This is part of the series “Street Respect. “Street respect” is the term for respectful, polite, and consensual interactions that happen between strangers in public spaces. It’s the opposite of “street harassment.” Share your street respect story and show the kind of interactions you’d like to have in public in place of street harassment.
I was walking back to my dorm after my morning class when a guy tapped me on the shoulder. My earphones were in so I didn’t hear him approach me. Apparently he was trying to catch up with me for awhile. My immediate thought was “ugh, hear we go again.”
He proceeded to tell me that I looked beautiful and that he hoped I’d have a nice day. I waited a beat and then realized…that was it. He didn’t ask for my name, number or relationship status. But if he had asked, I probably would’ve responded.
Those simple words made me feel so confident. I spent the rest of the day playing his comment over and over in my head.
It brought things into perspective for me: yes, there are males who go out of there way to degrade a female but there are males who go out there way to build females up.
- Alex S.
Location: N.C. Central University (Durham, NC)
[Editor's note: While this blog contributor felt respected by this interaction and that is great, many women would not because it entailed an unsolicited evaluation of her appearance by a stranger and that is something men generally don't have to deal with. Since not everyone would feel respected by this interaction, if you're unsure how to interact with someone on the street, I suggest making a gender-neutral comment. If you want to pay someone a compliment about how they look, to be safe, say it to someone you know or say it after you've been talking to someone for a few minutes.]Share on Facebook