As a college athlete I spent a great deal of my time in work-out gear, which could constitute anything from spandex shorts and tight tanks to baggy sweats and hoodies. These outfits were function, not fashion, they allowed me to move, to be warm, to preform. But thorough out my 4 years at an urban university, and despite what I perceived as purely functional attire, I was harassed on multiple occasions. Most incidences I let roll off my back, telling myself that these hurtful perceptions were unfounded and that my body was what I made of it, a tool, and a finely tuned athletic instrument.
It wasn’t until fall semester of my senior year while waiting on a trolley platform in the middle of a busy intersection that I was truly shaken by an event. It was chilly and I was dressed in baggy men’s sweats, headed home after a long day full of classes and at least 2 workouts, when I felt that heavy and hostile feeling of being watched. I looked around to find a man staring me down from inside his sedan while waiting for the light to change. It took me a moment to realize what was happening, but when I did I instantly felt a simultaneous rush of disgust and anger flood me. He was masturbating, staring me down, and I soon realized as he rolled his car forward, following as I walked away on the platform. He was trying to get me to watch. The light changed and he drove off before anything more could happen but it left my skin crawling.
I’ve been making art about this and other similar situations ever since.
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Share your street harassment story today and help raise awareness about the problem.Share on Facebook