The opposite end of traditional “street harassment”: the girl who never gets cat called
In feminist spaces I see a lot of feminists complain about being street harassed. I read about it and I totally sympathize with their experiences, even though I have never experienced them myself. I am a female myself but am not conventionally attractive. I am not hideous but more or less a plain jane. On top of that I have ALWAYS valued comfort over style, so dressing feminine isn’t something I do on a regular basis. I wear a lot of loose jeans and T-shirts. But yeah, anyway, know that I am not trying to play “who has it harder” or anything but rather I am making this to share my experiences of getting the opposite end of the shit-covered stick that is street harassment that I don’t see being mentioned. I call it street dismissal.
When I say street dismissal I am talking about men who feel the need to subtly announce that unattractive women are not worthy of respect or acknowledgement because they are not a conventionally attractive female or their fellow man.
Some examples I’ve personally experienced include:
- Many guys at parties will arrive or leave, give all the men handshakes, give the attractive women hugs, but won’t even make eye contact with me. I am not a guy or a hot girl so I don’t exist.
- I’ve been bumped into in public without an apology by men. I am not an attractive girl or your fellow man, so it makes sense for you to not even notice I am there.
- One time I was walking behind a group of attractive women. A guy spotted us. Opened the door for the three women and shut the door in my face. I am not worthy of his time because I am not attractive.
- I once was charged a cover on ladies night because I went out to the bar in my work uniform. (red shirt khaki pants)
- Another time at a bar, I saw an open space to order a drink. The guy sitting next to me saw me, raised his eyebrows and turned the other way to make sure I don’t DARE try to talk to him. (Because I totally went there to hit on him and NOT get a drink right?)
- I once went with my gay male friend to a straight guy’s house he knew. The first thing out of the straight guy’s mouth was “I was totally excited when you had a chick with you. Nevermind!” The whole night he offered my friend drinks and didn’t offer me a thing and seemed frustrated when I asked where the bathroom was. The only other thing he said that night was “Do you have any hot single friends that would come over here?”
- Another time I went with a female friend of mine to get drinks. We met up with her guy friend. He ordered a round of beers for everyone except me. His excuse was “he didn’t know she was going to bring someone along and he is low on money” that was until his guy friend from high school showed up unexpectedly and he quickly bought him a drink.
These are just examples that have happened to me. So my question is are there any other “unattractive” girls out there that experience things similar to this?
I just wanted to speak from the other perspective. We always hear the horror stories of sexism from the perspective of the women who are objectified by men in the sense of “oo I want that.” and not too many in the sense of “oo, ew DO NOT WANT.”
This may seem like a big long rant that looks like “WAH PRETTY GIRLS GET THINGS AND I DON’T OH MY LIFE SUCKS” but I don’t mean to come off that way. Because I feel the need to mention that guys don’t do this just to get laid. This is where it’s important to bring up the fact that we are treated with less respect than other men. Men aren’t decent people to other men because they want to fuck them. They are decent to them because they see them as equals that deserve basic respect and acknowledgement. But we are women and to these men either you try to fuck them because they are hot or want them to go away. An unattractive woman has no purpose to him.
Misogyny affects all women negatively.
When I saw the first line I thought this post was going to be a boohooing tale about someone who desperately wanted to get harassed by men for hotness validation, but it was nothing of the sort. This is important and we should definitely see this brought up more in conversations regarding men’s general attitudes toward and interactions with women.
I hear stories like this mostly from big women or women who used to be a lot bigger than they are now. A woman told me she was once straight up punched in the face, after the guy told her she was disgusting and fat, and he just walked on and laughed. And the saddest part is that she told me, a lot of women harrassed her as well :(
OP is right, women are not left alone or “ignored” just because men dont find them attractive. And as the OP says, ignoring someone can be done in a rude and aggressive way.
And some people get both.
I’m a super fat women and I both get harassed/streetcalled/rubbed up on in public, but I also get completely ignored.
One time super late at night I was on the train and a complete stranger, a man, came up to me and started screaming at me and demanding money. I was reading a book and he got in my face and physically slapped it out of my hands and onto the floor, yelling and threatening me and demanding money and calling me names/insulting me. I loudly stated that I didn’t know him and asked him to leave me alone. Nobody in the train car reacted. The only other woman there stared stonily ahead (I don’t blame her at all). Finally, a tall guy stood up and walked toward me… to sit next to the (slender, conventionally attractive woman) putting his body between her and the screaming guy assaulting me. Nobody addressed the screaming man threatening me. Nobody pushed the brightly lit blue call button to notify the conductor. I didn’t matter. The other (thinner, more conventionally attractive) woman who was (not yet) in the line of fire mattered more than I did.
I wound up scrambling off the train just before the doors closed at the next stop, even though it wasn’t my stop and I knew there’d be a 20+ minute wait for the next train. I really hoped the guy wouldn’t be able to follow me out. Part of the reason I didn’t stay on until my stop (which was the next one after) was because I didn’t want him to disembark with me and follow me home… something that’s happened before.
There are a lot of different ways to harass women. Both responding aggressively to their femininity/perceived sexual availability and also denying it, devaluing them because they aren’t feminine enough. Both are harmful. Both just… chip away at the person, at the soul, at the worth of someone. It’s a constant slow eroding drip wearing us down.
Yes to all this. I’ve been sexually harassed, fat shamed and invisible depending on how someone decides how valuable I am to them. It cuts at you.