Fellas, please stop telling us to smile. I know you mean well and we can look down right mean sometimes but stop. Tell your fathers, uncles, brothers and sons to stop it too. You see, I take public transit and use my feet to get from point A to point B and there are a lot unsavory characters lurking on sidewalks and in traincars. Sure, you might not be one of them but I don’t like to wait around and find out. I have been verbally abused for rejecting someone’s romantic advances and I know women that have been physically hurt and followed for doing the same. Mind you, a lot of us try not to be abrasive to avoid such treatment but it does little to help because some men just can’t take no for an answer. We say we have boyfriends, but they see that other man, real or imagined, as competition or a obstacle to conquer. Some us tell them we’re lesbians, and many of us are, but they seem to think the cure for same gender love is swinging between their legs. A misinterpreted smile or hello can be dangerous. I hate to sound dramatic but it is that serious.
Not to mention, according to many of brothers I’ve discussed this issue with, they aren’t willing to intervene and check creepers because they don’t want to risk their own life. That means we have to fend for ourselves and figure out how to made sure we don’t end up in a volatile situation. Some us chose unattractive clothing or carry pepper spray and weapons but others use their faces. My mean mug, also known as resting bitch face, tends to be done unconsciously so people typically leave me alone by default. Other women aren’t so lucky and have had to perfect their mug over time. Yes, that means you might miss out on a date but I’d rather your ego be bruised than my face.
But don’t just take my word for it. Here are a few resources to help you understand street harassment as a social issue: