Aggressive Staring for Harassed Women

A Guide To Aggressive Staring For The Harassed Woman In Public

A safe and fun way to dodge unwanted attention from men in public.


When I was a kid, my mom always told me to "fix my face" while we were in public because my painfully readable expressions would get me into all types of trouble with all the wrong people. At the very least, many of us grew up hearing that it was not polite to stare.

Why, then, can most women agree that every venture into a public space isn't complete without getting cat-called and harassed, or even followed or threatened, by random men they encounter on the street?

Now, this isn't meant to be a rant about the messed-up double standards for men and women's behavior, or the answer to why these men didn't listen to their moms in childhood; I firmly believe that fix will come along with sex education reformation. But for now, I think every woman should have a tactic like this to deal with these uncomfortable encounters when they inevitably arise.

Because my face was a dangerously open book and I hit puberty a little sooner than most, I've been practicing my technique for Aggressive Staring since around 13-years-old. I figured that instead of buying bags that hung just low enough to cover my butt while I walked or clinging to my taser every time I left the house, I should use my RBF to my advantage and wage a little war against all the creepy men that seem to be waiting out there just to ruin your day.

Thus, I developed Aggressive Staring, the only sport I've ever been good at. The concept is pretty simple, as you can probably guess from the name.

As soon as you sense unwanted eyes in unwanted places and feel the sticky smile start to slide onto their faces, you look them straight in the eye and don't back down for anything.

While it may seem ridiculous, this technique was developed based on the cliche adage of facing your fears straight on.

Even if they haven't yet stopped appraising your goods that aren't up for sale, the objective is to look them dead in the eye with a deadly serious face until after they've noticed and beyond, even if you have to keep going until they look back once, or even twice more, until they finally get the hint and look away embarrassed.

This ensures that he and everyone in the vicinity are clear about your right to feeling comfortable and respected, without any conversation required!

The most important thing to remember is to keep your cool, stay strong and not to respond to any sarcastic comments that might be used as retaliation during the Aggressive Staring process. In my personal experience, Aggressive Staring works much better if no contact is made.

The only communication that should happen should be through your cold, disapproving stare.

If you get to the point where you're pretty comfortable with the basic Aggressive Stare, you might move on to crossing your eyes, making funny faces or even a rude, startling sound or two to help move the process along.

I've found that these are usually met with shock, too, instead of just the isolated shame or embarrassment, and makes the whole game move much more quickly till you're well on your way to pocketing another win.

Committing myself to this tactic helped me make major strides in recovering from PTSD when I was convinced that everyone (and their mother) was out to get me, and getting aggressive stares from others was proof of that.

I've noticed over time that the game has made me I feel braver—ready to demand the basic respect I deserve as a human being.

It's true that the unfriendly teen inside me was the original reason for developing Aggressive Staring, but this game has become an easy and effective way to address the very real fear that many women harbor when confronted with unwanted attention in public.

My hope is that if more women indulge in an Aggressive Stare now and then, we'll be that much closer to disbanding the myth that its acceptable for men to harass strangers and that women are powerless to stop it.

If nothing else, I hope this game allows my fellow uncomfortable ladies one small victory in the constant struggle of being—or even just looking—female in public.

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Mansplaining Is A Myth

If we're fighting for equality, we shouldn't silence half of the population.

The term "mansplaining" is often used to silence opposing opinions that come from men. Cambridge Dictionary defines "mansplaining" as "explain[ing] something to someone in a way that suggests that they are stupid; used especially when a man explains something to a woman that she already understands." According to this definition, some might argue that mansplaining only applies when a man is being condescending to a woman. In practice, however, the idea of mansplaining is often extended to silence men who might have different opinions regarding issues like feminism. A man might also be accused of "mansplaining" even if he is talking about something that has nothing to do with gender. The concept of mansplaining hinders productive discussion and is sexist to both women and men.

I know what some of you are thinking: "Men cannot experience sexism! Only those with institutional power have the ability to be sexist!" First of all, this supposed definition of sexism is extremely sexist towards women. You're telling me that women in the world have never held any power? While there are some countries in the world in which women are treated like second class citizens, there are many countries in which women are CEO's or hold political office. Men can in fact experience sexism. Are men oppressed in the west? Not necessarily. However, men do often face unfair treatment in the United States; courts are often biased towards women in custody battles, and male victims of rape and domestic abuse are hardly ever taken seriously, but I digress. The concept of "mansplaining" is sexist towards men because it completely disregards a person's opinions and ideas simply because they came from a man. Are there experiences that women face that might be difficult for men to relate to? Sure. The same can be said for women trying to relate to some experiences that men face. However, someone should not be dismissed simply because of their gender. I've often seen cases in which men are silenced during conversations about gender issues. This is counter-intuitive; we're fighting for equality here! If we're going to talk about gender, then both women and men should be a part of that conversation because the last time I checked, there are more genders than just female.

As a woman myself, I find the idea of "mansplaining" to be insulting. Mansplaining is often code for "Be quiet because you disagree with me!" We are not so fragile that we cannot handle opposing views. Women are stronger than that! We are smart enough to defend our views. We do not need censorship. The idea that women should not have to listen to those who disagree with them is incredibly infantilizing. The truth is, there are always going to be people with opinions that you do not like. People are going to disagree with you. Defend your position on issues instead of silencing the opposition. The concept of mansplaining is counter-intuitive to the feminist movement as well. Feminism was supposed to be about promoting equality for women. Feminists should be encouraging women to be brave and assertive and stand up for what they believe, not hide while accusing the other side of "mansplaining." We as women are better than that. If we truly want to be equal to men, then we should not be afraid to have open discussions in which both men and women are free to express their opinions.

Cover Image Credit: Washington University Political Review

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Paying To Be A Woman: The Tampon Tax Explained

We often hear of the so-called "tampon tax" or the "pink tax" referring to the sales tax placed on tampons, here is why it is so important to eradicate it.


Periods are often a very taboo topic and aren't often discussed. In many countries, specifically in South Asia, periods are considered so secretive and odd that women have to be secluded or exiled during their period or cannot participate in daily activities. Men are so often uncomfortable talking about feminine hygiene and the natural process of menstruation, which makes women insecure about their periods and less likely to discuss them openly as a part of their bodies. With periods as this foreign, hidden thing that we don't talk about, it isn't hard to believe that legislatively, it is not considered a natural or need-based process.

The tax code in the United States specifies a sales tax for "luxury items". Non-luxury items usually include food, medical, supplies, agricultural supplies, and sometimes clothing. The list varies from state to state, but items that aren't taxed are those considered to be an item we need rather than want. Tampons don't make this list, meaning they are considered a "luxury" item or something women buy to make their lives easier without necessarily needing. This could not be further from the truth, as women need to have a way to control their bleeding in order to go about their lives. Women cannot bleed freely without staining clothing, furniture, etc. and free bleeding is not acceptable anywhere in modern society.

Arguably, tampons and other sanitary products should be considered a medical item, since they must be replaced every four to six hours or women risk toxic shock syndrome (TSS). Further, menstruation is a medical process that needs to be dealt with in order to live a comfortable life. Women need access to tampons in order to function during their period. Making tampons expensive and only accessible to wealthier women is not only wrong but discriminatory, as it prohibits women who cannot afford period products from getting the schooling and careers that women who can afford them can get.

Women spend nearly $2,000 on tampons in their lifetimes, which is a pretty significant price tag for something that occurs naturally and is out of your control. Further, women spend an average of $11,400 on birth control over their lifetimes, which is the only way to avoid the need to purchase tampons. The one way to avoid having your period costs more than actually having your period, so this is definitely a need for women everywhere.

Only 7 states currently do not tax tampons and 3 of those states have no sales tax at all. We need to put force behind legislation that eradicates the tampon tax in every state because it is simply immoral. Society has made menstruation, and as an extension simply being a woman, a degrading act. Girls hide their tampons at the store and go home from school because of stains. Making women literally pay for something that the public faults them for makes periods even more embarrassing. We need to get rid of the stigma surrounding periods and being female, which will only happen when we stop putting a price tag on menstruation.

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