When I was 12 my school had a non-uniform day. As I arrived at the bus stop to take myself to school dressed in a vest, cardigan and New Look jeans, a man approached me. “You should smile more, what’s your name?” My heart beat out my chest, there was no one else at the bus stop. This was the scenario my mum had always warned me about, and I knew to aim for the crotch if he tried anything. I ignored him. “Oi, why won’t you chat to me?” He was pretty tall and I hadn’t yet hit my end height of 5”3. I felt like a little mouse that had been cornered by a hungry Tom-cat.
I gave him a fake name and he asked my age. I told him I was 12 and he stood back, flabbergasted and began walking away, loudly announcing that if I didn’t dress like a slag, I might not get treated like one. Around 2 minutes later the bus arrived, and I spent the whole journey pulling up my vest around my neck that wasn’t even exposing my over developed tween chest anyway. This, was my first incident with the smile police. The smile police are the guys that take it upon themselves to tell women they should smile, nobody knows where they came from, or where their monthly meetings are held. But they exist, and they’re relentlessly armed with derogatory terms if you ignore them, or tell them to fuck off. They come from the same group of arseholes that send you unsolicited dick pics, DM you after you’ve posted a selfie online and get all up in your business about how you should live your life. Since the beginning of time, they’ve also teamed up with their sister group, well known to us as “the mean girls”.
The mean girls are the ones who don’t like that you’ve called yourself pretty. They don’t compliment their friends, they alienate other women from their group, they probably think Tampax is a reasonable price and are frequent users of the word “slag” in reference to girls they know that went home with their boy mate after a Saturday night on the ‘bucas in town. Those of us who don’t identify as mean girls still love them though, we just sit and wait, patiently, to see the error of their ways.
I went to an arts university (wOw TiSh So K00l! wHaT a hIpStEr! Lol I’m poor. Pls hire me.) So throughout the three years of studying for my BA in Journalism, I would hound the internet with self-promotion every time I wrote something. I’d get a lot of compliments, but I also got radio silence from a couple of girls I considered really good friends. This completely baffled me as it would be the same people tweeting their support for strangers who were already successful with their art, in whichever form that may be. As a person with anxiety, this equalled that my work wasn’t good enough. I began withdrawing a little from posting because I feared I was being laughed at behind my back. This haunts me even now, I know I’d be awesome at vlogging, but I can’t deal with the thought of someone laughing AT me. Even if I don’t know who they actually are. While I’m here addressing the mean girl topic, let’s start something together. Compliment some girls today. A stranger, a friend, your mum, anyone! Do it and see how positive you feel afterwards. Start making a conscious effort to compliment someone every day.
Anyway, back to the fuckboys.
You may have missed it but there has been a serious surge of girl power hitting Twitter c’lebs recently. Jen Kirkman, American comedian got women to tweet their harassment stories last month. Thousands flooded in.
@JenKirkman out for midday run in residential neighborhood, dude yells out car window at me “that’s how women get raped and abducted”
— Kira (@kirabirgitte) April 5, 2016
@JenKirkman a project manager basically asked what color my pubic hair is and then got angry that I reported him for harassment.
— Elle Ess (@ViaMarsala18) April 6, 2016
@JenKirkman A man grabbed my chest in a Spencer’s when I was 13, at the mall with family. Police asked if I did anything to provoke him.
— jamie (@jmemad) April 5, 2016
Many men tweeted that they were so sorry and had ‘no idea that it was this bad for us’, some men insisted that its #notallmen, and the women were probably exaggerating. LOL! In the immortal words of our Lord, Queen and Saviour Lady Gaga – “‘Til it happens to you, you won’t know how I feel. ‘Til it happens to you, you won’t know it won’t be real.” If you’re a man reading this, ask any woman you know about the last time they were harassed. You’ll be shocked. Of course, men can be harassed too, but the sheer volume of harassment towards women from men every day is sickening and dangerous. And the sad part is, we’re basically taught to suck it up and deal with it because “that’s just what happens”.
Australian model Emily Sears has also been doing a huge solid for women. Sears is a model, her photos on Instagram are absolute FIRE , sometimes she’s got her cleavage out, sometimes she’s wearing zero items of clothing. She feels awesome doing that, women feel empowered, and it’s all a happy time. No, actually it’s not. Emily receives graphic propositions and unwanted attention daily, then she started screenshotting the abuse and sending it to the girlfriends or families of these ervy bellends.
YAAAS, GIRL POWER.
This happens because some men feel like Emily is “asking for it” due to the photos she’s posting of herself. Having a more or less naked photo on the internet is not synonymous with inviting anyone to fuck you. It just isn’t, and it never will be. In fact, unless someone ACTUALLY SPECIFICALLY ASKS YOU to fuck them, show them your dick or touch them in any way, don’t. It’s actually really simple.
More recently, Sears asked the question “Why are you afraid of men?” her tweet got a very similar response to Jen Kirkman’s request for women to tweet their harassment.
@tweetemilysears for the amount of times I’ve been harassed not only by men I don’t know, but by men I do know.
— Daenerys Targaryen (@AzaliiaLexi) May 3, 2016
Despite women becoming more vocal about their abuse, it doesn’t stop or counteract the problem. One lone woman might have enough courage to tell a cat-caller in his car to go fuck himself, but it doesn’t make a12-year-old child cornered by someone in a dark street safe. Being a woman is such an empowering thing, but sometimes it’s scary enough to stop you setting foot outside of your house.
My body becomes sexual when I am turned on, not when you are.
— Emily Sears (@tweetemilysears) February 21, 2016
Featured image by Female Collective, a badass range of tees and totes, get yours here