Yesterday after work I was at the mall – no kids, no Seth – looking for sandals. I don’t have a lot of time alone anymore since having the kids, especially when doing little random things – like, shopping for sandals – so it’s weird when I am out by myself on a non-occasion. But of course, one of the 3 times I am, there’s a situation. So, I’m walking through the mall minding my own business when I notice a small group of men, probably in their late 20s, standing at one of those kiosks in the distance ahead of me. They’re being loud and a little obnoxious and I immediately decide, based on the fact that A) they’re at one one of those kiosks (predominantly geared at women and are already annoying) and B) I’m not in the mood to entertain any interaction, I’m not going to make eye contact. As I begin to walk by I notice one of the men is caressing this mannequin’s ass on display like it’s the most fun he’s had since Y2K. In this moment, I also curse all men but particularly this kind for being obnoxious assholes. I walk by, no eye contact is made. I don’t even bother to listen to what they’re saying and all is well. I continue on my way to the store straight ahead and never look back.
Probably 15 minutes later, I leave the store to see these same guys walking towards me. At this point they’re probably 100+ ft away, so I turn left to go to my next stop and don’t think much about it. Until, UNTIL, one of them, the notorious mannequin ass-caresser, is jogging up to me. I can see him in my peripherals and feel his looming presence.
When I looked over he was so close, I actually jumped a little. This man was probably 6’4, 300 lbs and right next to me in an otherwise empty spot – there was no way of pretending I didn’t see him so I did the best I could:
“Hiiiiii?” – total bitch face, still walking
“Hey beautiful, you wanna put your number in this phone?” – total dickhole, thinks he’s the cat’s meow, in my personal space, pushing his cell phone at me
IS THIS REAL LIFE? ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING?!
At this point, I literally say nothing and keep walking. He and his friend continue to follow me, continuing to try to get my attention. I dodge into the next store that seems relevant, blood boiling. I am pissed. I’m beyond pissed. I’m fuming. Here I am minding my own GD business, trying to do my shopping thing and get out of here so I can go home to have dinner with my family and these assholes are perusing the mall being obnoxious, degrading, worthless pieces of crap acting fucking entitled to not just things that don’t belong to them but people they don’t even know. UM. No thanks.
I wanted to go give them a verbal lashing about how I don’t owe them anything. To tell them they don’t have a right to make any person feel uncomfortable for their own shits and giggles. That it’s not fucking flattering to be chased down by two dumbass grown men in the middle of shopping mall only to have a fucking phone shoved in your face with some sleazy pick up line. I wanted to ask them if they were raised by a bunch of rabid squirrels. If they were attention deprived as children. And, in the most mom-like manner ever, I wanted to remind them that I am somebody’s daughter and to ask them how they’d feel if some random guys approached their daughter the exact way they just did. I wanted to ask if they’d feel comfortable sending her out alone and trusting other men to be respectful after knowing how they act in public. I wanted to ask how they thought their mom would feel about them being such douche bags.
If any of that reaction seems over the top, I’m not sorry. For a lifetime, I’ve often found myself in similar situations, as have my friends. As a woman, it’s part of the routine – and it’s fucking nauseating. It’s disrespectful, it’s gross and it’s fucking mind-blowing that as a 32-year-old mother of two I can’t go to the fucking shopping mall at 4pm in the afternoon without dealing with this bullshit. IT IS FUCKING UNREAL that we have fostered such a sense of entitlement into the men in this society that they literally think there’s nothing wrong with treating women like nothing other than a walking, talking toy of pleasure. Seriously – go fuck yourselves.
I’m not a fucking domesticated pet, I’m not going to come when you holler at me.
I’m completely allowed to be out by myself, minding my own God damned fucking business. It does not mean I’m some mindless, lost girl looking for man.
No, I don’t want you to have my number and waving that shitty phone in my face isn’t going to hypnotize me into it because I HAVE A BRAIN.
If I wanted you to know what I was doing later, I would have told you – you don’t have to chase me down the street to ask.
Thanks for the compliments on the size of my (insert body part here), but I’m also really fucking smart, I’m hilarious, I’m kind, I’m generous – those are much more respectable things and really I couldn’t care less about what you think of my body and you actually have ZERO RIGHTS to it.
If I want to talk to someone about how I’m doing, I’ll call a friend. I’m not going to unload on some fucking needy, disrespectful stranger on the street looking for a piece of ass.
I have had this conversation with so many women. I mean, what do you think is going to happen when you catcall a woman? Do you think she’s just going to walk up to you and get on her knees? I mean, really, what are your expectations?! And do you ever think about what that must feel like? The line between flattery and disrespect isn’t all that fine, there’s a big difference between the two and it’s called common sense and self awareness. If you think yelling/whistling down the street, following a woman down the sidewalk saying ‘damn girl’ and licking your lips or waving a phone in her face at the mall is flattering, seriously go back to the hole in the ground you came from. Seat’s taken.
I left the mall with a couple tops and one life-long goal, to teach my sons one very valuable lesson that depressingly often gets muddled between tradition, politics and stereotypes:
Women are people, equal to men. They owe nothing to, they aren’t owned by and are definitely not here solely to serve any man.
I plan on raising two boys who are proud to be feminists and know exactly what that means. If you have a problem with that, get educated: