A Reflection On Unwelcome Words
Posted: Jul 20 2017
“So if I buy you dinner tonight, you'll buy me breakfast?” ;)
Some may find this to be funny, or even clever as a pickup line. I know several people - especially of the male variety - laughed when I recounted this particular conversation with a consumer. I’ve worked in customer facing positions for many years now; a dental office, a bank, and several retail stores to name a few. Both male and female patrons can be unseemly, but the men have a particular habit of crossing the line.
Just the other day I read about an art project where viewers enter a dark space, put on headphones, and listen to the catcalls women face every day. Some male viewers couldn’t sit through the entire display, while others were shocked and disgusted; thinking of their female relatives that may experience this kind of harassment while simply trying to go about their daily routines. Others asserted that though this may happen to women, it also happens to men and we cannot disregard them from the conversation as well.
I’ve had the abhorrent experience of being on the receiving end of catcalling on many occasions.
I have been fortunate enough to never fear for my life, though feeling uncomfortable and disgusted are common. To me, the above comment was extremely disrespectful and inappropriate regardless of the situation - and especially in light of the fact that the oh-so-funny gentleman was old enough to be my father. Being whistled at, told to smile, that your body is bangin’ or any such thing by a stranger is not an enjoyable experience, contrary to the assertion that women should be thankful of such “compliments.” I’ve personally never met a man that has expressed facing this type of harassment, though I absolutely believe it could be happening to them too.
Regardless, this type of verbal exchange simply shouldn’t be happening. Male or female, no one deserves to feel as though they are an object being evaluated for the sheer pleasure and consumption of another person. Hopefully constructive and eye-opening conversations such as the ones from the art exhibit outlined above will continue to affect change so that we can progress as a society to treat each other with more love and r-e-s-p-e-c-t.