Appalachian Ohio, Athens GA, Atlanta, Berkeley, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Columbia MO, Des Moines, Fredericksburgh VA, Jacksonville NC, Los Angeles, New York City, NYU, Philadelphia, Palo Alto, Portland ME, Richmond VA, Rutgers University, San Francisco
I was walking on the side of a busy street when suddenly I heard a car horn. I tried to think nothing of it. As a woman existing in a public space I am unpleasantly accustomed to being harassed, meaning that it takes extra effort to convince myself that not every car horn or side conversation is a man potentially harassing me. This time my first instinct was right.
Ignoring the first horn blow, a second one quickly followed. I turned my head towards the road and spotted the source: a new, shiny, blue car. Now noticing that he had my attention, the man inside the car began to roll down the passenger side’s window. I was taken off guard and found myself unable to completely avoid him due to the slowly-moving traffic in front of him. I looked ahead and continued walking with purpose. I could hear the man blowing kisses at me, leaning over to the passenger seat. I kept my head face forward until he shouted some inarticulate obscenity about me being “frigid” for ignoring his advances. It was at about this time that the light changed, and the traffic in front of him began at a normal pace–and just like that, he was gone.
To that man, I was just an available body waiting to be commented on. To me, he was a man in a new shiny car that ruined my day, and reminded me that walking home is not something I can do without being confronted with street harassment. Why did this man, and all men who harass women, feel so entitled to being a part of my day? What makes them so special as to interfere with my daily tasks–many of which involve being outside–and to make comments about my body and my behavior? Just leave me to my own day and my own life, and I will leave you to yours.
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