So it’s Tuesday, which means it’s time for another post in my Girl Talk series! Today I thought I’d talk about unwanted male attention and how to deal with it.
As a woman, it’s evident that you’re going to get male attention from time to time. Sometimes it’ll be harmless and you’ll welcome it, although other times it can get a little too much. There even comes a point where it can become scary when a male comes on too strong, especially when you’re alone at night. Here’s are a few things I do to deal with it when I’m in that situation.
One of the most common things women have to deal with is cat-calling and street harassment. It’s something that all women will face at some point in their lives, often on a regular basis. It often tends to make women feel nervous and self-conscious, and it definitely gets worse during the Summer season. For me, the most important thing is to not let it affect the way you dress.
In the warmer weather, it’s natural for people to wear less clothes in order to cool themselves down. Many guys begin to wear shorts and tank tops (or even no top) and this is perfectly acceptable. It only seems to be women who are scrutinised for wearing less clothes in warmer weather. As soon as women show off a bit of skin they’re judged, cat-called and even abused for denying unwanted attention. The only reason for this is that a woman’s body is more sexualised than a mans.
There’s also the issue of harassment women face when walking home alone. I can’t count the amount of times I’ve heard people say ‘why were you stupid enough to be walking alone at night?’ or ‘what were you wearing?’. I can’t even describe how angry these comments make me.
First of all, sexual assault is in no way a woman’s fault regardless of her dress choice, whether she’s alone or not, or the way she acts. Men are in full control of their own actions and know exactly what’s right and what’s wrong. If a woman shows signs that she is uncomfortable or tells you to leave her alone, then that’s what you do. It couldn’t be anymore simple.
Studies have proven that catcalling and harassment often have nothing to do with what a woman is wearing, but with male attitudes towards women. Most men don’t even back off until a woman tells them she has a boyfriend, and even then that’s not enough for some.
On two separate occasions, I’ve been grabbed by men who have tried to force me to go somewhere with them. The first tried to pull me into a park, the second into his car. The first time it happened was in broad daylight in the middle of London. I was fully clothed and made no suggestion that I was in any way attracted to this man. The second time was after a night out. I was not drunk and I was wearing a dress. Again, I showed no attraction towards him. Neither times were my fault. What scared me the most is that there were a group of guys nearby when he tried to drag me into his car and none of them did anything to help me.
Honestly, there is no way to prevent cat-calling or street harassment and there is no doubt that it’s going to affect you in some way, especially if you’ve had bad experiences with it. The only thing I can suggest is to carry a rape alarm and some sort of spray just in case something does happen to you. And most importantly, if you experience any sort of harassment where a man lays his hands on you, make sure you try your best to remember what they look like and report it to the police.