April 9, 2008

being female in public

Maybe a month ago I was walking downtown in the early evening, with traffic bunched up. There was a woman ahead of me wearing heels and a skirt, and a guy in a car leaned out the rear window and, clearly drunk, started talking to her, "You know, you're very sexy right now."

I couldn't help it. I shouted, "You're an asshole!" The woman, her friend, the Gardener, and I all cracked up.

A couple days later I told a friend - another teacher, about my age - about that incident, and he said, "What if that was the nicest thing she'd heard all day?"

I hate this. I hate it when people (well, men) act like it's totally cool to say things to women on the street, as long as the comments are nominally complimentary. (Similarly, last night some guy said, "Nice belly," to me, and acted offended when I flipped him off. "I just said nice belly.") It's not hard to hear something nicer than "You're very sexy right now" from a drunken stranger, because that's not a nice thing to say; in the context, it's harassing and possibly threatening. It's a claim laid to her body, to judge and appraise it, and "Here's your change" would be a nicer comment.

1 comment:

common sense said...

I like your feminist posts. We had this conversation with a friend the other day, how we grow up learning with how to deal with incidents like that. some of use think is empowering and fluttering some others not. anyway is something that is imposed to us and we have to deal with it making it even part of us becoming women.