A Moment of Honesty: Just Walking Down the Street

I often wonder what men think about when they're walking down the street. Are they ever afraid at night? Until recently, I didn't even think about what I thought about while walking down the street. Now that I walk three blocks to work, I've been thinking about what I think about quite a bit. (Try saying that five times fast.) Most of the time, my very one-track mind is focused on carrying myself with grace in my stilettos and not wiping out, which has absolutely happened on a couple of different occasions. Lately, it's been going a little something like this: Left, right, left, right-- stay on that invisible line but don't look down-- left, right-- I wonder if that place has dairy-free fro-yo-- DANG! Almost walked into someone-- and if often interrupted by something like this, "AYOO, MOMMA GOT A CABOOSE." Cue the long, exasperated sigh. Yes. Street harassment. I chose that particular one because it was stupid, childish, and the least vulgar of the things I've had hurled at me. Some have frightened me to the point at which ducking into a bodega seeming like an absolute necessity. Some have made me cry. I'm not sure if I've gotten more self-aware or if then men on my street have become more brazen. If you're not from a large city, you may have never experienced this and my rant may fall on deaf ears. Chances are though, you've experienced it at least once. It's not fun. It's always been around and seems like it always will. 

I laughed at this W. Kamau Bell segment but it also hits a little close to home. Anyone who has been catcalled knows the feeling. I went through all of the phases. First, it made me unspeakably angry. Then, it made me feel self-conscious and dirty. Then, I felt absolutely nothing. I don't know which emotion is the one I should be feeling. I don't know if I should feel unsafe when I am yelled at on the street. I do know that I've become very thankful for my thick, naturally-angry-looking eyebrows. I walk down the street with a perpetual scowl. It pains me that it has to be this way because I'm a generally open person. Putting walls up is difficult for me. But it seems like the only way. Is it though?

We live in a world in which influencing another individual to think or act a certain way is not a possibility. We all have free will. We will all do what we want. No ad campaign will convince someone who doesn't want to be changed. You cannot shame or legislate morality. It's a messed up world. Depravity is a real thing and everything is relative. Having said that, I hope you will eventually find the empowerment to speak up. The person harassing you is letting you know what he/she is thinking, why not return the favor? Be succinct and graceful but stern. Use your judgment and don't speak if you believe the individual may be particularly dangerous. Don't know what to say? Here's an excellent list

Although this was less of a structured, well-thought-out essay and more of just some "food for thought," I felt the need to share. I've been getting pretty bummed due to the way I'm treated on my short walk into work. I want you to know that if you've gone through it, you're not alone. We're all here fighting this together. As always, my comment section is open for discussion. I'm hoping to have some kind of follow-up that's less disjointed but for now, I had to get it all off of my chest. What are some of your thoughts? I'm absolutely looking forward to hearing from you all. 

xo,
e.m.

19 comments

  1. catcalls are the worst. I can be walking down the street feeling so confident about myself, but skeevy comments just make me shrink back into myself. that list will definitely come in handy. i feel like a lot of people don't understand the issue, so thanks for sharing your thoughts!
    Rebecca @ trbcca.com

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  2. I have a guy friend who just flat out doesn't understand why women are offended by catcalling. He doesn't do it himself, but he thinks the men who catcall are "complimenting" us, so why be offended? He said he would love it if some random girl did that to him. I just stared at him in disbelief. Ugh!

    Rachel
    http://daydreamfrenzy.blogspot.com/

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  3. I have never understood why guys feel the need to call out at women like they're animals or furthermore, like prey. I've been barked at...in my ear amongst several derogatory and dirty words hurled at me. I always question if those men REALLY think that, that is the way to get a woman?!?! What woman in her right mind is going to turn back around and give that man her number?? I don't get it-but like you said, it doesn't seem to be diminishing anytime soon.
    The best I can do is keep walking and pray for that man because clearly, he needs to learn some manners.
    Thanks for the interesting read and "food for thought". I love stumbling on your blog once in a while. It's always so captivating!

    Have a lovely weekend,
    Kayla
    Love Sparkle Pretty

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