Before I continue, I will admit the fact that I am writing about a minority, but just because a small amount of people behave a certain way it does not mean that they do not exist and should not be acknowledged. This is something that I’m extremely frustrated with. Picture the scene. I am walking home at about half eleven at night, it’s cold and I want to get home as soon as possible so I can have a cup of tea and relax after a long and tiring day. A man is walking in the opposite direction and I catch him looking at me like I am a piece of meat. He stops, turns around and starts walking alongside me.
“Hello beautiful, what’s your name?” I’m usually relatively polite but on this particular incident something inside me switched. I turned to the man and started shouting something along the lines of “GO AWAY I AM JUST TRYING TO GET SOMEWHERE WHY DO YOU THINK IT’S OKAY TO TALK TO ME?” and he slowly backed away.
Going back to when I was twelve years old, I have many memories of men thinking it’s perfectly ok to start talking to me when I am alone, asking my name, telling me I am beautiful, asking for my number. There is even a man in Birmingham who has tried to talk to me on three separate occasions over two years. Each time he claims to not remember talking to me. Each time he is shocked when I tell him I am a lesbian and not interested. Each time he tries to get me to give him my number in case I change my mind about not being attracted to men.
Obviously this does not just happen to me, the majority of my female friends - wherever they fall on the sexuality scale - have shared stories of this happening to them and I have seen it happen to many other women. One friend even told me that a guy once was kind enough to walk her to her front door while trying to convince her to give him her phone number. I hope you can smell the sarcasm in that last sentence.
I understand that not all men do this, but a number of men seem to be unable to leave a woman, or girl they find attractive, alone. Every time this has happened to me I have either said nothing, given fake names and information about myself or worse - played along and given them my number and spend weeks ignoring the calls. But that night, I think I had just had enough. And when I had finished shouting at the man and stormed off, I started to panic. I looked behind to see if he was still walking in my direction, fearing that he could easily start following me home. He wasn’t - thankfully, but I should not have started to worry that this could have happened. I should not have been stopped from going to where I was heading just because some man thought I was attractive. No woman should. And interestingly enough, it mostly happens when I am alone.
I was so annoyed about this that I told a friend what I had done and she asked me if I had reacted the same if it was a woman. I think if myself and women across the world had been harassed by other women for generations because they thought we owed them something purely because they thought we were attractive, then I would have snapped just the same. But women do not do this to women. I see many beautiful women every day yet I do not feel the need to disrupt their day by giving them unwanted advances. So why do men do it to women?
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