friendly and left with what he wanted. End of story.

Only not really. End of one of four instances. A few minutes later, he came back into the store, approached me directly and asked me to fax something for him. I couldn't, but I led him to a Kinko's where he could do that. Then he came back after a bit and just wandered aimlessly around the store. Odd.

The fourth time he came in, he, again, approached me directly. At this point, I just found him a bit annoying (I was at work, and this was the fourth time in about an hour he visited). My boss and I both led him to what he wanted this time... he kept asking for random things and then telling me he didn't need them. I was just confused at this point. As we walked away, again, it got weird. He started asking me where I lived, told me where he lived, asked me if I liked dancing, etc. He proceeded to tell me that he went out dancing a lot and I NEEDED to come with him so that I could practice. At this point, I wanted to scream, "There is nothing I want to practice with you, dude!" I kept my cool and kept saying no, and then he asked if I had a boyfriend. I lied. I had to make up a fiance to get this guy to leave the store. And even after I told him I was engaged, he asked for my number. I thought I was going to have to get one of my big-guy managers to come play my fiance for a few minutes to get this guy away from me. At this point it was just unnerving. I accept that sometimes this is part of a culture, but to continue to come in the store and ask about my love life, and then ask for my number AFTER I have made up a fiance really made me uncomfortable. Not only am I always on the lookout for him now, but I have put the fake wedding band in my wallet should I have to use it. Not cool.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Comeback? Yeah, wish I had one ready...

I was sadly without camera phone, but this gross, sweaty dude outside my gym leered at me as I was walking to my car, and then I heard it behind me:

"Shiiit!! (....kissing noises....) I wanna talk to you. Come back 'ere."

Hell NO. I sped up, and felt relieved once I slammed the door of my car. I HATE it when they wait for you to turn your back, and I HATE it when they make you run. Shut up already!!


Saturday, May 12, 2007

Friday night lights

Dude driving a passing cab:


Are you for real? Well, they are and they're spectacular. Drive on home.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

I'm not a mirror

So stop staring. These guys wouldn't leave us alone at the Harvard Square street fair on Sunday.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Life is not a party

A friend was having a birthday party last night, so I went out to celebrate. To characterize the venue: imagine "Spring Break" exploding inside a dive bar. We're talking tiki torches and grass umbrellas and bad beer and a full crowd of sexist pigs, that I personally wished were on skewers.

My friend, Beth, and I entered the bar and she was wearing short shorts with high heels. Not within two seconds a group of dudes start YELLING shit at us from across the bar, including: "Hey Sweetheart!! You gonna keep those shorts on all night, or what?!!" As if the alternative was for her to take them off? For him? Yeah, right. We were totally disgusted.

Then, a couple minutes later, same dudes yell, "Hey, hey, are you two lesbians?! I bet you're lesbians!!" Which is ironic since I do happen to be gay. But, Beth is straight and that reality was a far cry from whatever delusional porn reel happened to be going through their minds. And finally, as we had to squeeze past them in the crowded room, this guy actually GRABBED ME by the waist and yanked me toward him, saying, "Meet my friend, meet my friend!" I was so pissed, I whipped out my camera and said, "Do I KNOW you? I don't think so. Stop touching me. Why don't you guys smile for the camera!" They immediately started to back away when they saw the camera, and his friend even put his hand up in front of his face, repeating, "Oh no. No paparazzi!" After I snapped the pic, I squirmed away from them, hearing "Oh, she's too mature to talk to us!" in the background. Yeah, that's right buddy, you sexually harass us, then man-handle me, order me around, and then insult me when I won't passively comply to whatever you want. Not too difficult to be more mature than you.

But, it gets better! Oh yes. When we finally reached our group: another dude said to the girl I was standing next to: "I'll buy you a beer if you show me your tits!!!" Not kidding. The girl ignored him. I wanted to punch him in the face.

And to round out such a lovely evening, right before we left, a woman accidentally bumped into a guy as she was coming out of the bathroom, and as she said "Sorry" he replied loudly with, "YOU FUCKING CUNT!" Talk about unnecessary hostility towards women. At that point, I concluded that I was in hell.

I wanted to puke and take five showers by the time I escaped that place. I still kinda do. I will never go there again.

- Michelle, Newport Beach, CA

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Made Me Look

In case anybody still hasn't gotten that street harassment is about power, here's a little story from my morning:

I was walking to my car before work and had chosen to walk in the street to avoid getting my heels stuck in the cobblestone sidewalk. I was looking down into my bag and all of a sudden I hear a short, high-pitched whistle. Thinking it could perhaps be someone telling me to get out of the street, I look up and in the direction of the whistle. Sure enough, a young man smiles at me from the sidewalk. Did he really need to get a look at my face that badly? No. Did he know that he has the power to walk all around this city and get others to do what he wants? Yes.

- Hilary

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Say what?

"Hey doll!"

"What's happening, doll?"

Shut up, man. Don't ruin my sunshine.

- liz

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