First of all, I would like to apologize for not speaking up more on this blog. Like the rest of you, I'm sure, I have been incredibly busy and put "blogging" on the back burner. It doesn't mean that I haven't been thinking about the issues. In fact, because I haven't had a place to channel my thoughts, I think that they've been building up...
Now for the rant on the disrespectful behavior of a couple men that I've encountered in the past week.
So I was at the Hennepin County Government Center last week to try to contest a ticket (long story short, I was supposed to have known not to park somewhere because they had put up temporary "no parking signs"--disregard the fact that they were invisible signs! Seriously! Not a single sign in sight! But that is besides the fact.) and I was passing this man who had just stepped on the escalator. As he stepped on, I could tell that he was looking at me--he had jerked his head suddenly to watch me walk by--and I did my best to ignore him. But it was as he continued to travel up the escalator, and I continued to walk away, I could hear him. It was literally like he was having sex with me not only with his eyes, but with his voice.
"Ooooo yeah," he muttered rather loudly. "That's real nice." And he continued to breath in sharply, hissing softly while repeating these pornographic words. "Ooooo, yeah. I want some of that." Softly, mind you, but still loudly enough that I could hear him from many feet away. As I realized that what he was saying and doing was about me, I walked faster and faster until I couldn't hear him any more. I was scared.
I've been cat-called before--I mean, in our culture it's hard not to be cat-called at least one time in your life. But this felt different. I am confident that though I did end up hearing what this man was saying about me, I was not meant to. The words that I heard were his words--meant only for him. Private words. At least with a cat-call, it is a form of communication. A man whistles loudly, says, "Hey, hot stuff!" And she turns and smiles and tosses her hair as she prances down the sidewalk. In reality, cat-calling makes me incredibly grumpy and I hate it, but at least the message is "Hey, I think you're hot, and I wanted to let you know!" And the woman has a chance to respond. With this man, I had no chance to respond. My response was not his goal. His goal was to disrespect me. See me as purely a sex object with no say in the matter. Absolutely disgusting!
I wrote sex object in the paragraph above and laughed aloud, and had you seen my outfit that day, you would have laughed as well. I hadn't showered, I was wearing a sweatshirt and a jacket. I was by no means "sexy." But if wearing a sweatshirt and jeans still caused this disrespectful speech, I can't even imagine what would have happened if I had been wearing something less "baggy and boyish." Because I truly believe that if you can have such awful and uninhibited speech in a public space, I don't even want to know what you would do to me in private.
Anyway, the other man was not nearly as creepy, but he definitely ogled this girl who was walking down the street. She WAS wearing a tight dress that may have been a bit shorter, but this man seriously turned his head sideways to look at her ass as she walked by. It made me immediately laugh out loud as I saw this, but then I wanted to vomit. I know that people get checked out all of the time. I check people out, too. But I feel like there is a respectful and disrespectful way.
Ok, I guess that is done for my actual ranting. Posted below is an additional article that one of my friends found. Though there is not a direct correlation between my rant and this article, I think that you may find a few shared themes.