I’ve been street harassed more times than I could possibly count or recall. Having said that, I need to be very clear about two thing: First, in society, it’s assumed that being “beautiful, sexy, pretty, hot, etc.” is a blessing and should be received with open arms. And two, it’s no hidden secret that individuals with certain “desired characteristics” tend to have more opportunities in social and economic settings. Consequently, it’s widely thought that the first sentiment and the second automatically mean an individual is comfortable with this privilege.
Yes, I’m calling it a privilege because it’s true- aesthetically pleasing people have more given to them. But it’s also true that what is given is NOT always wanted. I have been told on numerous occasions I am so beautiful, that to be shy or awkward when given attention is ludicrous. Honestly, people truly believe that my looks should instill in me a sense of pride and accomplishment. When in reality, I am self-conscious on so many levels because I know no matter what I wear, which type of style I pick for that day, I will be given unwanted attention. Very unwanted attention.
I can honestly say I will be street harassed at least once every week. Generally it happens on the way to and from work, when going to the gym, out buying groceries, going to a sporting event, and getting into my car after dinner. In case you missed it… IT HAPPENS EVERYWHERE!
For example: just last week I was at Walmart and waiting in the self-checkout line. I only had one item to buy and the man ahead of me had around twenty or so items. When he glanced back at me, saw that I had the one, he told me to go ahead because he would be a while. I said, “thank you” and smiled at his generosity. Little did I know that I was actually being asked to go ahead of him because, in his words, “I had a nice ass and was a fine piece of meat.” I stood there for 30 second while he moaned and whistled under his breathe and said that over and over again. For 30 second I was sexually harassed as I rushed through to get out of the store. I sprinted for my car and got in just in time to breathe.
Can you imagine feeling that way on a regular basis? That’s not a compliment. That’s my personal hell.
Location: Oklahoma City, OKShare on Facebook