I received a record 12 honks on my walk today. Eight of which came from adult men driving white vans. I’m not too pleased about this “personal best.”
But what’s there to do about it? With the passes they're given, boys will be boys. Apparently, that statement rings true even after they’re grown. I used to think it had to do with their age, their nature. But that’s not true.
I could’ve flipped the bird at all twelve vehicles today, but I didn’t. Maybe I should have, but I probably would have received an onslaught of insults about asking for it, and I didn’t need any further interactions with strange men as a young girl walking alone far from home.
Yet every act of complicity is a go-ahead, a green light indicating for them to proceed. I make sure to frown at any honks, to show no weakness through amusement or a plastered smile, because I don’t want another young girl to be harassed twelve times in an hour. And before you say it, it doesn’t matter how mature she looks, considering that I’m five-foot-three and still get offered the kid’s menu at restaurants.
If I have a son and he so much as tries it, I will give him hell. Alone, I can’t reform the misogyny of a culture, but I can at least prevent a few beep-beeps and winks.
Vanity is such an unfair vice because at least a little part of me has been conditioned into being flattered. Flattered about what? That a creepy stranger liked the way I looked enough to honk and leer at me through their window? There’s no way to look at that without feeling nauseous. How sick is it that we can't teach boys but that I've been taught to be flattered?
I understand that I’m already dripping with privilege. What am I? A cisgender, straight individual, hailing from a financially stable household, living in a safe(ish) area. The fact that I can hardly handle what I go through when I know that so many more have it worse than I do only makes me more fearful.
So I hope you had a safe day, and that you have a safe tomorrow too.