Article on Street Harassment Angers Twitter
A woman's directive to other women to stop lying to men to avoid getting hit on is met with anger online.
Generic image (Thinkstock)
(The Root) -- A very well-meaning article was posted on xoJane.com about how women should react when a hopeful suitor gives them unwanted attention
on the street. For many women the quickest, most effective way to get
out an uncomfortable situation is to say that they're already in a
relationship, whether they are or not.
Alecia Lynn Eberhardt, author of the article, cautions
against this tactic, saying that "the idea that a woman should only be
left alone if she is 'taken' or 'spoken for' ... completely removes the
level of respect that should be expected toward that woman." The
declaration of another man's claim over a woman should not, she argues,
be the thing that inspires a pest to bug off.
Instead, she says, women should be honest with their
pursuers, saying only, "I'm not interested" in hopes that, one day, men
will stop respecting another man's "ownership" of a woman more than he
respects that woman's wish to be left alone. This is a very romantic,
ideal solution to a not ideal problem.
What the author doesn't seem to understand is how quickly
unsolicited interactions can turn hostile. Not every approach happens
with a man trying to buy a woman a drink or pay her a compliment at a
bar. Women are often approached on the street by aggressive men who are
far less than polite when turned down; a woman being verbally or
physically assaulted for turning down a man is not unheard of. Why
wouldn't someone say whatever she needed to say to escape the potential
danger of such a situation?
Eberhardt also incorrectly assumes that "I have a
boyfriend" will stop a man who has already decided not to take no for an
answer. It won't. Too often, the way you respond to a man's approach
only helps him decide how to proceed, not if he'll do so.
Women do what they have to do to ensure that they get out
of threatening situations, and they should not be shamed or blamed for
doing so. (The author says that she refuses to tell a man she's in a
relationship in order to be left alone so that she knows that she "gave
[herself] all the respect [she] deserves" -- as if women who choose to
do otherwise lack self-respect.) A bar or a street, however, isn't
exactly an ideal place to engage a potentially hostile pursuer in a
conversation about women's autonomy. The only goal: Stay safe.
The only article that should be written about how to end or curtail
street harassment is one aimed at men, telling them to learn to take no
for an answer. Expecting women to change in order to change the
inappropriate behavior of men is unfair, illogical and futile. Many
women on Twitter spoke out, some sharing harrowing examples of how
talking back -- no matter what they did or didn't say -- didn't work.
you can read the original article here
Edited by tatee - Sep 11 2013 at 6:46am