June 15th, 2010

cap, captain miss america

Open Letter to the Men of the World (or at least New York)

Dear guys,

I know most of the people reading this aren’t this kind of guy, because I make an effort only to associate with the kind of guy who isn’t an asshole. But I figure it’s still useful for y’all to know what a fairly large portion of your gender likes to put women through.

To the rest of you, I do not leave my house for the sole purpose of giving you something to ogle. I do not get dressed in the morning to please strange men I don’t know. Hell, I don’t even get dressed to please any men I do know. I get dressed for me.

To the rest of you, my entry into your workplace or the place in which you shop does not signal my interest in being ogled, or better yet, my interest in putting up with lewd comments from you. My proximity to you does not mean I am inviting your commentary on my hair, my manner of dress, or my looks.

To the rest of you, as much as you might fantasize about being a sports announcer, you can get through the five minutes in which an attractive woman is in our presence without offering narration.

To the rest of you, fooling a woman into conversing with you so that you can segue into verbally objectifying her by asking her for the time, or directions, or any other inane question isn’t clever or cute. It’s harrassing and insulting.

To the rest of you, when I tell you that your presence following me on the street or in the grocery store is unwelcome, you are not the victim.

To the rest of you, don’t even try to claim you meant it as a compliment, because you damn well know it isn’t.

To the rest of you, for once in my life, I would like to manage to get through a week without having at least one of you think that you are entitled to force your way into my life, to intrude on my personal business, to make me feel uncomfortable in a place that has been, up until that point, part of my daily routine. For once in my life, I would like to not have future visits to a place colored by a negative interaction. For once in my life, I would like not to worry that you might be a regular customer, too, that I might have to interact with you in the future, that even if you don’t open your mouth this time, you might try to follow me around the store, or just give me pointed looks when I have to get something from the shelf next to where you are standing, not shopping, staring at the women walking by.

To the rest of you, the next time you speak to me this way in your place of work, please immediately inform your manager that you have lost them a customer. And you’ve probably lost them other customers, who aren’t me, and who don’t tell you to your face that you’re being a sexist ass.

To those of you who are not part of that group, thank you for taking action when I tell you there’s a problem in your store. Thank you for making me feel like if I do go back there and something happens again, someone will do something about it. Keep doing that. Better yet, take action when you see it happening, or hear it happening, don’t wait until I come to you to complain. Even if it’s not your workplace, say something. Get a manager. Make sure those men who are hurting your reputation as men don’t see silence as approval.

To all of you, when one man does this, it hurts all of you, because we women have to be more suspicious, more protective, and less friendly with strangers we meet. Some awesome woman might ignore your earnest request for directions, or your earnest compliment, because she’s fed up with those of you to whom this letter is directed. We have to be less kind, less patient, less open, just to get through the day without feeling as if our personal space is being invaded. I don’t want to live that way, and I’m sure you don’t, either.

Love,

Tea

Mirrored from Antagonia.net.