I was celebrating the birthday of one of my best friends this past weekend, and after going to Hoffman’s in Point Pleasant for ice cream (which we ate before dinner since the ice cream shoppe closed earlier), we decided to hit up a local eatery for my friend’s actual birthday meal. It was a few minutes after 10pm when we arrived at the restaurant/bar, and as we were walking across the parking lot to the entrance of the place, two guys who were walking in the opposite direction felt the need to yell out “Sup, babe?”. While my friend looked over at them, following the direction of the remark, I elected to ignore them completely; I didn't give them the time of day. Possibly drunk and obviously annoyed that they weren't receiving the attention they craved, they called out to us again, using the same line. By that time we were nearly to the door and ended up making it inside safely, so we waited for a table and left the ‘dynamic duo’ behind us.
While my most recent encounter wasn't as bad as others that my friends and I have gone through, it’s just as important. I genuinely do not understand how men are still harassing women in the streets because they have nothing better to do. Not only is it sickening, but it's actually pathetic. I can't even count the amount of times men have catcalled me in the streets, or how many times they’ve kept their heads turned and gazes on me as they drove past me in their cars. I don't remember the number of remarks men have made to me from their car windows or from their spot on the subway, and that's horrifying to me.
For hundreds of years, women have been raised and taught to be okay with men assaulting them and taking advantage of them. They've been taught that a man’s values and ideas are more important than their own, and that speaking up for themselves is a foreign concept. Women and young girls in this day and age are just supposed to keep their heads down. We’re told to ignore these scumbags and they’ll stop, because getting our attention is what they want. The friends of these scumbags are no better. They simply melt into the background and say nothing to stop the situation from occurring, not realizing that by not defending women against their buddies for being so vulgar, they are condoning and promoting that behavior for the people they surround themselves with, and that's not okay.
In case you haven't realized, the year is 2016, and we currently live in the 21st century. Women have recognized their strength, and their power. We have learned to stand up for ourselves, to command respect from the ones who refuse to give it to us because we’re still deemed as weak and incapable. While keeping your head down may be the safest option, you shouldn't have to do it every time a man is bothering you. If they're being an asshole, tell them. Curse them out, glare at them, give them the finger, etc. Express your anger; they’ll most likely end up sauntering away, secretly embarrassed that a woman freaked out on them in front of their friends. Catcalling isn't okay. It never has been and it never will be, so to any men reading this, check your senseless comments and wolf whistles at the door, because they aren't welcome.