It’s not easy being a female especially when your gender dictates the type of treatment you receive in public spaces. The following list of things that males sometimes do (unintentionally or intentionally) showcase just how difficult it can be for women to receive fair treatment on a day-to-day basis.
Source list available at the end.
Some guy approached me at the grocery store last night. I was looking at a vegetable display and felt fingers scratching at/touching the arm of my coat. I jumped about a mile, stepped away, and looked up to find some random guy (60s maybe?) there.
He said, “I have to watch what you’re buying.” I kind of just looked at him and said, “Why?” He responded with, “I don’t have much hair and you don’t seem to have that problem!” (True he was mostly bald, and I have hair down past my waist).
At this point, I relaxed because I’ve had long hair my whole life and people accosting me about it was a very common thing. He grinned, told me that my hair was beautiful, and went about his business. I thanked him and went about mine. It was a happy ending, but the beginning was definitely creepy.
So yeah, unexpected touching is a “No.” Had he started the conversation verbally, it would have been an entirely positive experience, but touching my arm to get my attention quickly made it weird.
When I took my car to my dealership for some service, I gave my keys to the mechanic and went inside to wait without saying anything to him. Late that day, I got a friend request on social media. He’d apparently taken my professional car file to figure out who I was and found me. This file also gave access to my address and phone number, so I was pretty worried and creeped out.
I also used to have a boss who would only hire women and noted down their addresses from on their resumes so that he could follow them home and hit on them.
Beyond unwanted body contact and unwanted come-ons. Something that actually really bothers me (especially now that I’m getting older) is how in professional and academic contexts, men don’t always seem to notice when they are monopolizing the conversation.
Also, when they are either not doing the same amount of work or drastically overstating their importance in the work, etc. Now I’m not saying that this always happens, however, it has happened to me enough times that I have gotten upset over it.
When men have an entitled attitude. This one guy was so confident that I would go on a dinner date with him and to a hotel after because he had lots of money. When I told him that I wasn’t interested, he started flipping out and started cussing me out. I’m not going to any strange places with you if I don’t know who you are.
Telling women to smile. I’m a guy, and I hate hearing this. I work a laborious job and there are two other women there. One is newer and pretty quiet. Just last week, a coworker of mine said, “I don’t think I like her because she always looks so serious and never smiles.” I responded with, “Jon, you walk around looking like a sour redneck 24/7. Why don’t you ever smile?” I didn’t get a response.
A group of guys started loudly catcalling me as I was walking towards my car one night. They were yelling out relatively innocuous things (“Hey beautiful” and “I like your dress”). We were on a dark side street. They were very drunk, and there was three of them. I was terrified by the time I reached my car.
Guys who try to take sneaky pictures of you. Initially, I didn’t even notice it until one time his phone wasn’t on silent.
Not respecting my “No.” I don’t need to justify to you why I’m not interested. I don’t need to have a boyfriend for you to back off. I don’t need to tell you why I’m dressed the way that I’m dressed. Just NO. Respect my answer because I don’t owe you anything.
I don’t mind it when people ask me for my number or ask me out as long as they are respectful when I tell them “No.” I respect the hell out of a man that can take rejection and not do a 180 and get invasive or rude. It makes me so uncomfortable to have to deal with these types of interactions.
Don’t follow a woman around Walmart taking pictures of her butt. I just wanted a bag of medium grain rice…
There are a lot of old men in my college town scouting for younger girlfriends. Guys that are twice or three times my age will approach me and my friends and start asking us personal questions while leaning in and trying to touch us.
This also happened when I was a teenager, and some guys did not back off even if when I mentioned my age. A very common question before the “Boyfriend?” question is asking us where we live (street address) for some reason. I don’t even make eye contact anymore when this happens, or I’d politely ask them to leave me alone, but they don’t budge.
Women in their early 20s aren’t interested in guys who are 50+ unless they have something going for them, and even then those are most likely women who are looking for a “Sugar Daddy” and not a boyfriend.
Being a petite person, men in bars always seem to think that it’s a good idea to try and literally pick me up. They see it as a way of flirting. I see it as a way to get severely injured if i’m dropped.
Living in NYC, I got a couple months or so out of each bodega in the neighborhood before I couldn’t take it anymore and had to seek out another.
It was always the exact same guy at the deli who was immediately a little too comfortable with me exclaiming things like:
“Hey sweetie, do you want a sandwich?”
“You’re so beautiful, you know that?”
“Where’s your husband? No husband? Okay, princess!”
The last deli I had to abandon, the guy behind the counter would say goodnight to me like this: “Night-night, princess!” Sometimes he would even make a kissy noise after.
Don’t even get me started on the late night Uber drivers. You are driving me HOME. It’s not your job to lasciviously compliment my outfit or repeatedly ask me why I’m not married.
Coming on too strong too soon. It usually makes me feel like they’ve put me on a pedestal, and they only see what they want to see.
Yesterday, I was walking outside my office building when a stranger passing by me WHISPERED, “Smiiiiiile.”
If we’re the only two people at the bus stop, there is no reason why you need to stand directly next to me.
When people constantly want to call you pet names like: “Baby, Boo, Sweetie, and Darling.”
At my old gym, there was this guy who used to sit in the hot tub and it was RIGHT outside the entrance of the women’s locker room. He used to stare at the women, sucking his teeth, and head nodding at us usually with an eyebrow waggle for the ones who he found extra appealing. God forbid you wanted to use the hot tub as well.
“No, I don’t want a shoulder massage.”
“No, you can’t rub my feet.”
“No, I don’t want to give you my number. No, I won’t call you sometime.”
And you could HEAR him sucking his teeth from inside the women’s showers. I kept expecting to open the curtains and find him standing there. I heard him sucking his teeth behind me one night as I was crossing the parking lot to my car. I think I set a world record for how quickly I got to my car and locked the doors behind me.
I actually mentioned him as a specific reason why I was canceling my membership. Based on the “Likes” to my Yelp review, I suspect I wasn’t the only one he had creeped on.
When a guy stands near me and just smiles at me for several minutes nonstop without even saying a word.
When they yell or whistle at you from a car. Im someone who loves to walk and cant seem to do so without getting treated like a piece of meat. Like seriously, when has that ever worked on a girl.
When there’s a bunch of guys standing around, and one of them see’s me walking towards them and they do like this “nod thing” to their friends as in “Check her out.” Then, they all stare me down until I’ve passed them.
Please… I’ve been sexually assaulted by a group of men before who all grabbed and surrounded me the second I was next to them even though I was just trying to walk by.
By doing this, you give me legit panic attacks. I’m trying to cross the street or walk another way whenever possible.
My old boss asked me if he could borrow my car to run an errand. When he returned 5 minutes later, he informed me that the horn didn’t work. I replied that it hasn’t worked for a couple of years, and I didn’t bother to fixed it because I’ve never had the need to.
Later, I went somewhere with him as the driver and discovered how he knew that my horn was broken in such a short amount of time. Every woman that he would pass, he would give a couple of toots to attract their attention.
I have no idea how he thought this strategy would play out.
What makes me uncomfortable is when men ask me what makes me uncomfortable, and then they go on to tell me that I’m wrong.
“I don’t understand.”
“I’m a prude.”
“I was asking for it.”
“It’s because of my clothes.”
“It happens to guys, too”
… and on and on and on.
Getting hit on at work, especially when you’re in a service industry role. I can’t get away from you because part of my job is to be “nice and polite” to you. I can’t tell you to “flip off” or I might get fired. I hated it when guys used to do this to me when I was a waitress/barmaid.
Men who get mad at me for not acknowledging them, not smiling at them when they pass me on the street, and when they make comments like: “What’s wrong? Smile, beautiful!”
Posts are edited for clarity.