Three Months of Uncouth Pedestrianism
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Politics and Activism

Three Months of Uncouth Pedestrianism

What happens when you don't move out of the way?

Three Months of Uncouth Pedestrianism

I am a warm and friendly person. I say hi to strangers on the street, I wave to cars passing by, and I try to learn the names of the people who work in the Drexel dining center. But, as of three months ago, I have stopped moving out of the way for people on sidewalks first.

Brought to the world's attention by a tweet from Anna Breslaw, women around the country are attempting to do an ostensibly simple task: walk down the street, refuse to reposition themselves when someone comes towards them, and keeping track of who runs into them.

Three months ago, my friend challenged me to do the same. As much as it pained me to stand my ground and not give way to busy pedestrians, be they male or female, I did the same. Note that I am just one person, and I faced a series of uncontrollable factors by living in a busy city. This is not a scientific experiment by any means. Nonetheless, this is my experience and it upset me greatly:

The first two weeks were odd. I had to mentally train myself not to step aside when a man in a suit came barreling towards me from the opposite direction. But sometimes the sidewalk was big enough for two people to walk past each other, and sometimes the other person still refused to break their stride for me. So, I began to ask myself, "Why should I be the one to move out of the way?" I began strutting my stuff down 34th Street with unabashed confidence. I refused to budge. I even began glaring a little bit to those souls unfortunate enough to cross me the wrong way.

By the end of the first month, I had encountered enough pedestrians to draw some conclusions. Most women stepped out of the way first when I did not. Only four women had run into me; three of them immediately apologized and one made a squeak, which was at least something. Twenty-two men, of all ages and races, in various states of dress and undress, had slammed into me and continued on their way without any form of acknowledgment or apology. Only five men did not run into me, and stepped out of the way first.

The second month began, and so I began to challenge my womanly folk to do the same. Every woman I asked shared similar experiences of the majority of men refusing the share the ground we walk on, and had a minority of women slammers apologize to them as a knee-jerk reaction. I had one male friend tell me that this experiment was bogus because everyone he encountered moved out of the way first. I rest my case. I continued on my unwieldy way. Around the forties, I slowly began to lose count of men who ran into me.

And now, the third month of me being a rude pedestrian is drawing near. So many times I have wanted to say something or throw dirty looks to those who run into me, but I never do. Is this phenomenon a testament to the overall state of male entitlement in this country? I certainly do not have the authority to say so. But maybe you do - just something to think about for the next time you go for a walk.

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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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