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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Shake Dat Ass

I am positively drenched in sweat. So much so that sitting on the edge of my bed right now feels like a health code violation. I want desperately to be in the shower, singing Moaning Myrtles songs and scrubbing remnants of my three-mile run off with a loofah, so excuse the rushed tone of this post. I just wanted to get something off my chest.*

Remember last month, when I recounted a tale from my day in which a group of idiot guys harassed me on the street corner? A similar thing happened tonight, but where I'd been slightly off-put the other week, I am flat-out angry this time around.

I was walking to the gym, and while I used a crosswalk in front of an idling car, the three moronic college guys inside took it upon themselves to make me feel as awkward as possible in the span of about thirty seconds. One yelled, "Hey girl, what's up?" while another advised me to "shake dat ass." Harmless enough. Almost flattering, even. But then the remaining boy shouted... something else... which I've just typed and then erased. It wasn't the most vile thing I've ever heard, but I don't really feel comfortable repeating it verbatim. Basically, it was a graphic sexual remark that went a little beyond silly catcalling, to the point that I was embarrassed. I felt that odd nervous sinking feeling in my chest, muttered "Classy" under my breath, and looked around to see if anyone else on the sidewalk had been listening. One guy made eye contact with me but then immediately began speaking Spanish to his friend, so I don't think strangers really witnessed my uncomfortable encounter. Still, I had those inevitable split-second thoughts: Is everyone staring at my body now? Should I not be walking even this short semi-public distance alone after dark? There were three of them and I weigh 125 pounds; if they wanted to cause harm to me, they could.

There were plenty of people within earshot (including an entire beach volleyball game), and the car drove away before I could even see their faces, so there wasn't any realistic physical threat being made to me. But nevertheless, I had to feel uncomfortable for that moment, and I didn't do a single thing to deserve it!

You might wonder why I'm even bothering to tell this story, since I posted a similar one recently, and these sorts of things happen to most women at one time or another. Well, that's precisely why I feel compelled to say something. If we keep treating incidents like this as if they're all the same, all just a part of life, you know, "boys will be boys," we're indirectly allowing these moments to keep happening. I'm not just going to brush it off and continue with my day when those boys caused me a kind of nervousness that I will never be able to cause them. It's unfair, it's bullshit, and it's not okay. Who's with me?!

*Deep breath.* And now I shower.


Chipotle burritos this year: 8
Subscribers: 49,691
Nail color: "Through the Grapevine," Wet n Wild
Miles run today: 3

*Lol. I said "Get something off my chest" in the figurative sense, right after expressing the desire to literally get sweat off my chest. ...Lol.

94 comments:

mikaella said...

This kind of makes me a little wary of college life or life out on my own in general. Where are the boundaries and the common decency? And man, if I were you, I'd be packin' some pepper spray. Even if you never need it, it'd make you feel a little more assured just to have it there. Also, 125! Go you! I watch all your vlogs but you never really get to see all of you. I seriously plan on starting to run this summer and you, my dear, are an inspiration. Thanks for yet another peek into your day-to-day.

Ana said...

This. This right here. I finally quit mentioning stuff like this to my friends because they always act like it's no big deal or even something I should be excited about. No. Not cool.

Nicole said...

It happened again?! I'm with Ana I've stopped mentioning it to friends and family too, it's NOT okay and I have two little brother's I don't want them to treat the women in their lives, let alone me their own sister like that or ways similar to it. Something really should be done, if our voices are ignored by the guys that say it in the first place then what choice do we have besides possibly carrying pepper spray?

Jordiekins said...

Again, I feel the need to apologize for all of the non-rude boys (boys! You know you sang it in your head) out there. As a guy, I promise to NEVER harass a lady (or even another guy, for that matter) like this.

I truly am sorry and hope you never have another experience like this.

Marlee said...

If it makes you feel any better, a few years ago I was on a run along a dirt road, and a truck pulled up next to me, a couple of guys in the back doin the...how do I say..."juggling big boobs" motion. I picked up a rock and through it, shattering their entire back window. They slammed on their brakes and I took off through a field, homefree.

Guess they didn't know I was a Division I collegiate softball player, 3rd base. Haha serves them right. I should blog about that haha...

Allysa said...

your right you didn't deserve that, you shouldn't have to put up with it. It is a very good thing that you're talking about it.

Maya said...

pull a tina fey and yell "suck my dick" right back at them. but seriously though, that sucks. and it sucks that it's happened to pretty much everyone, you know? that it's just normal for that to happen, and it happens all the time. not cool.

Kara said...

I am so glad you wrote about this! I don't get cat-called or anything (which is the way it should be, really), but recently I've overheard some disgusting/degrading comments from guys about other girls, and it makes me sick. Also, angry. I can't believe that we're still allowing things like this to happen, and that so many people can just brush it off like it's nothing. This kind of objectification of women is not okay and it's about time that people start speaking out against it more. So, whoo!

sarah said...

I can't believe this happened to you AGAIN! I'm with you, though. We can't not talk about things like this because people shouldn't treat other people this way and I'm glad you're talking about this.

Also, congrats on weighing 125! You inspire me and I wish I could run that many miles without keeling over dead. You are an incredible woman.

Kali said...

Society. It needs to change a lot more than people realize.

*headdesk*

jenibo said...

You're right. It's not okay. What can we do to change this? I feel like if I were to report an incident like this to the campus security, they'd send a mass "security alert" email warning others to be wary, but I'm not sure that would accomplish much. Knowing that you care means a lot, but I'm pessimistic about the possibility of change any time soon.

Dean said...

Man, that's inconsiderate. I know exactly how you feel. I was once yelled at by a truck full of rednecks when I crossed the street before the light turned green. It stayed with me for a while.

Not that you ever would, but I feel it is possible for a gaggle of giggling (bitchy valley girls)to cause similar discomfort to a teenage boy. It used to happen to me. The only difference is that it's more passive aggressive...they'll compliment you when they clearly don't mean it, and you'll hear them giggling as you walk away. Hurtful.

Alloquy said...

I had the worst experience a few weeks back when a guy that had to be in his fifties came up to me at the bus stop, leaned right in and felt up my thigh. He was obviously a bit cracked and was talking about how he wanted to kill this guy that had taken "his girl" and stuff, but he was trying to be very sexual and I was scared out of my life, despite the fact that I was in a public place. A while before that I had another forty year old guy hoot, whistle and shout offensive things at me while I was simply walking to the shops. As a 17 year old, I find it really disturbing.

It's not cool, it's not right, and I agree with you 100%.

Ellen said...

I was walking with some friends around town, and a man in a jeep thought it was necessary to yell stupid b*tches the c-word at us. One of my friends and I turned around and yelled our own choice words at him, but now I regret it. I feel like I was stooping to his level. But I just wanted him to know that doing that was unacceptable and I wasn't going to just stand there and take it.

Ginny said...

you'd think people would grow up once they went to college. i really don't know why some boys think it's okay to do things like this. it's just downright disrepectful, not to mentionn how their giving all the decent guys bad names.

bassrocks9 said...

Gahhh I'm really sorry that happened to you.
The horrible thing is that most of the time I feel like I can't talk about these kind of incidences with my friends, because they might think that I'm *bragging* or something, and implying that I'm pretty enough to be objectified. It doesn't make any sense, but I agree with you that these things are like an unspoken sick rite of passage or something once a girl starts developing.
And I think the best that we can do is keep being feminists, keep working towards gender equality in every aspect of our lives, so that men can't view us as their overly-sexualized inferiors.

Jon Garcia said...

Rape Culture, don't you love it? Disgusting.
Really, at this point it might be in your best interest to invest in some mace or something. I have a friend who actually carries a gun in her purse, which seems a bit too far until you realize she's gone through domestic violence stuff before.

ashley :) said...

I'm so sorry, Hayley. It really is crappy that you had to go through this again.

I know that you (most likely) didn't make this post so that we could pity you, so I'll try not to, but I think that for all of the female readers- and even some of the guys- it brings back bad memories about being treated like that ourselves, on one level or another.

A person is a lot more than his or her sex appeal, so we need to start treating each other- and ourselves- like it. Thanks for telling us about it, so that we can make you and others who read feel better when they look at the comments.

If this happens again, march right up there and tase them!!
...and then make a blog post about it.

Congrats on the 125-pound-thing! You among other people have inspired me to start jogging (for a little over a week now), so that's something I look up to you for. Thanks!

JW said...

Yeah, taze them, mace them, and kick them in the groin.

I feel that those guys are at least a little a product of our sexualized culture. Women are used to sell things, they are idolized in porn and it conditions guys to view them as nothing but objects and makes them feel its okay to act the way they do.

Those guys were idiots, and there are some out there who would come to your aid if you had needed it.

Mackenzie said...

I deal with this on a weekly basis because I take public transportation. Most recently there was a guy who I'm pretty sure was masturbating in a seat near me. GROSS. I tend to be pretty timid so I don't even know what I could do or what would work without endangering myself. I don't even feel like I could tell the conductor because I frequently get a "Hey Baby" when I get off the train from them. What is the answer?

Sassy said...

I know I'm gonna get negative feedback to this comment, but before you tear me to shreds or whatever, just hear me out. I'm from Ireland. A long waay away across the sea. So our cultures (despite both being considered "western") are very different. I've been reading this blog since forever but haven't felt the need to comment before now...
This kinda stuff happens all the time here. Like you could get anything from wolf whistles to "will you ride me?" to "awh I'd give you a go" to worse things, from complete strangers that pass you in the street. The perpetrators are usually young men. I'm not condoning what they do. And I'm not excusing their behaviour with "boys will be boys" but, you just have to look on them as being 1. Cheeky buggers 2. Losers who probably have no idea what a vagina looks like 3. Ignorant pigs who don't realise what impact their comments have. Speaking for myself, these things don't bother me. I laugh off the milder ones, sometimes shout back at them. As for the worse ones, I just ignore them. You need to grow yourself a thick skin. Because really the old saying rings true, "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me". Because at the end of the day, that's all they are, words. Don't let them scare you, just rest happy in the knowledge you're far above the idiots that come up with these "ingenius" slurs. If it's going to keep happening, you're really gonna have to just stop caring... I know some people don't have an easy time with that, but it seems to be the only solution. Also, it seems to be something that shocks you and all the other commenters that people go on like this... is what those guys are saying really so taboo in your society? I'm genuinely interested to hear feedback.

Steph said...

I'm glad you write about these things, it helps me to know I'm not alone getting annoyed about this sort of think and that it's not harmless or even flattering (as some of my male friends try to persuade me that it is). It's terrifying because guys could hurt girls easily, so you can't really say anything to them for fear that you'll get hurt! There was an article in my local paper today saying about how a guy asked a girl for her number (out of the blue) accompanied by some sort of lewd comment, she (obviously) said no and he tried to strangle her! Fucking ridiculous that girls can't feel safe unless they're walking with others (and even then I sometimes stillam very wary of people)
But yeah

Jenywren said...

It makes me sick that people think they can just do that. That girls/ women should worry about it constantly and that men think that it is acceptable. Honestly what do they expect people to say 'Oh thanks! I didn't find that comment at all offensive or degrading!'. It's the fact they think they can get away with it. It's about being the dominant gender and they think they can objectify women GRR! We can just shrug it off but it wont make it go away

Ben Cracknell said...

I am so unbelievably sick of girls being teated like this. You know twice this week I've heard something along the lines of, "It's the girls' fault they get raped when they dress like that." No, that's complete and utter bullshit. If a girl wears a short skirt and a revealing top and guys treat her abusively, be it verbally or physically, it is not the girl's fault. It's the attackers. Being drunk or short clothes don't cause rape or abuse; rapists and abusers cause rape and abuse.

The same goes for your situation. if anyone dare says "boys will be boys", Hayley, you punch them in the face. Or you hand them over to your subscribers, because I'm pretty sure we'll have something to say to them. A girl should be able to walk around anywhere and feel completely and utterly safe from prowling morons, be them boys or girl. If someone can't walk to a gym without getting taunted with vulgarities like that, I dare think what else is out there in the world.

nelamonster said...

I'm with you. What I find funny is that those guys will soon get their degrees and maybe work as the intellectual elite of the country.

When I was 12 my mom would let me walk home the shorter way through the forest only if I checked if there weren't any men getting off the bus with me. And I thought that 1. it was ridiculous, because she would say it applied to our male neighbors as well, whom we obviously knew; 2. it was ridiculous that women teach their daughters to react like that, causing their paranoia. But really, who can blame them?
Saying that "boys will be boys" is unacceptable but at the same time it pisses me off that we're taught to fear every man. It is unfair any way you look at it.

On the other hand now that I have braces I don't feel so defenseless. Armed teeth is really the greatest weapon.
Have a nice shower!

nova said...

It's weird because I've been reading your blogs on this topic, and have completely agreed. But I've never really felt threatened or scared or anything. Oh but lo and behold, today some older guy (he was about 19 I'd say?I'm 14...) kept waving at me and my mom in the car window. He kept looking at us and smiling and waving and giving us the creepiest look. I had never before felt like I was so defenseless, even though I was in a car, as was he, on the road in the middle of a city.

I told some people today, and then those girls began to tell creepy stories of their own. It made me feel really sad. I just... wish it didn't have to be that way.

Now I really want to take a self defense class though. No one's taking me without me putting up an equal fight.
Thanks for the blogs, it makes me feel like we can all stand together against this.

Stefan said...

Of course they have mothers and sisters and girl friends.

I've always believed the call of feminists who say the personal is political. And so the best defense from people like that is to just not tolerate it from your close friends and if every girl/feminist did that you get every man to behave.

Of course this only half works as I doubt your friends or any of mine would act like that and if I they did would 1) punch them in the face and 2) stop hanging out with them eventually.

And so all the horrible people form group and are horrible to people while driving around in their cars.

It's almost like I feel like I should hang out with more sexist people so I can spend time standing up for what I believe in. But think of how exhausting and unpleasant that would be. cognitive dissonance is a strong effect.

united we stand. so painfully cheesy to say but perhaps it's all we have some times. TO just weather the storm of life together.

Newt said...

This sort of reminds me of something that happened to me in gym class a few days ago in which a guy was documenting my run in an Australian accent. Kind of flattering, but also embarrassing. Obviously this is no where nere similar, as your ecounter(s) were closer to abuse and involved sexual harrassment, in a way.

All joking aside, I think you should be careful. You're right; they could hurt you if they wanted to. ._.

Anonymous said...

You know what's really weird, and probably really not good?
A part of me envies you.
I've never been sexually harrassed. I have, however, been shouted at from a car while crossing the street, as you were. But it wasn't anything at all flattering. It was, "Get out of the fucking road, fatass."
At the time, I kind of wished it *had* been sexual harrassment. The grass is always greener, I suppose.

Don't get me wrong, I still think it is disgusting when guys shout sexual things at girls they don't know. And it's even more disgusting that they think it's okay. Because nobody EVER calls them out on it. I can't imagine how I would react if I was ever in that situation; I just wouldn't know what to do. In these situations the girl is so rarely in a position where she can do anything but walk away, because in saying anything she might put herself in more danger.

I don't know. There should be a Sexual Harrassment Police or something.

apples_and_pancakes said...

I'm with you and, considering the response your last blog on the subject generated, so are plenty of others.
Piggybacking on what Ben Cracknell mentioned about the clothes, it seems like many people have this idea that if a woman dresses in a revealing way, then she's basically asking to get harrassed. Honestly, I've seen people reason that a girl is a tease or a bitch because she can show lots of cleavage and gets angry when people harrass her for it. I think I remember reading a derogatory comment about girls who dress like "whores" on your last post even if they were trying to be supportive of you.
And speaking as a female with naturally big boobs, in order to really cover them up the the point where they aren't noticable, you would have to go out of your way to do that. I happen to not think that it's fair to ask women to never wear a tank top or a normal shirt just because of the way their bodies are.
I went a bit off topic there. Anyway, mysogyny is bad for all the men and women involved. *goes off to search for Joss Whedon equality now quote.* Where women are being conditioned to apologize for their bodies and their sexuality, men are being socialized into always being on the prowl. Ah, here's the quote. "Because equality is not a concept. It’s not something we should be striving for. It’s a necessity. Equality is like gravity, we need it to stand on this earth as men and women, and the misogyny that is in every culture is not a true part of the human condition. It is life out of balance and that imbalance is sucking something out of the soul of every man and women who’s confronted with it. We need equality, kinda now."

Gwen said...

I couldn't agree more...I've had similar things happen too many times to count, and it makes me feel like dirt. It's actually affected me so much that I tense up when I walk past a group of guys or when a car with male passengers drives by. I feel vulnerable. That is not okay. People brush it off (and have even told me "maybe you should dress differently then!"), and that's not okay. We, as Americans, as PEOPLE, should not have to feel vulnerable when we're walking down the street.

Anonymous said...

I feel your pain. At my university I would have to walk back from church every week back to my dorm, and to do that I'd have to walk down a pretty main road around 9PM at night. There was not a single week that I wasn't yelled at, whistled at, or just generally creepily hit on by a car full of college age males. It's disgusting. And it doesn't just happen there, when I was just 16 I was at Panama City Beach with two of my friends in June. We took a walk on the beach a little before sunset and had guys continuously yell and hit on us, and one eventually threw a beer bottle towards us "to gain our attention." Thankfully it didn't hit us, and luckily we got as far away from them as quickly as possible.

Sorry, I know that's a lot, and I hated to go all story time and "yeah, well, listen to what I'VE been through!" on you. My point really is that every girl I talk to deals with this and has their own horrific stories and it shouldn't be like that. I shouldn't have to walk around with pepper spray "just in case," and you should be able to walk to the gym without having to be anxious about some guy yelling a comment at you.

I know this has been long now, and I don't really have a point exactly. I wish there was something we could all do to put a stop to it, but just like I do when it happens to me...I just feel so helpless about it all. I can just hope that things will get better for everyone, and I hope you don't have to deal with anything like that again any time soon.

-Kaitlyn (regular reader, not so regular commenter)

Abrie van Wyk said...

I'm really sorry that someone made you feel that way. I'm sure its something that can haunt you fir the rest of the day. I also think that its crap that girls have to learn to accept this behaviour and brush it off. Why do some people get their kicks out of stuff like this? Just remember. Its not boys will be boys. There are some of us who aren't like that, but we're not as verbal. Wouldn't you be more freaked out if you walked by and I screamed: 'I respect you!' ;)

apples_and_pancakes said...

I skimmed the comments of your last post. Perhaps I imagined the one that mentioned girls that dress like "whores". Huh.
Sorry to get all political here, but I dislike when people say that feminism is unnecessary, as if thousands of years of mysogyny has been solved and eradicated within a couple of centuries. We can vote and go to school and everything, but if it's an everyday occurance for a woman get get harassed for the crime of walking down the street while simultaneously being female, then maybe we have a bit more work to do.

flory72 said...

I live in a different country as yours and I can say that men act violently towards women just as much over here. At first, when you share stories about female harassment with other women all we feel empowered to do is share ours too. Isn't it unbelievable how an event that shook our day instantly and left us with a lump in our throats for a whole week ends up being just another story to tell about our daily life?
How is it that we just accept that it is normal to plan out what unattractive big coat you're going to wear on top of your hot dress so you don't get disgusting looks from men before you get to the actual party?
Why can't we just go out there and be ourselves? Is it too much to ask?

I'm going to make a different link with another event that happened this week that might be really different at first sight. When I watched this week's episode for Glee called Prom Queen, I was surprised with what they did at the end with Kurt's character. He was anonymously harassed by his own school peers. I think this is sort of what our society has come down to. We accept that women should be treated equally because it'd be wrong to say otherwise out loud. Same goes with gays who are being slowly accepted as being equal but when it comes down to person to vote for their rights they just can't do it.
It's hurtful to think that our neighbors and peers act as if they all defend equality between sexes when their face or name is on paper but once they become anonymous on the street or on the internet, their real beliefs and feelings come out. What's more is that you cannot argue with an anonymous person, how do you argue with a user that can decide to log off whenever he likes or how do you argue with a car that already drove off. So we're left with this unfair situation where we just don't know how to defend our own freedom.

Anonymous said...

I'm with you. We can't keep on accepting things and saying it's alright because "it happens to everybody!". That doesn't stop the horrible feelings of discomfort, shame and even fear that girls feel with that kind of disrespect. It isn't flattering: it's kind of scary.

Meena said...

I'm with you too! This kind of thing has happened to me a few times now, and it's always unpleasant. Often it has been much older men making really inappropriate comments. I'm not even 18 yet. Not to mention that I'm pretty small for my age and often get mistaken for being even younger than I am. Yet these guys(often in groups) still think it’s okay to approach and harass us in this way. As a woman you always have it at the back of your mind. It’s lovely weather outside and yet I go to the gym to run just because I have been harassed by men in my area before and my parents feel like its unsafe for me to run alone.
I think it largely comes down to education. It frustrates me that the government (in the UK at least) puts such an emphasis on largely arbitrary exams instead of actually educating people by teaching them to be rational, considerate human beings. It frustrates me especially to hear women in the US and Europe talk disparagingly of feminism, as if it’s an out of date concept in our world. (Often the girls who I hear doing this know little about the feminist movement or generally about the restricted freedom of women, not just historically but also at present in certain cultures). Sexist attitudes are clearly still imbedded in out societies. If a man walked down the street in summer with a pair of shorts on and no shirt, I think few people would agree that he deserved to be raped, assaulted, followed or verbally abused. Yet this is the attitude some seem to hold towards women who wear low cut tops or short skirts. Or even those who just make an effort with their looks. It's despicable and perpetrates this inexcusable behaviour.

Rachel said...

Completely with you. I've had my fair share of those kinds of comments, and it makes me uncomfortable and angry. I'm a very conservative dresser, but as apples_and_pancakes pointed out, girls with bigger chests (of which I am one) have a hard time *looking* conservative even in a t-shirt because, well, there the boobs are. As a modest-is-hottest kind of person, I hate that even if I wear a turtleneck, some guy will be leering at my chest.
The problem is, what do we do about the creepy cat-callers? While I wish you and I and all the other girls didn't just ignore it, because something should be said... what are you supposed to do? Stop and yell at them? If they're on foot, that's probably not a great idea. I hate that we have to live with the fear that dressing normally in shorts or a tanktop, or a turtleneck for that matter, will cause us possible hard and that sticking up for ourselves might only further that.

Squirrelfish said...

The other day I was wearing a shin-length skirt and a fully zipped up jacket and I received the most utterly vulgar cat-call I have ever heard.
I used to live near a building site and I would skip school just to avoid walking past it and receiving wolf-whistles and inappropriate comments.
As someone who does not receive even appropriate comments very often, people have suggested that such instances could be considered complimentary. But they always make me immediately ill-at-ease, uncomfortable and awkward, as if everyone is suddenly looking at me and judging me and my appearance.
It's not charming, it's threatening. Men should not own the sole right to decide that I look 'sexy' or 'hot'.

Anonymous said...

Hey Hayley, I'm a girl from Malaysia and I get treated like that a lot when I'm alone in town. It drives me crazy but I'm too afraid to say anything to those guys.

I don't think this would interest you much but recently there has been a group of boys splashing acid on people in the city. It's so sick D: http://www.monstersandcritics.com/news/asiapacific/news/article_1638153.php/Malaysian-police-on-alert-for-acid-splashing-duo

Anonymous said...

This woman was sexually harrassed on the NY subway, and she decided not to stay silent about it (which, is totally a personal judgment call; we can't all confront people comfortably), and it was sort of cathartic to watch her call this dude out.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iIlObKYwUyI&feature=related

Erica said...

Honestly, I am so glad you continue to document these instances of harassment. Because it's not something that happens every once in a blue moon. It happens all the time. It's awful, and it's not something we can just accept. I'm so impressed that you continue writing about it, and not just staying silent.

Also, to the commenter who says she's never been sexually harassed, the instance she describes may be a form of sexual harassment. It's definitely harassment of some sort.

Emily said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Emily said...

I cannot imagine being a small girl. Any cat calls that make me feel uncomfortable are met with a death glare, the clenching of my man-hands, and said guys quickly realizing that I am both capable and willing to do major ball busting if they so much as look at me again. It makes me wish more girls were Amazonian Xena-like warriors. (Though violence is probably not the best answer ...)

Regardless, guys like that piss me off. They make me really, really angry. It is a problem, and it needs to be fixed.

I suppose the only thing we can really do is continually resist and discourage, let the behavior fade out, teach our children differently, and thank God that there are still a lot of decently good, genuine, respectful men in the world, and that time and progress are continually creating more and more men respective of women's bodies, minds, and rights.(Unless, of course, taking the higher path and leading by passive example is not satisfactory, in which case violence, by way of castration, does seem rather appealing to me at times ... )

Keep your head up! Those men see that you're gorgeous and sexy, which can be of some consolation, but don't forget all of the things that they don't see: that within your hot bod is a brilliant girl filled with ambition, gifted with words, and ready to take on their misogynistic and twisted world; and that is much more than they will ever have.

Anonymous said...

Whenever I read posts like this, a part of me ends up being jealous, because while I am female, I am not one that males find attractive, due to physical deformities/differences. I would love to have people complimenting my appearance as I walk down the street, even if it is in a laviscious manner, instead of ridiculing me. Unfortunately, I don't have that privilege that all of you beautiful/normal women share. So, the next time you get such comments, just think that you are fortunate enough to have people find you beautiful. I honestly wish I were so lucky.

Steph said...

Hayley, thank you for writing this. It's situations like these that cause me cognitive dissonance when I'm at any sort of social gathering in college. I am extremely uncomfortable with and angry about the constant sexualization of women in any situation when men can wear jeans and a t-shirt and stand idly by. While it's easy to say "I don't know why society doesn't change," the thing I have the most trouble understanding is that I have wonderful, intelligent, self-respecting friends who participate in this behavior, and I don't know how they reconcile any sort of feminist, progressive values with that type of behavior. Just last week, I had to write out my thoughts on this very topic because I was so disturbed by behaviors at a party.

Hayley, keep up your crusade; the world needs more people to stand up and speak out against this type of abuse.

Margaret said...

Yes, absolutely, I am so, so with you. I just don't know how to stop it. I'm learning about this in my Philosophies of Feminism class and we're reading lots of articles about unearned racial privileges and relating them to unearned gender privileges. One of these such articles talks at length about how black people have no way of getting their voice heard and suggests that it is entirely necessary for someone of the dominant group (white people) to speak on behalf of them in order for anything to change. And it's the same way with gender. Which sort of sucks because it means that, following this author's logic (which, I gotta say, makes a lot of sense), there's no way that anyone in a subdominant group can ignite change independently. And that's totally insulting and really sucks, but, I mean, if that's how it's gotta be... So, I guess what I'm saying is that part of the solution has to be men speaking to other men about this foul behavior. Because if we try to talk about it, they're just not going to listen.

SIGH, FEMINIST RANT OVER NOW.

apples_and_pancakes said...

It's times like this when I dislike my computer. It froze as soon as I clicked PUBLISH YOUR COMMENT and all was lost.
@Margaret: I disagree with the idea that the dominant group must speak for the oppressed. It re-establishes that this one group is dominant of another and perpetuates the oppression. I do understand the logic in that if they have more power then they can make a bigger difference, but they shouldn' speak FOR us, but WITH us, and not only that but allow us the opportunity to speak for ourselves. And people do listen to the less dominant group. We're all reading and commenting on Hayley's blog post after all, who is, you know, a girl. We listen to gay people talk about gay rights because who knows more who knows more about homophobia and being gay than a homosexual? And so forth. Allies have their place and they are very useful, but they should never replace the people that their fighting for.
@one of the anons who said we should take this as a compliment: No, we really shouldn't. In the same way that sexual assault/groping/rape aren't compliments. They didn't happen because a girl is soo attractive and someone just can't help themselves. It's about control. And yeah, verbal harassment is not as traumatizing as rape in most cases, it's still about control, and it's still about making someone feel like shit. It's not a fucking compliment, it is something that needs to be nipped in the bud.

Cate said...

I was thinking about your last post about this subject last night after I had three different groups of men sexually harrass me on the half hour journey from my mum's house back to my flat. I ended up losing it with the last guys, who sat opposite me on the train and were pretty much screaming "I want to see your boobies" in my face over and over again until I quite bluntly told them where to go. Thank goodness they left me alone, because they were in a group of about twenty men and I wouldn't have had a chance against them. I'm pretty sure they thought they were joking, but it's disgusting that some men think that intimidation is funny, and that me and so many other women, even just in this comment thread, have to weigh up their chances in a potential physical confrontation with men on a regular basis because of stupid jokes and comments. Thanks for discussing this again, it's so important.

mmomechanicallyinclined said...

I'm sorry you had another such experience. I promise you that if I ever meet you in person I will attempt to be a perfect gentleman and through my actions hope to at least in part compensate for the idiotic performances of my fellow males.

I'm with you Hayley.

Sam said...

I'm reading this a second time--there's a rush of emotions. I don't think I can explain what I think coherently, but Hayley, I love you. You're beautiful and talented and worth so much more than...THAT. I feel like someone more eloquent should respond to the few people who said that they feel jealous of people who get cat-called. But here goes: Reread Hayley's post, or watch Rosianna's video about unpleasant characters she encountered in Miami, or read about it online. These kind of remarks and lewd behavior DON'T make the receiving person feel sexy or pretty or complimented at all. I've never been catcalled--frankly, I don't look like that. But I have, quite recently, been talked AT, reduced to something base and worthless and felt so uncomfortable and you-could-have-fried-an-egg-on-my-face by some guy's passing remark. And I suppose these idiots don't think twice about it. Upon rereading this post once more, I was hit by an empathy-epiphany because I'd felt similarly a few hours before. This sort of thing shouldn't be tolerated. Thanks, Hayley dear, for speaking out about this.

Elisabeth said...

This is why I'm taking a taekwando course right now. So that if I ever get physically assaulted, I'll have a chance to actually defend myself.

You're also right about not staying silent about things like this.

Anna said...

I agree completely with everything said in this post. Recently I was approached at a bus stop, by a man at least 7 years my senior, repeatedly asking if he could "take me out sometime". It sounds like nothing, and when I retold the story to friends they laughed it off, but the fact he wouldn't seem to take "no" for an answer made me very frightened. Some of my male friends made "way to let a guy down" comments and I did feel like maybe I handled the situation badly; as in I should of just given him a fake number or something, but I still feel it may right to be allowed to say no.

Anna said...

*It was my right.
Thankyou for sharing Hayley.

Anonymous said...

"Boys will be boys" is definitely not the right answer. More like "assholes will be assholes".
Harassment is wrong and it shouldn't simply be accepted on any given basis, but I think accepted as inevitable. I'd rather we all be raised acknowledging that things like that are going to happen rather than passively press on to the young "be polite!!" and hope nothing will happen because we don't think it ~should~ happen. I guess acknowledgement and open-discussion is the most ideal method of reducing harassment.

I just think it's a shame to let the terrible aspects of the world be allowed to do such harm. No one can make you feel bad but yourself, no?
That said for any given moment I wish I could think of an adequate and terse put-down. I don't think a victim should be silent but you can't really take the time to drive a point home and expect to be heard with an open mind...
Simply challenging their virginity or manliness just seems to fight fire with fire with no positive change to be expected. I guess challenging their honor is the way to go, trying to establish shame as a fellow human being rather than antagonism as a woman vs. a man.

Something to keep thinking about, talking about!

Amelia said...

Since movie to the city I have had more and more experiences like this, usually from foreign older men so I do feel quite intimidated. In broad daylight or on the bus or something it's usually hilarious, but as soon as it gets dark it's really scary. On another note, I'd really appreciate it if anyone with time would check out my blog- satiring.blogspot.com.

apatel said...

I blame Marcus:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7yAgCXKxAMY

Lizzie McMizzie said...

Thank you for speaking out about this!! It is completely inappropriate, violating, and unsettling. I'm so sorry you had to endure that.

Claire said...

I absolutely agree with you on this.

I used to ride the bus home from school last year, and every day there were these boys who would yell at me across the bus and say INSANELY inapproprite things, that I can't write here, about me just because I was there. I didn't even know their names or who they were, they just did it because they thought it was funny.

By the end of the school year, I was afraid to ride the bus becuase of them. I would get off the bus almost in tears every day. I had my parents pick me up from high school every day.

And the sad thing is, I see them in the halls sometimes and they don't even recognize me or know who I am.

I think it is so very unfair for women to be treated in such a way as you or I or any of the other people this has happened to. To be afraid just to walk down the street? or go to your own school? No, there has to be a point where it ends.

VTBurninator said...

My gf and I have recently been watching Six Feet Under on Netflix (due to Dexter withdrawl). There is an episode that I think everyone in the world should have to watch that puts this specific issue into a unique perspective that would not resonate to only unfeeling, sociopaths. It is episode 3 of Season 3 called The Eye Inside. Check it out, I'm interested to hear your reaction.

carolina said...

Well, where I live, men who shout this kind of stuff are normally harmless, they make sure you're alone and that they're 10meters away from you before making these "flattering" comments.

BUT. they do il all the time and I really, really hate it. And I hate myself for not going up to them and telling them to screw themselves.
When I still went to school, two men used to tell me somethign every single morning, until my dad came with me and told them he'd call the police if they ever bothered me again. and they never showed up again. that's what we should do. id i only was brave enough...

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry that happened to you. I'm so sorry that happened in general. I wish that just wasn't acceptable in any form, but it is and it's painful to live in a place where people can be mistreated based entirely on gender and image.
On a completely different note, I was wondering if you could write something about the future of Presence, just to let us all know if it's coming back or not (And I definitely hope it is).

Anonymous said...

This would be a great talk to have with your Presents, we miss you :(

Cat said...

Someone's facebook conversation on my feed:
"don't hook up with the situation, he's in florence... so don't go there. luvya"

My thoughts: "Wait, how do they know about Mike Lombardo."

I forgot that the Situation is actually that guy on Jersey Shore.

Leesa said...

When you feel like you are in danger, that's when things have gone too far.

When I was in college, all catcalling angered me. I thought it belittled me because I was a girl. By the time I was in my mid 30s, I was a bit flattered by the attention. Again, semi-sexual comments where I did not feel threatened physically.

I think that is the difference. When it is classless, that is one thing - whether it is obnoxious or flattering. But when you worry for your safety, that's when the line gets crossed.

Julia Rose said...

Hayley! I'm so sorry this keeps happening! I'm with a few of the other girls who commented, you need some way to protect yourself. Even if it never happens again, you'll feel safe walking, or running, around your college neighborhood with a bottle of pepper spray or some basic self defense. We love you, Hayley! Be safe!

Sadie said...

that is sickening, and i feel the exact same way as you.

Sadie said...

that is sickening, and i feel the exact same way as you.

Anonymous said...

Hayley! Where are you? :(

Sam. said...

This is the first time I've read your blog in a while, and this first post I read really resonates with me.

A few weeks ago I was catcalled FOUR TIMES in the span of a few hours. I was so angry and upset.

I don't understand why men do this. I remember being catcalled as a tiny, scrawny, flat-chested, short-haired 14 year old. I looked like a 10 year old boy, so it's not always our looks that cause them to do this...

I hate people who say, "You should take it as a compliment!" I should take the fact that a group of elderly men old enough to be grandfathers started assessing my looks as I passed them by as a compliment? I should take a group of raucous and potentially dangerous boys at night catcalling me as a compliment?

There are ways to compliment girls. This is not one of the ways.

We feel uncomfortable, disgusted and scared when this happens. Because it's not just the words that hurt us, that take away our dignity. It's also the possibility of those words to progress into sexual assault, to rape....

And we're not overreacting, it happens all the time.

Ugh, it just makes me so angry that it's considered "normal".

Isabel said...

I was walking home from visiting my mom in the hospital last week and this happened to me. I didn't think much of it at the time; the guys were probably only in highschool. (I'm 13). Thinking back on it now, I realize it was pretty bad. By the way, I just want you to know you are my biggest inspiration. I am an aspiring writer, obsessed HP fan, runner, twilight fan (though I make fun of it), nerdfighter, and I do musical theater. You are basically everything I want to be. All of that, and you know Charlie Mcdonnell!

annajones:) said...

As everyone else has said: you deserve to be treated better than that in general, let alone in a public place. I'm glad that you wrote about it though, maybe it will call attention to people (men) who do that kind of thing.


P.S. Come back?

TonksftMemories said...

This crap happens to me a lot! I should have to feel uncomfortable or even violated! It's not even from wearing revealing clothing (though that's not an excuse) - I got honked and commented about in my work uniform which is baggy black pants and a polo shirt.

It's so unacceptable and uncalled for but it's so common.

I don't really know how the best way to react is, but always feel really violated when I just say nothing or if I accidently make eye-contact. I usually yell something (extremely lady-like) back - usally "fuck off", just so I don't feel passive and violated.

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Anonymous said...

where are you? its like both presence and your normal blog died :/

The Teenage Bookworm said...

I am with you Hayley. I am new to the blogging world, and I really admire your blog. I have never been cat-called or anything but I know people who have, and they don't like to talk about it. They say that it makes them feel defenceless, and two of them have started taking Tae Kwan do as a result. Thank you for speaking out about it.

Sandra said...

Well, those situations are clear proof that women and men are NOT seen equal yet, even in countries that call themselves "progressive". So often I meet men (and women!) telling me there are differences in the mental ability of men and women.. using "biology" to explain it. Of course there are differences, every person on this earth is unique. But does it make someone more worth than somebody else??? NO. I'm sad hearing about those incidents. Nobody deserves to feel this kind of humilitation.

Anna said...

Hayley, whenever I see your "miles run today" thing, I get encouraged to exercise ^_^

There's absolutely no excuse for the asshole-y way some men behave. Maybe they think it's harmless, but it injures my pride whenever something like that happens to me. It's not fair. >.<

PJ Scott-Blankenship said...

Make me popcorn.

The Romantic Pigeon said...

Dear Hayley,

Firstly I would like to say that your blog has made me very happy over the years and kept me from death by bordom many a time, for which I am extremely grateful.

I recently did an English non-fiction assignment on harassment of women. One of the things that struck me as I researched for it was how little sympathy victims get from bystanders and even authority figures. It seems that the general view is that people who get harassed in the streets should just put up with it- and even worse, there is a large number of people who seem to think that it's the victims fault for 'dressing like a slut'.

So thank you very much for sharing your experiences, it helps challenge the idea that harassment is acceptable and helps others experiencing the same sort of thing to know that they shouldn't be ashamed- the guy yelling at them should.

deantharris said...

Hay;ey!! I miss your blogging! When will you be back?!

I realize I just ended three consecutive sentences with an exlaimation point, but I really miss your blogging!

Okay, make that four consecutive sentences. Period.

Katyisgoing said...

I'm sorry that happened to you. It's sad that behavior like that just slips on buy in our culture today...

~Vaishnavi~ said...

I think things like this happen so regarly and it makes anyone soo concious about themselves! Thats why I always ask myself... When will guys finally learn! -.-

~Vaishnavi~ said...

Oh! and I also want to ask where have you been! =( I hardly see videos or blogs anymore from you =(

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I think that all the important stuff has already been said, so that makes me feel a little better about saying something completely silly and not the point of your blog post at all: 125 pounds? Dang, I feel fat :\

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