Intimidating women doesn't make you cool.
Dear Man Who Harassed Me In Walmart,
I have lived in this area for nearly three years and before that, I lived only forty-five minutes away. I am comfortable going traveling around the area by myself, running errands by myself, even sitting in a coffee shop by myself. But the security I once felt has been chipped away at all because of your objectifying remarks and unwanted attention.
I've heard that if you are uncomfortable, or even just alone somewhere, talking on the phone is a good way to make sure someone knows where you are and what's going on. Even though I wasn't feeling unsafe in the town I've lived in for years, I was on the phone anyway when you decided to make your presence known.
To be truthful, I thought I was safe. I thought maybe I was misinterpreting your words. Maybe you weren't speaking to me. Maybe you weren't looking at me. You were with a woman, probably your girlfriend or your wife. She was in front of you, walking down the aisle when I just happened to look up and meet your eyes.
I'm used to that. Awkward eye contact. It happens all the time. You just happen to look up at the same time as someone else. But usually, you give a polite smile, apologetic almost, and move on. You had a chance to do just that. Or even just look away. Instead, you raised your eyebrows provocatively at me. Not once, but multiple times. You even looked to see if the woman you were with was looking. Then you looked back at me and whistled and said, "Hey pretty lady."
I will admit that you are not the first man to make remarks like that in my direction, and you'll hardly be the last. But, for some reason, your actions shook me and made me feel insecure and unsafe. As I said before, and as you know, I was on the phone and I stopped mid-sentence. I couldn't even finish talking.
I left the store with nothing. I went in with a list. A few groceries. Instead of buying anything, I left feeling scared, hurt, and embarrassed. Most of all though, I was angry. Angry at you for making me feel unsafe in the town I live in, but more angry at myself for letting you make me feel that way.
I know I'm lucky. Lucky that you only used words and body language. Lucky that you didn't follow me around the store or harass me further. And the saddest part is, you probably thought you were flattering me. That your actions would make me feel good, confident, and self-assured. You probably think that girls like being "hit on" in public.
So, Man, all I ask is that you consider what effect your actions had on me. I hardly think I am the first of your victims. And yes. I say victims because you are actively attacking and objectifying another person.
I can't control what or how you think. I can't control what you say. But I can ask that you keep your unwanted and provocative language and expressions to yourself.
An Independent Female