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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » I am woman...so honk at me?

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Author Topic: I am woman...so honk at me?
lipsticksmack
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I did not realize, that riding a bike to my school would create such an uproar in the male population.
Apparently the sight of a female biking is sensational, to the point where a male must feel they need to honk from their cars.

This was yesterday, all I wanted to do was bike to my school to register for classes, yet nearly the entire bike ride I was endlessly honked at. I was not provocative, I wore shorts and a tank, it's effing summer, pretty simple outfit, no?

How do I respond to such gestures?
Well, I have no tolerance towards this disgusting objectification that is being presented. So I shout swear words at these men. I tell them to "eff off", or they get a taste of my middle finger.
-I feel no gratification from this at all.
All I get is to yell, at some inconsiderate person, who gets to drive off, probably laughing at my anger. Or maybe my words piss them off, and I do get a rise out of them.

My question: What IS the proper response?
Do you just disregard it, pretend it didn't happen? OH, they're petty and vial, this needs not concern me. How childish they are.
Or, do you say something back, create a scene?

OR
am i being too sensitive, and make a big deal out of this?

There is absolutely nothing wrong with admiring the beauty of another. But there is something wrong, when two men, the age of my father or older are sitting in a car honking at me. They could be husbands coming home from work. They could be fathers themselves. They could have grandchildren. Yet they choose to take a moment and honk at me. That is truly disgusting.

What is vial, is that, I had sunglasses on, my face practically hidden. So what is seen by these men? My body.

What if, I was a 14 year old girl, who had mature features? Half these men would be acting on pedophilia.

Does this cross into the line of sexual harassment?
What can be done? If anything at all.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, I am just truly distraught by how much this happened on a simple ride to school.

-If nothing can be said to these men, in what ways would you suggest for not only me, but other girls, to not feel so distraught about these occurrences?


I would like to add as well, "what real gratification are men even receiving from this act? Is there sexual gratification? An ego boost? What?"

[ 08-04-2011, 11:56 PM: Message edited by: lipsticksmack ]

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breath
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Dear lipstickmack,

I'm so proud of you to speaking up and reflecting on your feelings around this. Often times, many times we are taught or conditioned by society to let go or ignore these gestures or acts.


It takes a lot of courage to speak up and voice your anger and frustration around this. You have my full support.


It is NOT for these people to behave towards you in this manner, I'm sorry that you have to go through that.

I think people engage in this around the world and I think its' because they are in a relative positive of more "power" and authority as they are in a considerably larger vehicle on the road.

Your response on any given day will likely depend on the situation, how you are feeling, etc .

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lipsticksmack
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Breath,
Thank you very much for your support. As much as I was brushing it off of my shoulders yesterday, when I came home to think of my day, I realized that it held so much more of an impact.

I am generally use to it, I have had it happen before, numerously. I guess the fact that I have been working, or outside at the beach, or my backyard, or a friends house (not roaming the city in busy areas); my mind stopped being able to filter these gestures, as it use to do.

Therefore, me being REALLY out near busy streets, it felt overwhelming. It came to the point where a man even stopped and opened his door saying how beautiful I am. Then when I started telling him off, he said I wasn't beautiful. Which I told him was okay because his opinion was vain.

My father tells me to ignore it, and not act on anger, I know he says that to protect me, in case the person gets violent. But, I can't sit idly by either, letting them eyeball me the way that they do.

Again, thanks for your support : )

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breath
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I am glad to have this conversation with you because a petite-figured woman , I have experience similar situations in different countries and societies.

I don't feel comfortable giving you a formula for what you can do --in part, it's because I think that there isn't one. How you respond in any given situation will depend on a number of factors at that present moment-- as how you are feeling that day, how aggravated/angry you are this behavior, risk assessment so that you know how to escape/or stay safe in case thing escalate (ie. time of the day, other people on the street, etc).

It seems to me that you want to empower yourself in such circumstances, instead of being quiet about it. That's a very good sign and again shows your commitment to standing up for yourself and what's not acceptable to you. I commend that.


I have spend some time thinking about things from those people's point of view. And I do think that it has to do with power at some levels....I doubt that they would behave the same way if you were on the road in a large truck with wheels that were lift high up from the street.

[ 08-05-2011, 12:38 AM: Message edited by: breath ]

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eryn_smiles
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I think that the proper response is whatever you feel able to do at the time, depending on your yourself and your surroundings. I don't think you are being "too sensitive" or "making a big deal out of it".

I don't think men do receive any real gratification from this, other than asserting their male privilege.

There are a few activist movements around the world dealing with street harrassement towards women, such as "Blank Noise" in India. The only global one I know is "Hollaback!" They have a few braches through the US and you may like to get involved:
http://www.ihollaback.org/about/

--------------------
"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare."

Audre Lorde

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lipsticksmack
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Eryn_Smiles!
Thank you!!!! This what I was most looking for, which were activist groups, or just anything in general that had to deal with stopping or bringing awareness to this!
I read it and love it! There should be more groups like this!
I was trying to look up any programs that actually had to deal with the police department, because I do know that woman officers give awareness speeches to girls about society and such.
They should make it a movement, like the [delete] digital drama for cyberbullying! I mean, this is something that is most witnessed, to me, in the summer when girls wear their shorts and tanks. Summer is meant for fun, not harassment!

thanks again! ;]

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lipsticksmack
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http://www.stopstreetharassment.org/

=]

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eryn_smiles
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Oh, that looks like a good organization too, thanks for pointing it out [Smile] . There needs to be a lot more awareness and support around this!

--------------------
"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare."

Audre Lorde

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Saffron Raymie
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Lipsticksmack, how awesome that you correctly identified it as objectification!

Objectification is a mind set in which one thinks that, despite the feelings of the person one is looking at/interacting with, their sexual desires and pleasure is more important that the person's they are enaging with. The objectifier sees their own sexual gratification as vital and to be provided by the person in question's body simply by that body being there, whether that is naked or clothed, whatever those clothes are. (It happened to me in baggy jeans and a long waterproof coat that was my grandad's!)

Sometimes, they'll honk only at people they find attractive, straining to see the face of every girl they pass. It's a way of saying, "HEY! I AM TURNED ON BY YOUR BODY! THAT IS IMPORTANT! THAT MAKES YOUR BODY IMPORTANT! BECAUSE OF ME! ME! AND YOU CAN'T STOP ME! IT'S YOUR BODY'S FAULT!"

Sometimes, they'll just to it at every girl. It's a way of saying "GIRLS EXIST FOR ME! ME! FOR MY PLEASURE! YOU'RE ALL OBJECTS!!" (although sometimes girls can do it to boys, obviously that's just as bad).

Sometime's it's just about crappy beliefs about gender. The objectifier wants to show their mates how much of a 'man' they are, because they have such a 'high level' of supposed sexual desire for women. However, it's only a tiny proprtion of men that do it, and it's not always men. This desire to 'prove' masculinity could be because of homophobia (wanting to show they aren't gay), wanting to show that they have a 'higher' sex drive than women (sexism), or trying to show that women's feelings don't matter to them (being 'manly' and not caring about feelings). All this is caused by the sexism and homophobia of culture, based on absolute trash about 'what women are like' and 'what men are like' and 'how important' each of them are. As well as trash about only being one gender and doing sex with one gender, and those genders being opposite.

Honestly, if they really just thought you were beautiful, they would respect you enough to leave a stranger be, without assuming that you are dying to know which men feel sexual attraction to you without seeing what that man looks like and having desires of your own. Including the desire to be repulsed by other's advances who you are not attracted to. Surely, if they really wanted to interact with you, a cute smile in your direction, a little friendly eye contact and then dropping it when you don't seem to want to resond would be much better.

What to do? When it happens to me I just fantasize about hurting them and completely ignore it. Once when a guy was straining (at the wheel of a van no less) to see what I looked like I just stared right back in a really hostile way. Then I thought, hey, he probably wasn't looking at me to objectify...then he proved me wrong and honked at another girl, who just looked scared. I had a fantasy of breakling all his windows. Made me feel a little better, but we all do self-care differently, so go with what feels best.

Take care of yourself, and honestly, those who objectify have been brainwashed by culture. You haven't. That gives you a healthier sexuality than them already. Always remember that your body is wonderful and yours , and is there FOR YOU. For your own pleasure and as a tool for you to hae a life. They CAN'T take that away from you. You've already won.

Also, being involved with educating others about healthy sexuality and activism like Hollaback can be like soup for the soul.

[ 08-05-2011, 02:17 PM: Message edited by: RaeRay2112 ]

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Jill2000Plus
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Men honk and call at me too, but mostly it's to tell me how fat and ugly I am. Those guys are douchebags, and they do what they do to scare you/announce that they have decided how attractive you are and you may now respond by feeling either honored if they have deemed you hot or ashamed if they have deemed you not. That and the stuff that RaeRay2112 said.

--------------------
Always knock before entering my room when I am in there alone, as I may be doing all sorts of wonderfully thrilling things that I'd rather you didn't see.

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