Friday, May 19, 2006

Street Harassers Like Ass, not Sass

So I am experimenting with new and potentially dangerous ways of dealing with street harassers! Wheee!

There are only so many times a day, or an hour, that I can be told that I really know how to "shake that thing, mami" before I go ballistic (especially before 9 a.m.; come ON people, doesn't the testosterone settle down after your morning meat-flogging session?). You see, I'm afraid that if I keep all the fury bottled up that I'll give myself a stroke. Strokes, like the deliciously meaty rumps that street harassers loooove, run in my family. So lately, I've tried letting some steam off by telling my "fans" that I don't give a flying fig what they think of my ass. Actually, I'm far less polite than that, but this is a family blog. Ahem.

Today I learned that these charming chaps don't much like the back-talk. These dildoes think they're allowed to say anything at all to innocent women walking down the street, minding their own business, anything at all that makes us feel threatened and grossed out and powerless and preyed upon. And apparently, we're just supposed to shut up and take it. Today's harasser, for one, certainly seemed off-put when his target (me) gave him some sass.

I was accosted in midtown fresh off my morning train by some creep who gave me the hushed, lascivious "oooh, baby, baby, you're so gorgeous, oooh, walk like THAT, yeaaaahhhhh, oooh, I hope you have a good weekend, beautiful...." I LOST MY SHIT. I turned around and said "IDON'TWANTTOHEARITSHUTUPSHUTUP!" (If there was some way to indicate rising octaves for each syllable there, I would do it.) After I yelled at him, this asshole walked after me screaming at the top of his lungs for an entire half block calling me a cunt and a bitch and a whore. For a minute I thought I was going to have to throw down, and tried to draw on the muscle memory of those two weeks of Tae Kwon Do classes my parents made me take when I was 11. Ummmmm, how did that flying jump kick go again? Too bad I never even made it to yellow belt. But for whatever reason he cooled off after he ran out of an alphabet's worth of profanity and turned back around to go stalk someone else.

OK, maybe I provoked him. Maybe I gave him what I wanted and now he can go home and have rape/murder fantasies about me or someone else, or beat up his girlfriend. But dammit it felt good for a minute to open the anger valve just a tiny little bit and give this dipshit the what-for.

I think it would probably be more productive for me to find a less-insane way of dealing with these people, lest I find myself dragged into an alley and gang-raped. Tonight at Bluestockings, a "radical bookstore and activist center with...titles on queer and gender studies, feminism and black liberation," Laura Beth Nielsen, author of "Licence to Harass," will be giving a talk called "Nothing Sexy About Street Harassment!"

I kind of want to go, but feminist gatherings I've been to have all proven to be humorless, endless man-bashing extravaganzas and Laura Beth Nielsen also probably wouldn't condone my dream method for dealing with street harassers -- a swift kick in the nuts.

But at any rate, I really do like their description of the talk: "Whether you're commuting, lunching, partying, dancing, walking, chilling, drinking, or sunning, you have the right to feel safe, confident and sexy without being the object of some turd's fantasy."

Press material that includes the word "turd" is awesome.

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