Wednesday, August 02, 2006

You talkin' to me?

I'm a tall woman and I walk fast and usually I'm thinking about work when I walk. But no matter what I"m thinking of I always try to keep my wits about me. Because I live in a city there are time when I come across other folk. Like last week when I was picking up a coat from the dry cleaners. I was stomping down the street and ahead of me I spied a chap loitering about.
Now you know the type, kind of scruffy looking, kind of wasted. As soon as I draw close he says...'Hey beautiful...hey hey, hey where you going? Hey nice arse.'
I keep on walking, get my coat, pay the girl and return home. There you go, no biggie right?
Right, except if I had been walking down the same street with Etheline it would have gone like this...
'Hey beautiful...hey hey, hey where you going? hey nice arse.'
'Excuse me! Are you talkin' to me?'
'Where you going?'
'Etheline come on.'
'None of your fucking business, that's where I"m going. Where do you get off talking to me. Why can't you just shut your mouth. You think I want to hear this kind of shit when I'm going about my business.'
'Hey fuck off lady.'
'No you fuck off.'
'Etheline come on.'
'No Cat, it's bollocks, what we can't even walk down the street now without some fucking creep insulting us?'
And blah blah blah....
Now some women think what Etheline does (confronting every whisperer, whistler, cat-caller) is right on! And lots of yeah, why should we put up with it and so on. One of her friends even advocates slapping men who mutter stuff.
There is a whole site now devoted to naming and shaming bozos on the street. You can find it at www.hollabacknyc.blogspot.com. On this site gals take pictures and post the pictures on the web. Thus the next time some guy whistles at you, you can snap his photo and yell abuse at him as he passes by.
Right on!
Except it is not right on. It's pretty bloody stupid in my view. It's the one sure way to escalate a non-situation into a situation. Not always, but more often than not and it only takes one time for someone to get hurt. Maybe some guy really does not want his photo taken and decides you're not going anywhere with your phone. What then?
I can fight, I'm a fairly good fighter. Years of being knocked about in kickboxing have made me reasonably strong and fit, but I've said this before and I'll say it again, I'm not half as strong as the flabbiest non fighting man out there. I don't think my knowing that is letting the sisterhood down, I'm simply stating a fact. I have one third of the testosterone, ergo I'm not as strong.
It is not weakness to know your physical capabilities. It is not weakness to avoid conflict, it is not weakness to ignore obviously mentally deficient men on the streets, it is not weakness to ignore 'lookin' good baby', it is not weakness to ignore 'show us your cunt' and carry on your way.
It is not weakness to know how to avoid a confrontation.
A generation of girls are growing up fed on a diet of Buffy and Tomb Raider and Resident Evil. They equate risk with fearlessness, cocksure that if they get in trouble they can 'HI- YAH KAZAMM!' their way out of it. The little goth kid used to suffer from kickassitedness until I set her straight by holding her in a very simple lock that she could not break out of and then convincing her that a man could easily do the same.
I wasn't trying to frighten her. Of course women should have the right to go where they want at any time they want, wear what they want, in any state they want and still be safe. But this is the real world, and the real world doesn't give two shits about what feminists or ass kicking girls or their snappy sisters think. The real world can slap you one in the chops faster that you can say 'hey' or whip out your mobile phone. The real world can smell weakness like a fart in a lift.
Think before you holla back. You might not always get away with it.

12 Comments:

Blogger beezer said...

Yes indeed, avoid confrontation at all costs, that's my motto! These days I accept whistles and comments with a certain amount of grattitude as they are getting fewer the older I get. Although I have a theory that builders are just politer these days and their english may not be great as they are Polish. Deluded!

12:32 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

The less confrontation the better in my view. I understand that flare of anger when someone says something offensive to you, but is it worth getting into a verbal fight about? Will it change the other person, will he suddenly say, 'Gosh, I didn't realise 'can I see your cunt' was a bad thing to say, I won't do it anymore so.'

12:57 p.m.  
Blogger Ayman said...

Things are off da hook today!

Holla!

2:30 p.m.  
Blogger Anna said...

Better safe than dead; that's my motto. Of course, being non-confrontational does not guarantee safety. I always try to appear confident without being threatening; regardless of how it feels inside.

2:33 p.m.  
Blogger SheBah said...

FMC - I'm sorry, but this is a form of bullying, and I have alway been taught to stand up to bullies. When it's happened to me, I've stopped and asked the guy directly in a reasonable voice "how would you feel if someone said that to your wife/girlfriend/sister/mother" (depending on the age of the bully).
The usual reaction is an apology or a shamefaced titter. Mind you, how I react depends on my mood of the day, it could be a straight "Piss off" or a silent thumb and index finger gesture indicating the very small size of his penis (this one is handy in car rage incidents too, where you can accellerate quicky away from the scene!)

2:55 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Ayman welcome, afternoon Anna, Miss Shebah, alway a pleasure. And how goes the building work?
Yes I agree is it a form of bullying. And I agree that nine time out of ten a calm word might help, but I've seen people react in a very hostile manner to being called out. Etheline's dumb friend who thinks they should get a slap scares the hell out of me. A slap?
And frankly I don't want to have any form of conversation with someone that thinks 'show us yer cunt' is a good opening line.

3:09 p.m.  
Blogger SheBah said...

A keen sense of humour helps too, just think of them as brain deficient chimps. The building stuff is not going well, the replacement plumber has f***ed up our boiler by turning it on whilst the radiators were empty, and claiming that something blew in the boiler co-incidentally, nothing to do with him, the total Fuckwit. You can see I am really enjoying this house fixing up stuff, not!

4:37 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Oh Jesus. Do you have to replace the whole boiler now?

4:58 p.m.  
Blogger SheBah said...

Don't know yet, am burying my head in the sand and leaving it up to the other half - this must be the most relationship testing thing anyone can do - if we still like each other at the end of this we'll be bombproof. At present we are still laughing, but in a slightly strained way!

5:02 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

I know that one. Chin up ducky, it will all work out. Gin, gin might help.

5:46 p.m.  
Blogger Kim Ayres said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:17 p.m.  
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