If there’s one thing that troubles me down to my very core, it’s knowing that everyday I send my woman, my sister, my nieces, my female cousins, my homegirls, my aunts, and even my mother into a world where they will inevitably be vehemently harassed by lousy men in the street, while they mind their own business trying to get from point A to point B. It angers me to know that men will proposition, in a lewd and disgusting manner, the women I care about, and then thoroughly cuss them out for responding negatively (with merit) to the disrespectful advances. So there’s something I’ve realized now more than ever: Men, such as myself, need to band together to assist women in stopping street harassment. But before we do that, we need to define what constitutes street harassment.
Maybe I’m naive when it comes to my fellow man, but I feel like when men approach women on the street, 75 percent of the time it’s done with negativity in mind. And the other 25 percent is a man who genuinely wants to get to know a woman. So three out of every four guys who approach a woman in the streets is probably on some ol’ bullshit, but there’s one man who just lacks the requisite charisma to be original and appealing to a complete stranger. Now, I know some women may feel like that number should be much higher (and maybe it is), but before we scold the douchebags, let’s not throw all dudes into that group. See, I think that 75 percent won’t change their disrespectful views on women, but the goal is for them to keep their nasty-ass antics to themselves. But I truly believe there are 25 percent of men who could actually change their actions based on increased awareness.
When it comes to street harassment, the big offenses are obvious (or at least I hope they are). There’s sexual propositioning without warrant — “Girl, you can get it all night with no rubber!” — arm/hand/wrist-pulling, condescending nicknames — “Baby luv/Sexy/Mami/Sweetness” — and unwanted physical contact — anything pinch-, grope-, scoop-, cup-, grab- or rub-related. But I think that we focus on the extremes so much that we rarely discuss the non-extremes, which usually become normative behavior. This is the grey zone of street approaching, which with one ill-fated move can land a dude in the realm of street harassment.