I’ve had a wide range of experiences with street harassment, from so-called “compliments” to drunk randos telling me I was unworthy. The latter is the kind of street harassment that doesn’t get talked about. It should.
When I was 23 years old, I moved into my first real apartment. It was exhilarating. One morning in July, on my way to get coffee, a visibly drunk guy stumbled into my path. “Hey!” he yelled, blocking me. I looked at him. “Too ugly!” he yelled. I stared, confused. “Too ugly for me!” At that, I said “ah.” And I walked around him.
It was the first time I’d ever been called ugly by a stranger. I remember doing a bit of googling to get myself right. I found a clinical psych study on feministing.com that helped me a lot. It showed that men try to fuck with women who look employable.
But that doesn’t quite cover it. Here’s the truth: only the most insecure of men would feel the need to aim their dicks at you like scepters and declare themselves the arbiters of human worth. You know they are not, because it would never occur to you to respect them. They had to insult you clumsily in order to get your attention. That’s not power. That’s the opposite of power. That’s a tiny threatened creature biting your ankles. Do you (answer honestly!) derive your self esteem from some drunk middle aged randos getting hard? Exactly. If they think you do, they need to believe it — because they have nothing else.
Pity them if you want. But nothing more.
One final note: in the days after this happened, it really did get to me. If it’s getting to you, please know that’s normal. Please also know it’s meaningless, some nobody’s petty attempt to take you down a peg. And please know that it happens to so many of us. We are ashamed to talk about it because we think it reflects poorly on us. It doesn’t. It’s the same sick bullshit every woman faces in our society. You are in very, very, VERY good company.