I don’t know that I have ever met a woman who hasn’t been harassed on the street at some point in her life. It happens with such frequency, I think it’s easy to almost forget what a violation it is. As women, we get used to blocking the sounds of men on the street out, turning the other way, or pretending we simply can’t hear them. But what if we didn’t ignore them? What would happen? One woman decided to find out.
A 28-year-old Minneapolis resident who identifies herself only as “Lindsay” has clearly thought a lot about things we can do to combat the pervasiveness of street harassment. She is responsible for the genius viral craigslist ad that surfaced last year in “Missed Connections,” where she calls out her harasser in a brilliant way. She keeps to the Missed Connections format, describing herself, her harasser, and the actions he takes – and ends with this:
If you really find a woman beautiful, don’t choose the juvenile selfish route that makes her feel weird and you look like an asshole. Just take a deep breath, commit the image to memory, and get on with your life. Or, if it’s really that great of an ass that you can’t possibly survive without commenting on it, post about it on CL missed connections after the fact and let her decide what to do about it.
She’s since started a project where she confronts her harassers and secretly films their reactions. It’s as gross as you’d think it would be. These guys are absolutely clueless:
After enduring countless encounters like the one above, Lindsay came up with the idea of Cards Against Harassment. The cards are tools for women to combat street harassment, and are downloadable for free on her site. They say things like,
Your Mom… would be really disappointed to learn she had raised a street harasser. Be a better man. Don’t comment on random people in the street.
I’m sorry. There must have been some confusion. See I thought I was minding my own business but apparently you thought I was asking you to comment on how I looked just by walking by. It’s not a compliment, it’s harassment. Keep it to yourself.
God I’d love to see the reaction of an idiot who gets a weird thrill by shouting at women in the street as he reads this card. Assuming of course, that he can read.
Women have had enough of this crap. The constant barrage of unwanted comments is exhausting. As with any public encounter, don’t use these cards if you feel like you are in an unsafe situation. If you are not particularly confrontational, don’t worry about it. It’s great that these cards exist anyway. We can get a collective kick out of knowing, some idiot, somewhere – is reading one right now.