Today, I visited a number of historical sites in Atlanta. The kind of sites that make you feel you are truly not worthy. I saw the gravesite of Margaret Mitchell, the author of Gone With the Wind. You may not know it but she worked on behalf of black people in her community and is highly respected for more than being an author. Nearby, I was honoured to see the childhood home and burial site of Martin Luther King. Few people have earned the amount of respect he has. Living and dying in the name of freedom and respect will do that. As I wandered the city from one amazing historical site to another, each one reminding me of how important it is to treat other people as worthy humans, I experienced something that I have never experienced to such a degree in my life before.
Catcalls. At least ten different men felt the need to harass me with taunts and disrespectful words as I walked by them but did not acknowledge them. Obviously, my attire was provoking that attention as I wore a knee length blue dress with socks, running shoes for maximum step counts with no blisters, and a huge sun hat because preventing skin cancer is more important than vanity.
I should note though that one single man said good afternoon to me. It’s sad that I did not reply to him. Unfortunately, I was busy worrying if he would return a polite reply with more harassment. You see, ten harassers in a row ruin it for the nice guy after them. So, to that nice man who didn’t yell at me when I didn’t return his greeting, I wish you a lovely evening.
The funny thing is, just a few days ago, I joined the #distractinglysexy movement showing off the screens of statistics I work with every day. One sexist Nobel laureate needed to be reminded that sexism is his disorder, not mine.
I’ve now learned that women can’t work without distracting men. They also can’t walk down the streets without distracting men. So what can we do?