Walking to the gym today, adopting my usual 'look at no-one' policy and focusing full attention on the wonderfully uneven sidewalks, I still noticed a man. Just a man standing by the wayside among others. But what I noticed was his stare, directed at my body. He touched himself while he stared, and his head turned as I walked past.
Now this is more than what is to be permitted in civil society. I turned back, throwing up my hands and asking, "what? WHAT?"
He was startled. This is what gets me every time. That look of bafflement, as though a woman should have no earthly reason to react adversely to his visual stripping. The sheer incomprehension of being questioned by a woman, the bafflement at her attempting to take back a small piece of her rights as an ordinary citizen to walk or stand on the streets of this country without being subjected to sexually blatant leers.
I wonder if the day will soon arrive when I snap. When I hit the man in front of me with the full force of my fury. What will happen then? Will the crowds gather in my defense? I don't know. But sometimes the answer, the clear deterrent, seems right within the power of my own two hands. If enough men faced the sudden rage of a woman they have pushed too far, perhaps the scourge will lessen.
But that is not what women want to happen. This urge to violence cannot be the answer. 'Don't treat me like a woman', is the simple message, 'treat me like a PERSON'. Why is the categorization of women as the 'other' so perpetuated to this day? I could go into lengthy reams with my own rambling theories. But I do not have the time: it should be an unnecessary topic of discussion.
Meanwhile I find that each time I am sexually harassed, even if not in a physically harmful way, my tolerance crashes and I have to make a real attempt not to shove the offender's teeth down his throat. Does this mean then that the city is teeming with women who feel just like me? All that smoldering rage just waiting to break free? Does this mean that the dam will burst and then who's to say what will happen?
But women's hands are too busy cooking, washing, mending, writing, inventing, expressing, soothing, and holding. Women's hands are minding their own business, running their own lives and those of their families.