"Tonight after a particularly grueling shift at the restaurant I serve at, a man outside of Barefax with his friends stared at me as I was walking towards him, and asked in a very creepy manner, "how you doin'" (I'm sure you all know the tone of that line coming out of a creepy man's mouth). After ignoring him and walking past him, I heard the unmistakable sound of spit and heard something hit my backpack. I turned around in time to see his friends laughing, and then jumped in a cab and headed home. Thank you for that, gross Barefax man."
iHollaback Ottawa: That is beyond disgusting. We're so sorry such douchebags exist.
For all you nay-sayers out there who think that street harassment is a compliment and a nuisance at best, this one's for you.
Today we have a wonderful guest post from Feminist Ninja born from a desire to educate men about how to navigate physical space in a patriarchal world. Brilliant stuff!
If you're a guy who wants to be as anti-oppressive as possible, follow these rules as closely as possible.
(These rules are also fab because they are not cisgendered specific. If you present as men and are read as male, you benefit from patriarchy in many ways and should keep this little voice in mind when being out and about in the world).
Please do not:
Holler, cat call, or whistle at me. (It just makes you look really uncreative and like an ass.)
Howl like an animal at me. (I am a human animal, but I don’t appreciate simulated wolf-like mating calls.)
Take up more than one seat on the bus because you have sprawled your arms and legs. (I think most of you are capable of sitting with your legs together and your arms by your sides — you’re probably not.)
Stand with several other men in the middle of a crowded hallway or sidewalk and expect Womyn to move around you. (We have been moving around you for centuries, so try something new and move out of the way for us. Also, this is just a little something called “etiquette” regardless of your gender identity.)
Look anywhere on my body except at my eyes unless I expressly invite you to do so. And if you look at my eyes and I don’t look interested - STOP looking. (Just because I might look like someone you’d be interested in, does not mean that I am automatically interested in you. I do not exist for your pleasure.)
Call me “sweetheart”, “honey”, “love”, “darling” or any other term of endearment if I do not know you and I have not asked you to do this. (You would likely not do this to your other dude friends, so do not do it to me.)
Interrupt me or any other Womyn when she speaks. (You take up enough space, and it’s likely that you do not understand the impact you have when you take up air space with your words — otherwise you wouldn’t do it.)
Stand too close to me on the bus, in the grocery store or anywhere really. (If I like the way you smell, I might consider moving closer to you, but that’s my choice.)
Talk about Womyn in a way that is anything but absolutely worshipping. Especially do not talk about a Womyn, or make a gesture to a Womyn walking by, and then look at me for some sort of acknowledgment of your actions. (Womyn are magnificent, if you don’t think so something is wrong with you. I will not validate you treating other Womyn like objects.)
Try to compliment me on how I look in inappropriate spaces or at inappropriate times. (If I do not know you and you do not know me, then don’t assume that I will enjoy having you make comments about my body.)
Get angry or annoyed if I do not respond warmly to your compliments. (If you do, you are demonstrating that you have no respect for my boundaries and are therefore the asshole I thought you were to begin with.) Make jokes about violence against Womyn. (Jokes about VAW is a form of violence.)
Walk too closely behind me, especially at night. (It is a myth that most Womyn are assaulted by strangers in dark places at night, but it happens. Womyn have every right to be aware of, and concerned for, their safety. If you don’t understand and respect this, you don’t respect me.)
Tell me that I do not experience oppression as a Womyn. (As a man, you will never have these experiences, and that is exactly the point.)
Scratch your balls and / or your dick. (It looks gross and I don’t scratch my vag around you. It doesn’t make you more manly. It looks like you have no manners.)
Hollaback! Ottawa here. We unfortunately have to report our own Hollaback!
I ran out the door without breakfast this morning and by 10:30am, the state of my stomach was getting critical. I headed to the nearest McDonald's because I thought a McMuffin would cure my ills. I headed to the McDonald's at the corner of Bank and Queen (near Sparks street) and all was fine and well until I went to pick up my order and another customer came up to the counter to whisper to the cashier that someone was openly masturbating in the washroom.
Now I was lucky enough not to have to witness this or even see the guy in question, but how messed up of a world do we live in when we set the bar that low for ourselves?
"Wow, you got real lucky that time, girl. Got to get a cheap breakfast without having to see someone's genitals. Must be lucky Friday!"
I burst out of there fairly quickly after that before the thought of someone's public masturbation soured my already disgusting breakfast, so I wasn't able to capture an image.
"So I don't know if this really constitutes street harassment but I thought I'd send it anyway.
I was at the Loblaws at South Keys back in December doing some holiday shopping. I was in line and overheard this really offensive conversation between the cashier and a couple male customers. The cashier was going off to the men (who appeared to be strangers and not his friends) about how another customer (who was a man) had winked at him. He went on and on about how disgusting this was, which was a red flag for me. Thankfully the men who were in line with me sort of called the cashier on it, telling him that it was better for customers to be complimentary than outright rude, but the cashier maintained that a man hitting on him is disgusting.
I suppose he has a right to not want to be flirted with at work; I certainly validate that. But he was so rude and insistant that it was because it was a MAN flirting with another MAN that he was disgusted. He was also just incredibly rude in general, refusing to bag people's stuff if they had their own bags and freaking out on this one woman who was asking for a price check.
I ended up changing lines because I couldn't deal with him, but I snapped his picture as I walked by. I think his name was Jamie".
Hollaback! Ottawa says: Avoid this guy at the check-out line! Also know that you can report bad customer service to management, usually without having to give your name either.