This evening I went out for a run. About one minute from home I came up behind a group of 4 teenage boys. It was starting to get dark, so I was very aware of my situation.
I ran past and the one in front yelled out “Look at that ass!”. So I turned, paused and yelled back “That was incredibly misogynistic, ridiculous and inappropriate”. His reply? “Oh yeah, sorry, sorry” while his friends laughed at him.
To start with I would like to point out that I love my ass (and my husband does too). It is an ass shaped by my DNA (which provides a body that fits within cultural acceptable boundaries in the place that I live); my office job; my new mild interest in running; and my deep and passionate love of chocolate and ice cream. It does all the things I need it to do, it is very good at it’s job.
However – it is no “better” or “worse” an ass than many other ass’s in my community, city, country. It does not glow in the dark, or sparkle in the light. It does not do anything spectacular or different or cause people to loose control of themselves. I have included a photo below to that you can see for yourself – while an arguable awesome ass, this was not about my ass.
I would also like to note that I am very privileged. Privileged in that I live in an country that I felt confident in my safety in replying to that comment. Privileged in that I have led a life that has not given me reason to fear for my safety in this situation. Privileged in that my response did not led to me being further mocked……. or beaten up……. or raped. Privileged in that I am able to go running by myself at dusk. Privileged in that I can wear what I like and leave my house without a man to chaperone me. Other women all around the world have it much worse than me.
However – I appreciate the point that I have seen by other feminists on the internet – the point is that these things happen to all women. It is important that people (mainly men, as they don’t live with this awareness every day in their lives) know that this does happen. This happens to every women in her life. This is so far away from the most misogynistic thing that has ever happened to me that they aren’t even in the same neighbourhood – and I have led a truly charmed life. Most (if not all) women have a plan to keep themselves safe while walking or running down the street. Most (if not all) women assess men or groups of men as a potential threat as they approach. These little things add up to an attitude towards women which is not acceptable and needs to be changed.
I was in a situation this evening where I felt comfortable and safe in calling out misogynistic behaviour as it happened. There were other people around, it wasn’t too dark, I was only 1 minute from home. The response of the boy in question was not to get aggressive, and the response of his friends was to laugh at him, not get aggressive towards me. I was lucky. I am sharing this so that people know that things like this really do happen so often, it’s not even surprising. I am sharing this so that hopefully others who wouldn’t have noticed, or wouldn’t have thought it was important, will say something next time they see or hear something that shouldn’t have been done, or said.