Recently, while browsing through my Twitter timeline, I came across a raw, heartfelt and insightful thread from @PiaGlenn that very plainly described everything wrong with street harassment, while simultaneously debunking the BS ideology that approaching women in the street leads mostly to fun and enjoyable interactions.
Hey fam, I’ve just had a #YouOKSis moment that I’m choosing to share
(Fair warning: it’s not pleasant)
— @PiaGlenn (@PiaGlenn) March 18, 2017
As a man, reading that sent me through a world of emotions. Shame, disgust, anger, rage and sadness all coursed through my soul. After the spectrum of emotions came a sense of exhaustion. Although I didn’t know anything about this woman or her followers, I could already guess what her mentions looked like, consisting of dudes talkin’ about, “So just because you had one bad experience…,””Not all men…,” and “If we don’t harass y’all in the street, how the HELL we supposed to meet?!”
I didn’t even bother to read the comments on her viral post and I was already tired of the excuses men would use to attempt to justify our horrific, abusive behavior because I’ve heard it all before.
I have literally lost count of the amount of times I’ve heard dudes attempt to elucidate the necessity of bothering random women “on road.” But there’s a point that Pia touched on that is very similar to the retort I’ve been hitting these dudes with for the past decade: we don’t give a DAMN about maintaining the integrity of informal, random encounters that can potentially lead to long-lasting relationships, engagements, marriages and children.
You want to say whatever you want to whoever you want and you’re *entitled* to a positive response, aren’t you, big fella?
— @PiaGlenn (@PiaGlenn) March 18, 2017
If the pro-street-harassment crowd of men were so damn interested in meeting women, we would spend far less time doing stupid sh*t like whispering, “Pssst, yo blue dress, lemme holla at you” which has an inherently low success rate. We would do things more apt to meeting women like actually attending events that women go to where many are either trying to meet men, or are at least open to the idea of being approached by a man.
Personally, I’ve been writing about sex and relationships for 7 years, I’ve been a frequent guest of many different relationship panel events for 6 years and I’ve been throwing my own events (relationship conversation parties, as well as grown games nights) for the past 5 years. Whenever I was booked to speak at events, the crowd would be full of women interested in meeting men. Whenever I threw my own events, the crowd would be damn near full of women looking for good dudes. It got to the point where I had to organize a local thinktank just to find ways to convince men to come out and meet these groups of single, successful, gorgeous women.
Whenever I brought that point up to men, telling them that it’s absolutely insane that they’re defending street harassment at a time when women are actually open to being approached, they would tell me about how unapproachable women are at events and how desperate they are. The problems persist everywhere from Oakland to New York to Toronto. Whether it’s speed dating, a games night, dance workout class, etc., women came out in droves and dudes were almost nowhere to be found – until the event let out.
Frowsy dudes would swarm on the women trying to walk back to their cars. These days, the only place men far outnumber women in attendance is dank, musty, nightclubs.
I’ve never understood the point of harassing women in the street, honking at women who pass by, or trying to chat women up in the passenger side of my best friend’s ride. It all seems pointless and embarrassing to me. That’s not to say that I haven’t seen it work, because anyone who has ever been to a Caribana or the Labor Day parade has seen guys stand in the middle of the road and shoot successful long-range shots and hit nothing but net. But when the majority of our sisters are saying that street harassment is nothing more than a scary annoyance, it’s time for us men to shut the hell up and listen.