Tags: objectification


I've got a scathingly sarcastic bone to pick with you...

No, not you, that guy in the red pick-up and the other guy in the silver convertible who both honked and yelled at me today (within the same 5 minutes) while I was walking home from the bus stop today.

There's something that REALLY pisses me off about men who think it's totally acceptable to ogle, honk at, yell at, insult, verbally assault, or just generally harass women while they walk to work, walk home, walk their dogs, take out the trash, or just exist and have a vagina.

First, I have to give a little back story.

A few weeks ago I was walking home from my bus stop. I used to walk down government & then turn left at beverly to get home, and that's the way I was walking that afternoon. I never felt unsafe (and I still don't feel unsafe) walking this way, just a little annoyed with the heavy traffic because it's to cross the street. I was approaching an intersection, on the left side of the road so that on-coming traffic was closest to me. A truck full of men (at least four) was the first car stopped at the light. As I passed they started yelling at me, which I was kind of prepared for (which doesn't say a lot of good things about how I feel about men, groups of men, groups of men in cars, etc), but their assault was particularly insulting and violating.

"Do you wanna ride?" "Get in the truck, we'll give you a real good ride."  - were a few of the things they yelled at me. Despite the fact that I wanted to beat the closest passenger's head into a bloody, woman-respecting, newly-turned-feminist pulp with the helmet I was carrying, my only realistic course of action was to be passive and ignore them (this, I just have to say, is what makes me THE MOST ANGRY - that I am expected to be passive and "just ignore it" in order to "protect myself" or some bull like that). Which I did. Which only resulted in them yelling even worse things at me like, "fine you dumb white bitch" and "we just wanted to talk to you."

I was EXTREMELY upset by this incident (which brought up memories of a plethora of similar experiences), ended up taking a lot of my frustration & anger out on Motorcycle Man (I'm sorry), and then being angry and crying and rambling on and on about it to Motorcycle Man later that night (and apologizing for taking it out on him, too). After that incident, I also decided to walk a different way - (which also pisses me off: that my mobility is, even in some small way, constrained) now I take the Eugene-North blvd route. There's less traffic and there's a school on one whole side of the block, and for some reason that made me feel like I probably wouldn't be harassed.

(NOTE: I don't feel unsafe on government, but I do feel that I'm expected to "take responsibility" for the incident. And, the way to do that is to alter my behavior, rather than the pig bastards' changing theirs. I don't walk down government any more because I feel that, should a similar incident happen in the future, and I get upset and/or complain about it to anyone, then people will say or at least think "well, you shouldn't have been walking that way. You knew better. You asked for it" - pretty much blame me, the woman. You know how these things normally go.)

Well, I was wrong, ladies and not-so-gentle-men. First, I missed my stop and had to walk an extra block, but that's besides the point. Just after I had crossed government was was walking up eugene, a car behind me at the intersection honked. Whatever. It was rush hour traffic. People honk their horns a lot during that time, right? Well, this wasn't a the-light's-green honk. About 30 seconds later a man in a silver convertible (the top was up) drove up behind me, slowed, and honked. He remained behind me for a second, then accelerated to get right next to me and said something to me. I couldn't make out what he said, but it wasn't "miss, could you give me directions to..." or "where's north boulevard?" or whatever. I know it couldn't have been any of those - or similar - mostly innocent questions because he stayed next to me for a while after he made his statement/question/proposition and then zoomed off after he realized I was ignoring him. Which I was.

I thought about throwing a rock at his car, but decided against it. I memorized his license plate number and fantasized about looking up his address and slashing all of his tires in the middle of the night, or spray painting in hot pink "womanizing pig bastard" on the hood of his car. I decided that I shouldn't get so mad about this. Yeah, I was harassed, but it could have been worse, and MAYBE he was just asking an innocent question or at the very least just said "hey" to get my attention. But then, a few minutes later the SAME EXACT THING happened, except with a different man, in a different vehicle.

I had just turned onto North blvd and was thinking that maybe my gender studies classes make me a paranoid ultra-feminist who finds every excuse to read mysogyny and sexism into all men's actions and WAS FUCKING HONKED AND YELLED AT BY ANOTHER MAN IN A RED TRUCK WHO HAD THE AUDACITY TO LOOK IN HIS REAR-VIEW MIRROR AS HE DROVE PAST ME TO SEE MY REACTION.

I flipped him off (and also memorized his license plate number for the same objectives listed above). I hope the family in the green mini-van and the couple in the silver car in on-coming traffic realize that I wasn't flipping them off, just trying to do something, anything to retaliate against a pig-bastard in a red truck.

I hope that one day, men will understand why this is wrong. Why it makes women angry, humiliated, objectified, demeaned, disrespected, etc. I'm pessimisstic about it, though.

An old male roommate of mine used to ogle other women while he was in the car with me (and I'm sure he did it when I wasn't in the car). It used to drive me crazy. I never could get him to understand why it's unacceptable. I'm not going to go into that right now. I don't have the energy, and I think it's unnecessary in this moment. But, I'm going to become a femi-terrorist if one more person harasses me on my way home.