|by the fabulous KateorDie (click here for full comic)|
There’s a consent problem in this world. And no, I’m not jumping on the let’s-look-into-a-song-more-than-we-should-instead-of-using-that-energy-to-address-more-time-sensitive-feminist-issues-like-supporting-and-caring-for-actual-rape-survivors train. I’m talking about the thing that proceeds rape, or stalking, or sexual harassment, or invasion of privacy and self in other ways. I’m talking about the cat-call, and even more threatening, the stare down (sometimes accompanied with the even more scary moving-in-close).
There is something incredibly grating about getting cat-called, but more than that, it is the first step in a violent trifecta of behavior men (and some women) in general think is okay. That last part is what blows my mind. Men do it because they think it’s just fine to yell whatever crass and moronic shit they can at a woman in close proximity.
Twice today, I was cat-called while I was in my car. I was listening to a podcast featuring Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost. I had just gotten off work. It was Friday, and I was in my personal space. I was looking straight ahead at the stoplight, laughing at my radio, and minding my own fucking business because it’s my right to decompress after work. Unfortunately, some nongentleman beside me started yelling at me through my open window.
I ignored him. It was not my job to respond to this asshole, though many women often feel pressured to do so due to the acceptance of this bullshit in our country and our female guilt complex. Despite my efforts to deny him access to my life, he only got louder until he seriously screamed at me, jarring me out of Podcast Land, and straight into Bitchmode Land. I looked at him as unruffled as I could, saying nothing.
“Hey, anybody tell you you were cute?”
Insert my pissed off, know-it-all, Leslie Knope-angry face.
“Uh, yeah. They do. What the hell?”
“WELL YOU ARE! YOU ARE!”
Without exaggeration, he started laughing maniacally.
Luckily, my light had changed so I could leave, but I was instantly rage-crying. (DON’T ACT LIKE YOU DON’T KNOW!) Just as I was back in my happy place of podcast, it happened again closer to home. I ignored the unwanted suitor until he HONKED AT ME. I just shrugged and pulled off as the light (luckily) changed again.
What right did these strangers have to interject themselves into my life? What right did they have to use their “physical male dominance” to scare me into responding? None. The answer is none.
I’ve dealt with this most of my life, and learned early on to ignore it and keep a vigilant eye and ear open, but when does it become not my problem anymore? When does it become the problem of the violent, rude, sexually abusive men who do these unacceptable acts? The answer should be now, but it’s not. It never is.
Stop staring us down like you want to eat us. Stop yelling at us like we owe you something. Stop borderline running towards our cars when you ask us for a ride, but we ignore you, looking for an exit ASAP. Stop calling us bitches when we DO respond and tell you no and/or to fuck off. Stop using your self-percieved strength to threaten us. Stop “giving us compliments” we don’t want or need.*
We don’t owe you a single iota of anything. Keep it, all of it, to yourself.
*unfortunately, all true incidents i have encountered