Time and time again, myself and I’m sure many other women fall victim to unwanted commentary by men that we encounter by as we are simply going about our day. A majority of the time, our methods of defending ourselves come in the form of avoidance or a distinct portrayal of ignorance towards the situation in fear that we may put ourselves in danger. However, I think that it is finally time to create a public service announcement to the other half of the human race – To the men of the world.
Men, if you are reading this, I do not automatically assume that you are one of those individuals who makes such comments, but if you are, then please know this:
It is unkind, unwanted, and unnecessary harassment that is not only offensive, but also distracting and demeaning to the female race.
To give some context to this frustration, I live just one short bridge away from one of the most densely populated cities on Earth: New York City. New York City is a minefield full of potentially inappropriate comments and I am no stranger to them, but fortunately, my neighborhood is family-orientated and a typically quiet area.
The other day, as I was leaving my apartment to go for an evening run, I receive a comment from a middle-aged man who was walking by after I had barely surpassed two blocks from my doorstep. His words were, “Yea, you keep workin’ out girl”.
Though I appreciate the “words of encouragement”, the tone and inflection that registered with his voice was nothing short of an inappropriate remark.
Being that I was already in the midst of fleeing the situation to literally go for a run, I had a split-second thought regarding whether or not I should say something back.
But, I didn’t.
I provided zero acknowledgement to the man, went for my run, and was fine. Yet, it still irritated me even after the fact.
Why do men feel the need to make comments towards women based on their looks or just the general fact that they are a woman? Men, I am speaking directly to you with the following questions:
Is it for your own pure entertainment? Is it because you instinctively assume we are too shy or afraid to reply back? Or do you actually want to get a rise out of us to the point where we do reply back?
As women are becoming more empowered and uniting together – to defend each other, support each other, and make it known that we do need to conform to the attributed stereotypes that society has placed on us – we are gaining confidence in our ability to respond to these cat calls in a manner that is representative of our strength and poise.
Unfortunately, not every scenario is a wise decision to do so. We still have to consider our overall safety.
And this is why I’d like to urge you [men] to think before you speak. Think of all of the women in the world – the mothers, the grandmothers, the daughters, the granddaughters, the wives, the sisters, the aunts, the nieces. If you have any one of those, or even know any one of those, would you find it tolerable for them to have to experience harassment for the sole purpose that they are a woman?
In the end, we are all people who deserve kindness, decency, and respect, regardless of our gender. It is the least we can do for each other.