Being a Girl on the Street
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Politics and Activism

Being a Girl on the Street

What it's like to walk down the street and not feel safe

Being a Girl on the Street

It's been happening for years, and unfortunately it starts at a young age. You walk down the street and someone yells something at you, trying to get your attention. It makes you feel like a piece of meat, or an object for someone to look at. They talk at you instead of to you. They address your body, your clothes, and your hair instead of the actual person that you are. To be honest, it's downright atrocious.

Catcalling is still a prevalent problem, so much so that there are videos and campaigns popping up everywhere to show men just what it's like to walk down the street in a city or even a small hometown. These do a good job of actually showing what happens, but it lacks something – how it makes someone feel.

I believe, or would like to believe, that the people calling out to you, saying something stupid, are doing it as a joke. They don't realize the harm it can actually do. For example, just a few days ago, I was walking down the street in Berkeley, California, with two female friends and I counted how many times someone commented on our appearance. Five times, in under an hour, ranging anywhere from "Hey girls, looking good," to, "Damn baby, give me a smile, hey why aren't you paying attention to me, come back."

Sometimes it can seem harmless, that they're just giving you a compliment. Once someone stopped me on the street and told me my smile brightened his day, and this actually boosted my confidence and brightened my day. But that is so different from someone yelling at you to "work it" or whistling at you from a passing car.

One of my friends pointed out that for her, this catcalling started when she was around fourteen. That's disgusting. This young girl still coming into her own body and discovering who she was and gaining her confidence is getting yelled at by, often, older men.

I think that most people just genuinely think it's silly and fun. I can't imagine what they expect to happen, especially with some of the things they say. This man once walked up to me and one of my friends and said "Hey girls, you look like you'd have pretty p*ssies." I wanted to throw up and run away at the same time. What is it that encourages you to say something like that? Yeah, it may be funny, but it can also be scary.

I don't want to feel scared walking down the street in a dress. I should be able to wear whatever I want, right? I made a joke about only wearing burlap sacks because hopefully it would stop it from happening. My friend said that people would probably still comment. It's sad, but true. It just makes me so upset to think that people might not feel safe because of what strangers say to you. Some of those strangers will even follow you around.

It's not a joke. It's not ok. It is harassment. It needs to stop.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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