Spring Is No Excuse For Street Harassment

Just read a great article on street harassment and the lies we are taught concerning men, women and sex.

I posted some of the best quotes below to give you all a taste of what Hugo Schwyzer says – however, I would recommend reading the full article, then emailing all your friends and tell them about it.

Yeah, it’s that good.

We have to stop this myth and start treating everyone (women and men) with respect for they – we – are all made in the image of God.

“The problem isn’t warm weather. The problem isn’t women wearing miniskirts or sleeveless tops; the problem isn’t cleavage or exposed calves. The problem is our collective belief system about the impact that women’s bodies have on heterosexual men. Men can’t help but stare, we’re told: particularly after a long winter, the longing to ogle a woman’s semi-exposed legs, butt, or breasts is overwhelming. And if they stare too long, or whistle, or make crude remarks, they are only partly at fault. ‘She’s looking for trouble, dressed like that’, we hear. Or: ‘She knows the effect she’s having. It’s what she wants.’”

“It’s a huge mistake to blame women’s revealing clothing –- or women’s bodies — for public sexual harassment. The problem is a tenacious and ugly myth about male sexuality, one that tells us that average men simply can’t be expected to restrain their eyes, their words, or even their actions when faced with the reality of a woman’s bare skin. Because of that belief in male weakness, we outsource their missing self-control to women. And so this myth pushes women to police each other, slut-shaming or mocking those girls who are showing ‘too much’.

We won’t stop the problem of street harassment by asking women to cover up. As long as we cling to the lie that it is women’s bodies that are the problem, it doesn’t matter whether women wear burqas or bikinis in public –- we’ll hold them accountable for what men to say them regardless of how much skin they’re showing. There’s only one solution, and that’s to start believing that all men (not just a few decent ones) have the power to control what they say and how they act.”

“Men know –- believe me, they know –- that their arousal isn’t carte blanche to do as they please. By saying ‘she was asking for it’, harassers shift responsibility away from themselves while avoiding an even more obvious lie about their own sexuality.”

“The truth is that street harassment isn’t about sex. It’s about power. It’s about taking pleasure in degrading another human being. Most harassers know damn well that shouting sexual slurs is a lousy seduction strategy. But whether they harass alone or in groups, most men who openly stare, yell, whistle (or worse) aren’t interested in getting laid, though they might happily jump at the chance if it were miraculously given. What they want is the thrilling reminder of their own masculine power –- a power they feel more permission to use when the weather is warm and women seem to be wearing fewer clothes.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.