Hey Baby, What's Your Number?

BlogHer Original Post

I imagine that some women like it when random men on the street hoot and holler at them or look them up and down while making kissy noises.  I do not.  At its worse, it scares me, and at its best it skeeves me out.  What makes these men think it's OK to sexually objectify me in public?  Are some men actually raised in barns?  By cavepeople?

Not surprisingly, NeneKalu agrees with me on Modestly Yours, framing it in terms of male modesty:

Some women might be flattered by this type of reaction- maybe as an affirmation that they really are attractive- but I find it to be obnoxious, unwanted, and really immodest and ungentlemanly on the guys’ part. When I’m walking on the street, going to work or to lunch or even to Mass, I’d rather not be bothered by such comments. Instead of being a compliment, it’s more like an insult as if the guys don’t know how to approach a woman properly. I refuse to hearken back to the “good ol’ days� when guys were chivalrous and respectful because in every age, you can find incidences of disrespectful behavior toward women. But, is it too much to ask for these guys to be more modest in their comments toward women?

Her post was picked up by Booker Rising, a "news site for black moderates and black conservatives."  I would expect this audience to be on her side, but looking at the comments, I guess not so much.  Brotherbrown offers up this absurd testiment to his social ineptitude:

You know what? I pretty much do not compliment women, unless I know them very well. You never know who will think you are treating them like a piece of meat.

And Karl offers this:

Also I notice not mentioned is the provocative way many women dress, deliberately calling attention to themselves. You can't have it both ways. You can't wear short skirts or low cut blouses then complain about the types of attention you are getting. Modest dress sends a signal to men, even the a-holes. Immodest dress sends another type of signal.

Um, Karl?  She writes for a blog called MODESTLY YOURS.  I'm willing to bet - a lot - that Nene isn't going out in hoochie shorts and a low-cut tank top.  And I can personally attest that what you wear has nothing to do with whether or not you experience this behavior.

Have you heard of dontdatehimgirl.comThe Happy Feminist reports:

There is an article in this week's People Magazine about a website called don'tdatehimgirl.com.  Apparently, it is a forum where women can publicly post information about ex-boyfriends who have behaved badly towards them.  The women name names and the information is available to anyone in the world who happens upon the site.  A Philadelphia attorney named Todd Hollis is suing because he was described on the site as a slob and as an STD-ridden player and cheater. The owner of the site claims that the 1996 Communications Decency Act exempts webmasters from responsibility for displaying others' comments.

I admit to having been tempted to out my cheating ex on this site and save other women from his horror, but resisted the urge for all the concerns that The Happy Feminist raises on her site, among other reasons.  But what's this?  The Happy Feminist points to a supersnarkfabulous site:  Holla Back NYC.

Holla Back NYC empowers New Yorkers to Holla Back at street harassers. 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. So stop walkin' on and Holla Back: Send us pics of street harassers!

They have a great FAQ, including a definition of street harassment:

Street harassment is a form of sexual harassment that takes place in public spaces. At its core is a power dynamic that
constantly reminds historically subordinated groups (women and LGBTQ folks, for example) of their vulnerability to assault in public spaces.
Further, it reinforces the ubiquitous sexual objectification of these groups in everyday life.

Totally not cool enough to have started a whole kick-ass website, but I had the same idea back in June of 2005:

So here's my newest idea.  I was thinking about having a camera with me when I walk around town, and snapping pics of the dicks who make kissy noises, obscene gestures and digusting sexual comments to me
while I'm simply trying to get from point a to point b.  Spin around and really get into their face.  You want to make me feel uncomfortable?  How about a flashing camera in the face, jackass?

I could call the photo essay "men who were raised in a barn," or "men with small dicks," or "men who deserve my knee in their groin and my fist in their face."

I think it's a primal urge rising up in our subconsciousness now that we all carry cameras and so many of us are harnessing the power of the Internet. It's empowering to imagine turning around and snapping a pic of some uncouth jerk and turning the tables.  I haven't had the guts to do it (and to be honest, sometimes I feel sorry for those guys, 'cause they're such losers), but now I'm thinking:  Holla Back LA.  We are so in need!

Contributing editor Liz Rizzo also blogs at Everyday Goddess and the SexySmart Blog.

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