Last week, as I was walking home from an amazing evening working on a friend’s solo dance work, I was accosted by a young guy in my local neighbourhood.
He was a charming young man, menacingly telling me how sexy i looked (‘babes’), did i want it?, ‘you know you want it’, delightful displays of his ‘big dick’ and threatening to give me one, even if i didn’t want it. Rapist-in-training type shit.
The whole thing pissed me off. The system in which that interchange exists is a common one and I’m sick of it.
After going through a particularly intense session of identification at the police station, I rang a friend, a trans* woman, who was incredibly supportive. And it occurred to me that she, thankfully, hadn’t spent her whole life rejecting the unwanted advances of men.
I can’t even imagine it.
Most women, since the age of 10 (or younger), spend the rest of our lives in some act of ignoring the unnecessary sexual words and actions of men:
in the street, from cars, right up in our ear whilst our hair is being pulled, in our faces, from across the room, behind us, towards us, sideways, from scaffolding, under their breath, on the tv, on twitter, in memes, passing on the footpath, on the bus, on the train, in the office hallway, in a pub, outside a pub, at a gig, outside a gig, on the dancefloor, outside the club, at night, early morning, whilst walking, whilst jogging, with kids, without kids, in a group, on our own etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc.
We develop a reaction early – the paying attention of those words and sounds, the instant assessment of them on our character and varying levels of disregarding them, depending on our character and our self-esteem.
It’s fucking boring and surely a waste of our energy.
I’m sick of hearing it. I’m sick of ignoring it.
hey you, you, hello, hello? hey slut, dyke, freak, nice hair cut, show us your tits, whistle, kiss noises, heyy, sexy, nice tattoo, nice legs, hey sexy, hey, hello?, oi!, slut! nice hair, nice tatts!, show us your tatts, tits, car horns, oi, ladies, hey lady, miss, hey miss, excuse me, you right? can i get your number, heyyyy, shamood, shamout, butana, yo ho’, belle femme, kissy kissy, check this one aaaart…
Give us a break.