I’m angry. I really am. Today was not a good day.
1) First, there was some over-the-top PDA going on during my meeting at work, which is not actually anger-provoking, but it was dramatic and noticeable enough to annoy me. I mean, we’re in a professional environment, here. Come on.
2) Next, I witnessed a guy full on grab a girl’s ass in the hallway on my way home from campus. In the hallway. On my school campus. This just added to my already irritated mood.
3) And now, I’m receiving a lengthy text message from a guy who I have told repeatedly to leave me alone but who continues to give me unsolicited attention, after OVER a year of rejecting his advances and after a full YEAR of completely ignoring him and blocking him on all social media sites. And his text has the nerve to start with, “Let’s call it water under the bridge and start over.”
So I’m angry.
I’ve gone over in my head, countless times, about how to address these kinds of things. These “little” harassments we girls (and some guys, I’m sure) experience on a daily basis. I mean, they don’t lead to anything — these aren’t sex criminals or rapists we’re dealing with — but are they acceptable? What message are we sending by ignoring them? Should we just be “super chill” and laugh them off? It seems harmless, right? Maybe, maybe not. I just know that I AM upset. So now what?
Figuring out how to handle day-to-day harassments has been an ongoing internal monologue that I’ve been having for some time now. But every time I want to post a rant on Tumblr, or an update on Facebook, or a charged Tweet, I stop myself. And only today did I ask myself the question, “Why?” Why am I stopping myself from posting these opinions? The only answer I could come up with was, “Because I don’t want people to think I’m uptight. Or overly sensitive. Or a raging, bra-burning, picket-sign-wielding feminist.”
Is that a good reason? Well, I don’t know. To find out, I compared that reason with reasons why I SHOULD post it. And here’s what I came up with…
Reasons to be vocal about harassment:
1) To show other girls who are having the same self-doubts that it is OKAY to feel angry and indignant about these “little” harassments. It’s justifiable to feel the way you feel after someone leans their head out of their car window and shouts an obscene description of your rear anatomy at you.
2) To show other girls that it doesn’t make you a “raging feminist”. The more women we have vocalizing about these things, the less radical it will seem. I am positive that more women are upset by these events than are openly (or even inwardly) admitting to it. (Sidenote: there’s nothing taboo or embarrassing about being a feminist. It means different things to different people, anyway, with the bottom line being gender equity.)
3) To show the offenders that it is NOT okay. That they cannot just drive off, or walk away, or send you text messages calling it WATER UNDER THE FREAKING BRIDGE like it’s nothing. You may think it’s common sense, but it’s not. Sometimes they need to hear it. Be direct; don’t let them think you’re kidding. If they are truly just horrible, they will call you uptight, or overly-sensitive, or a raging feminist. But there is always a chance they just didn’t understand that what they were doing was wrong, and this is how you can let them know.
So here I am: writing this post about why I should write this post. And now that we’re at the end of it, I think it’s pretty clear I made the right decision.