I feel like my feed has been overflowing with street harassment posts lately – videos, signs, interviews, the works. While it makes me so happy to see it being talked about so much – I came to a sad realization last night that the only people that are paying attention are the people that are already aware. Many people believe it’s “not true” or “can’t be that bad”. And while I believe that NO woman anywhere should have to feel uncomfortable walking down the street, cat-calling is really minimal in comparison to what women have to face around the world.
Some of my favorite ideas I’ve seen lately have been from the #YesAllWomen campaign. Men don’t have to text each other to make sure they made it home safely. Men don’t have to give a second thought to walking down to the store, no matter what time of day. Men aren’t sexualized on the street because of their clothing. If a man is in a bad mood, he’s in a bad mood, not “on his period.” I want to make it clear that this isn’t man hating. And that I do acknowledge that men face forms of harassment and social pressure just like women do. But this is specifically about women. And empowerment.
It seems that first, men get defensive over the idea. “Oh, you think I harass you and treat you like an object?” No, I think that you’re respectful, but this does happen.
“This is just about man hating, I’m tired of it.” No, really, this is about raising awareness about men that do this. Women and men both should be upset about this. Is this how you want men to be portrayed?
“Well, I’ve never done this. I don’t think it really happens. It’s not a big deal.” Just because you’ve never done it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. I’ve never killed anyone, but people get murdered all the time. This does happen to women every single day. It’s happened to me. And I’m sure it will again.
This is about men and women coming together to fight for what is right. Even if you haven’t ever made an inappropriate comment to a woman walking down the street, doesn’t mean that other men aren’t. Everyone knows it is wrong, and everyone should want it to stop. Instead of seeing it as a divide of women hating men or women vs men, we should stand as equals to fight against people that don’t see us as such.