33 In Personal

Sexual harassment and feminism

Coffee & a book Ella Was Here

This is not a post I expected to write any time soon. But after a frustrating conversation a couple of weeks ago I thought it was necessary to talk to you about sexual harassment.

Let me start by telling you a story. A month ago I was walking to the store in my jogging outfit (without any makeup on). I was not looking that great but I was too lazy to change and put makeup on just to go buy ingredients for the risotto I was going to make. But apparently to certain men that outfit was an invitation to sex. In the 15 minutes I walked to the store, and back, several men catcalled me. The worst one was “I see you are wearing sweatpants. Will you fuck me now?”. I am not a cat. I am a young woman and I deserve to be respected.

 

You can compliment me by respecting me

 

Defending yourself

However, according to some people I should be okay with sexual comments and inappropriate touching because I cannot do anything about it. Apparently objecting to inappropriate touching or even saying something back to the catcallers, would make the situation worse. To the people that said that I’d like to say: don’t you even get how wrong that way of reasoning is?

I did respond and told him how inappropriate he was and then walked away. But lots of girls and women will not say anything and it might make them seem even more vulnerable. Because according to some men not saying anything is the same as agreeing. And let me be very clear, not saying no is not the same as agreeing (and saying no, does not equal yes either btw). I am a woman and I want to be respected. Is that too much to ask?

Bad words

Some men state that I am not allowed to defend myself because I am a woman. I am not allowed to speak up because men are superior. I am sorry I have to be the one to tell you this, but they are not. We are, in my opinion, all equal. Men as well as women should be respected. We should be able to defend ourselves against sexual harassment without being accused of being a feminist.

Because feminism is not a bad word. I am merely defending myself against horrible comments. By making the word feminism sound like a curse you are saying I should not be allowed to stand up for myself. You are saying strange men are allowed to touch me whenever, wherever they want.

Respect

I can only hope that some day you realize that being a feminist is not a bad thing. It is not something you should declare, it is something you are. Men AND woman are allowed to stand up for themselves. And to the guys catcalling women: Being nice and respectful will get you way further, there is absolutely no need to be disgusting. I am sure you would like to be respected as well. So please pay it forward. Respect goes a long way.

Love, Ella

Note: Please be respectful when commenting

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  • You’re a strong inspiring sister!

    • Thank you !!

      XX

  • fatima zahra

    seriously, men now a days are just forgetting that there is a thing called respect

  • You are so right! I will definitely read your post on this important topic!

    XX

  • Lou

    Great post.
    You would think by now, these posts would be made redundant. That in the 21st century both men and women would understand this subject a little better! *sigh*

    I feel like at the moment the word ‘feminism’ is cropping up a lot. It’s great. It means more people will begin to understand the importance of equality. I do worry sometimes that by being used so often, we are in fact desensitizing the word and soon it will no longer mean anything and become just a ‘phase’.

    Also, by giving it a name, ‘feminism’, are we are making it sound like a choice? An option? Something they can say ‘no’ to and move on? Like ‘vegetarianism’ or ‘veganism’ – you can decide what to do and if it’s ‘not for you.

    In fact, what we’d love to happen is that it becomes the normal – why wouldn’t you treat men and women the same?! It’s no longer something that had been decided but in fact the way everyone should act. Maybe by making it a choice, it’s just a clever way of getting people on-board? But I worry it won’t make everyone’s opinions change long term :/

    It will be really interesting to see how this develops and how much of a difference it makes to the world. I hope one day we will look back and laugh at how we went through all this to be respected and how crazy it was to have to do it in the first place!

    xxx
    naturallybeige.com

    • I too worry about the ‘feminism’ being just a phase or a trend. I hope it sticks though. Everyone needs to realise that equality is very important! It will be very interesting to see how this develops.

      Thanks for reading love!

      XX

  • One would expect that now in the 21st century, women don’t have to deal with this crap anymore but unfortunately this is almost an everyday occurrence for many of us. I am all for defending myself, if I feel disrespected then I will give you a piece of my mind. No one deserve to be treated like a piece of meat. Great, well written article, it’s good to see you taking a stand, Ella.

    Reflection of Sanity

    • You are right, no one deserves to be treated like a piece of meat. It is great that you too say something when someone disrespects you.

      Thanks for reading,
      XX

  • I agree! If someone disrespects me I want to be able to defend myself. But I am being insulted even more. It is not okay. That is way we need to raise awareness around the subject.

    Thanks for reading Sophie!

    XX

  • Carsla Peyton

    Oh my gosh Ella, I’m sorry to hear this. But, it happens all too often. Thanks for being brave & sharing. Not so many men dare to say much to me out & about. I think I give off an intimidating vibe, yet I still get followed & leered at in public places, esp. by men well beyond my age. At times I find myself overanalyzing what I’m going to wear because I don’t want to get approached the wrong way, but why should I? You’re right. It’s a respect thing.

    ♥ | http://www.connect-the-cloths.com | xoxo
    http://blogspotter.co/connect-the-cloths

    • I over-analyse it too. Because lots of people seem to think that wearing short dresses/skirts and a cleavage is agreeing with catcalling. But the same thing happens when I’m just walking around in my jogging outfit. It is not okay.

      XX

  • Amy Liddell

    I absolutely agree with this post, it really makes me mad when I see girls saying that being catcalled isn’t a big deal and is a compliment; being treated like a piece of meat to be sized up and oggled at will never be a compliment in my book – the male attitude to women needs to change now and men need to realise they need feminism just as much as women do

    http://www.saltandchic.com

    • It is so weird that people think it is a compliment. Like I said, you can compliment me be respecting me and when I’m being catcalled I don’t feel like I’m being respected!

      Thanks for reading Amy!
      XX

  • it’s unreal when people think feminism is all about women superiority. NO! It’s about equality. I couldn’t agree more with #1.

    • It is about equality! Thanks for reading 🙂

      XX

  • Although male myself, I have never done anything like this in my life. I know it isn’t appropriate and I actually get very cross when I see other males doing this kind of thing. It tends to give us all a bad name. All males are not the same…

    • I know not all men are like this. I have a bunch of male friends that I hope can respect women the right way. And I respect you for not agreeing with how certain men react. You are a good person!

      XX

      • Thanks Ella

        • Respect guy! I wish I hadn’t seen a video of a guy getting the shit beaten out of him for standing up for a woman being cat called. We live in a horrible world sometimes.

  • Gemma Oxford

    Cat calling makes me so mad! Society tells us that pretty girls should expect attention and less attractive girls should be grateful for the attention. And good on you for keeping your calm and putting him in his place!

    http://creamteaandrosejam.blogspot.co.uk/?m=0

    • They can compliment me by respecting me. And catcalling isn’t being respectful! Unfortunately, SOME men don’t understand.

      Thanks for reading Gemma!

      XX

  • This is a fantastic post. Sexual harassment is a serious problem, but it doesn’t get enough attention. Only last week I was walking to the station when this guy in a van stopped beside me, lowered his window and whistled (as if I am a dog). When I didn’t react, he just shouted ‘you filthy whore!’ and drove away.

    I didn’t even had the time to react and I wasn’t smart enough to write down his licence plate and go to the police. That thought only occured to me when I was on the train.

    So great post!

    • ‘Filthy whore’, that is not even accurate. People call you a whore when you do say yes, and they call you one when you say no.

      I have been living in the same student house for over 2 years now and men haven been working in my street those 2 years. They are rude and I cannot reply because they know where I live. It is not okay.

      Thank you for reading and sharing this post!

      XX

  • Ella, thank you so much for writing this. This is a topic I personally feel very strongly about, as do so many other women. Those men had no right talking/treating you like that and the fact that they think they do is sickening. When I was 17, I moved to London to attend drama school. On my first few days I was in the student house on my own as the other girls hadn’t moved in yet. I decided to take a walk to get to know the local area and find my way around. I was wearing leggins and a top, nothing revealing, just a day to day outfit. In half an hour 3 men harassed me. One pulled over on a busy road and told me to get in his car. When I said no he followed me slowly driving alongside me shouting things through his window. I was scared, and other men that passed the streets did or said nothing to help me, even though I must have looked terrified. I went back to the student house terrified that I had been followed, and it put me off going out on my own in that area again. It was a nice area of London too so I didn’t expect it. To think that men, much much older, are doing things like this to young girls in broad daylight on busy streets and places says it all, they are not afraid, they think they are entitled. I know not all men are like that and saying they are is wrong, but the ones that are, seriously need educating on right and wrong, and most of all, respecting women and seeing us as equals.

    Such a great post, thanks for sharing!

    http://www.hayleyeszti.blogspot.com

    • I am so sorry about your terrible experience on London. It is important to talk about so people don’t forget that it is NOT okay.

      Thanks for reading hun!
      XX

  • I am not a feminist. But I will never, ever let people tell me I should be silent when someone is touching me or catcalling me. As a matter of fact, the last one that put his hand near my bottom earned himself a massive hit in the face with my heavy bag. I’m quite a fierce lady so if someone even dares to direct sexual comments towards me they will get quite some backfire. But being fierce and fearless should not be the norm for every girl to avoid being sexually harassed. Every man and woman should be theirselves and should be respected.

    • I respect you so much! Haha, the bag thing is so accurate, I have a bunch of heavy stuff in it so it would definitely have effect 🙂

      XX

  • When I was in Uni, in a Sociology class, we were asked to raise our hands if we supported feminism and unfortunately there were only few people who raised their hands. However when we were asked if we believed in the equality of men and women, everyone raised their hands. I think that on its own portrays the problem beautifully. Feminist are in this day and age still being considered as “men-haters”, how sad! People just simply need to get their facts straight, that’s all. Catcalling is horrible and unfortunately it is not considered to be a serious problem that we almost face everyday. When that video of a girl being catcalled shamelessly in New York went viral, I realised that people still belittles the problem-unbelievable. It is not about what you wear and how you look but it is only about that person’s twisted idea of woman is being reflected on you and it needs to end because it is getting beyond ridiculous! Thanks for this post Ella, and you have done amazing by confronting that caveman!

    http://www.thatsaleaf.com

    • What an interesting story! I totally agree, I am definitely not a man-hater I am just asking for some respect. I have a lot of male friends and I can only hope they will never be that disrespectful!

      XX

  • Claire Louise Sheridan

    Brilliant post 🙂 I’m training to be a Rape Support Worker atm and so feminism is something I really and truly believe in. Respect does indeed go a long way!

    xx
    http://clairelouise.net

    • Oh that is such a noble thing to do. It is important to talk about sexual harassment and rap. It is never okay and people need to know that.

      XX

  • Great post Ella! We absolutely agree, women as men should be respected at ALL TIMES! However, it’s not an usual thing for men to be verbally harrassed when they walk down the street like us. It should never happen in any case though, personally, it makes me feel insecure and drops my self confidence by 100%.
    And I totally get you, it’s seen as shocking if you reply, when I think it would be the normal thing, but not when they first say sonething.

    xx

    http://robberscorner.blogspot.com.es

    • True! If you end up replying or even looking in their eyes after them saying something, they are so surprised. And that’s a bit strange because, if you are saying something to me you should always expect a reply.

      Thanks for reading girls 🙂

      XX