I’ve heard this countless times over the years. I’ve also heard things like “What did you expect?” for trivial shit like having a profile pic I like. No cleavage or anything, not that that matters (because it fucking doesn’t), just a regular profile picture where I felt pretty. I’m going to call this for what it is–a weak punk-ass excuse. As if women weren’t sexually harassed on a daily basis regardless, and “that’s going to happen,” just doesn’t cut it anymore. We know better, so we better start fucking acting like it.
I’ve heard so many variations of this, I’ve lost track. I’ve heard it for most of my life. Hell, I even heard it today. This should piss men off, too. It demeans you as well. Men are not animals that can’t control themselves. Some may choose not to but that’s because they’ve been getting away with it unchecked for years, decades, forever really. Seriously guys, start demanding more from your gender. Men and women both need to stop accepting this behavior as the inevitable both on and off line.
If you’re a man and your friends joke around in a way that degrades women, call them out on it. While you’re at it, you should probably start hanging out with a better class of people. I understand where work situations can make it more difficult, with coworkers or even a boss, but with your friends? Fuck those guys. You become who you surround yourself with. Passively watching, maybe even smirking at their “jokes” or whatever other shit they’re spewing, makes you complicit, an accessory, and a willing participant. I really don’t care what you want to call it. It’s fucked up and it’s allowing it happen in front of you with your implied consent and therefore approval. When online, double down those efforts because it’s way too prevalent. You’ve seen it enough to know exactly what I mean. Call. Them. Out.
If you’re a woman, I feel your pain. All too well. All of us have experienced this on one level or another throughout our lifetimes. If you haven’t, I am quite frankly in disbelief because it’s so ingrained in our culture. This is the real problem. When we no longer accept it as a “fact of life” maybe things can begin to change.
There are also other much more serious and potentially life-threatening considerations for women. The reality is that when you turn down a guy, rage is not an uncommon response. Violence can follow rage pretty quickly. So I understand that you have to do what you have to in order to keep yourself safe, even if that means smiling graciously (while throwing up a little in your mouth) just until you can find the nearest friend or exit. It’s a fucked up but true fact that we are not safe on the streets, not online, and sometimes not even in our own homes.
As far as dealing with online harassment, for me, the gloves are fucking off. No holds barred. Zero tolerance at this point, not only for myself but for when I see it happen to other women. It took me awhile to get here, but here I am now and I’m just getting started. Women are not only get harassed on the street, but we now have to deal with being accosted while online. In addition, let me just say this: Guys, if you’re asking for nudes from a stranger, show some fucking self-respect and don’t be such a goddamn slut. And unless asked directly, keep your shitty dick pics to yourself.
When someone says something like, “What did you expect?,” it implies that I am somehow at fault. The tired old “she’s asking for it” routine. I’m sure as fuck not asking for it, and you’re not asking for it either. The whole “boys will be boys” mentality all too often is applied to grown ass men which only compounds things. It’s an unfair double standard, and it does a disservice to us all.
Not to mention ALL of that is bullshit, and it does nothing but perpetuate this already toxic environment. Men’s actions get minimized or even excused, by men and women both (internalized misogyny is a hell of a thing). At the same time we are shifting the blame to the woman for actions that are well beyond her control.
But I will no longer be complicit. I will no longer ignore it and just hope it goes away. I think it’s pretty clear at this point in history, it won’t. Not without a fucking fight. I choose to fight. So I will call this shit out, especially on the internet where these fuckwits think they have free reign. I will fight back with all the snark and “fuck you” attitude I can muster (which is considerable). While online, I will not allow any kind of abusive behavior happen in front of me without consequences. Not anymore and not on my watch.