3 May 2014

A Good Comeback To Street Harassment

Today I have my feminist hat on.  Actually, I always have my feminist hat on but more so than usual this fine Friday.  Before going on, I'll give you my definition of a feminist: a feminist is someone who wants equality for men and women.  That's it.

We need feminism because women are not treated equally to men.  One area of life as a woman that really gets my goat, is street harassment.  It's just a way to bully someone, nothing more, nothing less.  It has nothing to do with what a woman looks like or what she's wearing, and everything to do with asserting power and control over another human being by intimidating and frightening them.  How cowardly!

The last time I experienced street harassment, I was walking to work wearing a bright blue furry coat, this one to be precise:

I love this coat.  Twas a new purchase from ASOS.  I feel like a very chic cookie monster in it, it's rad.  Anyway, as I got near the door a possibly drunk and very fat man was stumbling past me, he looked me up and down with what I'm sure was disgust.  His expression said to me 'how dare you exist here!'.  He then bellowed:

'Blue coat?  Ha, blue coat!  Up the arse, right up the arse, I bet she takes it RIGHT UP THE ARSE!  RIGHT UP THE ARSE!'

It was as though by audibly imagining me 'taking it up the arse', he was somehow negating the existence of me and my blue coat, and making himself feel much bigger and better.  Exactly like a playground bully actually.

The following thoughts entered my head simultaneously:
  • Why does wearing a blue coat mean that one 'takes it up the arse'?
  • How does he know that women who wear other colour coats don't also 'take it up the arse'?
  • Why is the fact that some women (and men) in the world choose to 'take it up the arse' worth shouting about?  It's their choice surely?

Other thoughts included:
  • How far is he from me - can he attack me easily?
  • He's much stronger than I am.
  • How much angrier is he going to get - he's really shouting.
  • How quickly can I run through that door to safety?

The first batch of thoughts are quite funny, the second, quite sad and also similar to the thoughts of any woman experiencing street harassment.

That day was my lucky day though, it was one of those rare occasions where you come up with a perfect comeback.  I looked him in the eye, stopped walking, laughed and said:

'Good to know, thanks!'

His look of disgust increased tenfold as he clearly wasn't expecting a positive reaction and he just stood there in shock with his mouth moving but failing to form any words.

Have you ever dealt a great comeback to street harassment?  If so, what was it?