I was 35 and walking through our downtown with my husband. Some douche leaned out of a car driving by and aggressively yelled: “HOT CHICK!” at me. At us. I was holding my husband’s hand. I was wearing a maxi dress and just about as covered up as if I’d been wearing a burkha.
I was 26, had just started a new job. A customer came in, looked at me, and said how I had inspired him to go home and f*ck his wife for the rest of the day. My new coworker came out of his office and kicked the guy out. My boss called to apologize to me. That guy was told to never come back. He later burned to death in a traffic accident, I heard.
I was 16 and getting gas. Waiting patiently in line to pay my $5. An old man, 70 plus years old- came up very close behind me and said: “Mmm, mmm… I’d f*ck you so hard and so would my grandson.” I tried to redirect the conversation- because my coping strategies were… nonexistent at that point, I guess. Because I didn’t want to make a scene, maybe? Because I didn’t know what to do? Because… I don’t even know. Because I was only 16. And he was 70.
I was 14 and working Wurstfest (a knockoff Octoberfest. But about sausage? I don’t know) and a 30+ year old man and a woman saying she was his sister (DOUBTFUL) kept coming back to my line. He wanted to date me. Offered to buy me a car. the “sister” said: “And he could do it- he’s a car dealer!” I was horrified. I said I was 14! He said it didn’t matter. My Aunt Kathy stepped in, walked out of the booth to confront him, and he didn’t come back. I love her for it. I wonder if I’ve ever thanked her?
I was 11 and my parents had another couple over, and were drinking beer in the kitchen. I walked in to get something out of the fridge and their friend, the husband, made some gesture behind me as I bent over to get a drink from the bottom shelf. All I know is he walked up close behind me- not sure what he did, but I can guess. I never asked my parents what happened. They never spoke of it. I never saw that couple again.
My oldest just had a boy say some very aggressively creepy things to her- about how he wanted to throw her on a bed. What he wanted to do to her and her friend. She’s 10. They told a teacher. They got him in trouble. But… but what to say? That feeling you have, my child- about how the world now feels sometimes like a randomly awful place- is just the stone cold truth and other peoples’ objectification of you will be guaranteed to continue through absolutely no fault of your own? You will have to face it, and be strong enough to know how to call it out… but all that strength you will have to muster will be effective only in punishing bad behavior… not preventing it for you. Ever.
So, let me just say this. “Locker room banter” is how you show off to other dudes. So if you “show off” by saying aggressive and predatory things about women… it means you think those things would impress- that’s the whole point of it, right? And it makes you an asshole. It makes you every single one of those assholes from my past- and every one of the assholes from every other female’s past. And all the assholes all three of my daughters will run across in their futures. So please. Can we not elect those assholes?! Please.
Also- Jesus Christ, Melania, wearing a pink, pussy bow pantsuit? (seriously… that is what that style is called.) Message, much? I’d rather you slowly start poisoning his coffee… but it’s a start.
Also, Also- if you EVER think any of this is the “fault” of the women getting harassed or that she somehow created some invitation for this into her life… you are just as big of an asshole as the idiot saying inappropriate stuff.
Also, Also, Also- if you have to equate that behavior to someone you know: “Wow, I wouldn’t want someone treating my mom/sister/daughter like that” then you also fail in the realization that women are human beings and their treatment shouldn’t have to be correlated to someone you know for it to be wrong. #youmightbeanassholeif…