Holler Back, Girl.

7 Aug

I recently ran across the HOLLABACK SF site. This one is specifically for the San Fran/Bay Area, but there are links to other HOLLABACKs, which can be found for most other major cities. It’s a blog where people (mostly women) post their stories of street and transportation harassment. Some even post pictures (taken with a cell phone, or handy digital camera) of their attacker.

I have sort of come to accept the fact that I will be harassed on the street, groped in the mall, stared at on the bus, followed through a parking lot, stocked down a street. Luckily, for me, it has never really gone beyond that … I always try to stay safe in these situations … never walk alone at night, walk along well-lit streets, carry my cell phone in my hand, look tough. I don’t know why I have accepted this … it’s kind of out of my nature to fall behind someone who I clearly know is an idiot.

That said, I am terrified of street harassement. It’s scary, no matter what time of day, what neighborhood or how many people you are with … it’s so hard to predict what will happen next, if the person is just an asshole or if he (I have never been harrassed by a woman) is actually dangerous.

It also really pisses me off. It makes me feel like trash after someone grabs my ass, or says “Slow down Mommy, you movin’ too fast,” calls my friends and I “white bitches” outside of the 7-11, or follows me to my car in a parking lot while slurring insults. I won’t really accept the fact that I just need to “chill out” about this … it sucks.

And – I cannot just brush it off. Unfortunately, I have never been able to just let something like that slide … I take it and I think about it. Think about how I present myself, how people preceive me, what I could do to blend in more, disappear. What really sucks is that,  if I want to walk home from the bus stop wearing big sunglasses … I should be able to, without someone commenting on my race, class, ethnicity, gender, weight, hair color, body-type, breast size, or style. I mean, shit, people (dudes) just have no idea how demeaning, hurtful, and time-consuming their words can be.

I am convinced that the number one reason dudes do this is because they can. I’m not saying that you (or I) neccessarily let them, but just the way in which gender has created a clear divide in society, where men are on top and women are on the bottom. This, along with many other factors (males being the majority in political leadership, educational leadership, church leadership, coorporate leadership, males receiving higher wages for the same work, etc, etc…) just prooves that patriarchy (especially white patriarchy) is still alive and well.

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One Response to “Holler Back, Girl.”

  1. emily p-s August 9, 2007 at 2:46 pm #

    holler. sometimes i just can’t understand why being a woman is so scary. i wonder if you and linz and i had walked into 7-11 that night with a dude with us if anyone would’ve been yelling at us. men can’t understand how hard it is to be a woman, or how easily they can deminish our feeling of safety or worth.

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