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Do women have a reason to be “crazy, overcritical bitches?”

As I was scrolling along through various other blogs during my free time, I happened upon a blog entry that really captured the essence of some women’s struggles in society through the story and experiences of one woman. I thought I would like to share the entry and give some commentary about her write up.

“Just last week I happened to be awake at 3 am and heard ‘go away, stop it’ from outside my apartment window. Of course I was worried and wound up going outside with my cell phone and my pocket knife (the cell phone so I could pretend I was on it). I found a woman across the street, 18-20, somewhat drunk and trying to pull away from a guy claiming to be her boyfriend. After walking to the end of the block and back I sucked it up and stopped right next to them and asked her if she was okay. No. I asked if she knew him. Yes. I asked if he was her boyfriend. No. I asked if she wanted to go with him. No. I told her she could come with me. He wouldn’t let go of her arm and kept talking to her with the platitudes women are familiar with – come on baby, I’ll take you home, just hang out with me, we were having such a good time – and eventually he gave in after seeing I had my finger on the dial button, but he was vibrating on the spot and he was pissed. Then he kept talking to me with all the insults women are familiar with – bitch, cunt, stupid fucking slut, etcetera forever. And of course he went after her for “leading him on.” I got her in a cab from my front door and went so far as to make sure I didn’t turn on any  lights when I went inside so he wouldn’t know that my apartment was on the basement level facing the street where he was standing.

But this isn’t a problem or anything.

A few months ago I was working late shifts at work and getting off at 3 am. I only live a few blocks from there, so I was walking home. This was when there was a series of attacks against women in my neighbourhood. Not rapes, but escalating attempts to harm women, involving choking. So yes, I was on red alert. A group of five men from the bars saw me walking home. They started calling out to me – again, with all the lines women are used to (that, by the way guys, are not in the least bit attractive) – hey baby, where you goin, come on just stay and chat, a pretty thing like you shouldn’t be going home alone, where do you live. I ignored them and walked faster, and they sped up to keep up with me. Five men in their 20s. Following me home, drunk, and getting progressively angrier that I wouldn’t talk to them. ‘Why the fuck you being so rude? We just want to talk, quit being such a frigid bitch.’ *guffaw guffaw* ‘Baby come on slow down, have some coffee with us.’ I walked even faster, still not talking to them. I have foot and knee injuries, so this was getting really painful and I couldn’t have broken into a run if I’d tried. They thought this whole thing was quite hilarious and quite rude of me, never mind that I’m the one being followed home by drunk strangers. I finally looped a block and backtracked to the main road, which is really well-lit, and plopped myself dead centre in the middle of the ambulance-police combo that is in front of one of the bars every Saturday night without fail.

But street harassment isn’t a problem or anything.

…..

And then having to listen to people say, ‘You’re exaggerating. Men aren’t like that, quit trying to see the worst in people. Men get harassed too, just ignore them and walk away. It’s the same thing.’ Listening to people just step right over the fact that if woman deems a guy creepy, she’s told she’s being too critical and she needs to lower her standards, but if a man deems a woman possessive, controlling, demanding, jealous, bitchy, clingy, psycho, on her period, whiny, or outright dangerous he’s commended on his standards and congratulated on a bullet deftly dodged.

How many women does it take to bring these things to light before people stop thinking we’re crazy, over-critical bitches?”

-whataboutthemenses.tumblr.com

(For the sake of getting to the point, I erased much of the post when I copied it onto this post. However, I urge you all to read the entire post here: http://whataboutthemenses.tumblr.com/post/30925870034/i-am-incredibly-sick-of-people-right-now)

Now this post in particular received well over 20,000 responses, most of them positive,  others dismissed her experiences as events that occur “on rare occasions.” These particular responders reasoned that because her experiences were so difficult, they couldn’t possibly occur to every single woman. In fact, they supposed, this woman was probably responsible for these actions; she may have provoked the men because of what she was wearing, because of her decision to live in such a “bad area” (In fact, she lives in one of the most desirable neighborhoods in her city, well-policed and all).The fact of the matter is that this does indeed occur; it’s incredibly so that women have also been criticized because of their complaints as a result of these experiences. The author mentions “oversensitive” and “bitchy” are among these criticisms.

But who is to blame for this? Can we really point the finger at men and simply end it at that?  I think becoming more aware of the society that shapes us to deem certain things as acceptable behavior or unacceptable behavior on the basis of our gender is the primary goal. We shouldn’t emphasize who is to blame, but what we can do to resolve these situations, and bring awareness to the unruly behaviors exhibited based on the influence of social constructs.


5 Comments

  1. zhassan2013 says:

    Wow, I see this stuff on television but never heard of it in such close vicinity of my area. I’m sorry for your experiences with that. I think it is a social construct that is creating this idea that it is okay to interact with women that way. I noticed that you mentioned drunk men as the antagonists. Along with thinking that it is okay for women to be treated like that, I think society makes it okay to be so intoxicated and opens doors for them to commit these acts out of lack of awareness. We have to stop making excuses and do something about this.

  2. pammiano says:

    In my opinion these type situations probably happen quite often – that is unwanted or unwelcomed advances or attention by men toward women. Whether it is just whistling and catcalls, groping in a club or more aggressive forms like the examples in the blog, women – especially younger women – are targets for this behavior. Especially if she is attractive, or dresses up, or is blonde, or a red head, or a brunette, or is curvy, or not, or is in a bar, or is on the street, or is…just there. Sadly it just seems that women cannot win with the double standard in place – either she is “asking for it” if she looks good, or not worth the time of day if she does not take care with her appearance.

    But you make a point – unfortunately, women often treat each other just as badly – “She’s a slut.” “Look at how she dresses?” “What a bitch.” – How often do we say that about/to each other when a woman does not act in a way we perceive she should? That is not unlike the men who expect something just because.

    Like the movies and videos we have watched in class, it is just astounding to find that apparently men do not have a moral compass and therefore women are to blame for leading men astray. Damn that Eve with the apple, she ruined it for the rest of us women.

    I think women need to address this laughable argument that we are responsible for men’s behavior and their reactions to us – men certainly would not accept the opposite argument about us.

    That means changing media, society and even us women. Most importantly, men do need to be accountable for what they do and stop blaming women.

  3. Karihan Hamida says:

    It is always sad to hear/read/learn about these daily issues that are present all around us. I feel unless the double standard of men and women are equalized, we will always face these issues- not because these issues aren’t brought up often enough but because no matter how much we talk about them, actions still speak louder than words. Actions must change, if there is no one to blame then who needs to be corrected? Just as the previous comment mentioned, media will continue to portray these actions as ok- which it is not. when men try to immitate what media wants them to be, which is drunk inappropriate assholes, then what do you expect in society? Sadly media also brainwashes society to think that these types of men are attractive. I also believe that more woman need to be aware of these issues, as well as men, because to make a change you must incorporate that change in a new generation. We must teach the new generations on earth right from wrong, and start raising our young boys to be gentlemen.

  4. dsielski says:

    There is definitely a double standard between men and women in society. The one I recognized most blatantly would have to be when you were being followed down the street by five, drunk, twenty year old men. What I mean by this is that in your case, this must have been a horrible experience and awfully frightening to be by yourself. I feel as though most women in that situation would have the same feeling. However, the double standard I’m referring to would be if you put a man in the same situation being harassed by five, drunk, twenty year old girls. A man would probably enjoy this flirty behavior from the girls and would be flattered that they chose him to talk to. There are definitely still some major societal differences between the sexes.

  5. hebasha says:

    So, I totally did not intend for this excerpt to be my own. I should let you all know these encounters did not happen to me, but rather they are the experiences of one of my favorite bloggers (notice the quotes). She’s awesome and you all should check out her blog! Whataboutthemenses.tumblr.com

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