What can we do about street harassment?

Maybe the last thing the world needs right now is another rant about street harassment, but seriously, how many complaints is it going to take for these men to realize that it’s degrading, disgusting, and doesn’t work if your goal is to pick up a woman (at least, I hope it doesn’t work)!

How many up-and-down looks, lip licks, whistles, and “hey-baby”s will my sisters and I continue to endure? I got comments on my dress yesterday three times in a matter of two blocks. Even these seemingly benign “compliments” are frustrating and, even, confusing. Sure, maybe the compliment is aimed more toward the flowery print than to the short(ish) length of the skirt (I highly doubt it), but is the guy walking down the block behind me going to get a compliment on his shirt? I can hardly receive genuine salutations on the street because my guard is up, prepared to deflect inappropriate comments.

Even if the street calls were all offerings of, I don’t know, genuine admiration, why do men get to enjoy me with my consent? Are women simply something pretty to look at? Something to win over?

Y’know, feminism is not just for women. Feminism is a response to the denial of feminine qualities by and in both men and women. Feminism isn’t about making women as strong as men (tell that to Hillary Clinton). It’s also not about rejecting or putting down men. Feminism is about giving everyone permission to nurture their feminine qualities.

I grew up thinking that having emotions, especially of the sad variety, made me weak. I was logical and assertive (bordering on aggressive) and rarely cried. Young men are given this message even more strongly. Don’t cry, don’t show weakness, don’t be a pussy, bitch, sissy, etc. (all names associated with the feminine, of course). What happens to all of these undealt-with emotions that men experience? Do suicide statistics tell us anything? According to the Center for Disease Control, male deaths represent 79% of all US suicides. We have a problem here, folks.

What is the relationship between denial of emotions and choosing cooperation over competition? What I mean is, if people choose to deny emotions, can they be as empathetic? In terms of biological evolution, this can lead to choosing competition over cooperation because you’re not paying attention to how the other person or species is feeling. Developing awareness of our emotions can lead to greater empathy which can lead to a desire to work together instead of compete against each other.

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