Bus Boys

nessa s
Posted January 24, 2017 from United Kingdom

"Oh No, I think I looked at that man as I he looked at me. Now he'll think I can be approached."

Better sit still and hope some women get on at the next stop.

"Oh No, he's making hismove . He'll find a reason to talk, to annoy me, to invade my space."

Pretend to be on my phone? Or listening to music? How about I pretend to bea foreigner?

No that will make him try harder to impress me!

What about if I get off at the next stop? No - he'll do the same and follow me.

Oh why am I, a 26-year-old woman travelling alone!

Well, why shouldn't I?

Why should a 26-year-old man travelling alone be allowed to frighten me? Why should I spend money taking taxis or using my own car to go everywhere? Why should I have to ask the bus driver to look out for me?

Why do some people think I shouldn't be brave and do a job which means I'm sometimes out late?

Equality?

I have to be careful in case a man overhears me on the phone and makes a comment., I have to make sure I don't glance at a man in case he gets the wrong idea. I have to be sure I don't wear clothes that reveal or exaggerate my body. I daren't smile for fear of a man seeing it and commenting.

Once I get off the bus, I have to move quickly under streetlamps in case someone's following me.

I have to be ready to dial a friend or dive into a shop to gain sanctuary when drunks walk by.

Tomorrow I'll add to London's pollution, smog, noise, and filth by driving my Suzuki - because I'm a 26-year-old woman who can't enjoy life BECAUSE she's a 26-year-old woman whom men find "sultry" or "irresistible".

Comments 4

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Jill Langhus
Jan 24, 2017
Jan 24, 2017

Hi Nessa, Thanks for your story. It definitely is a sad state, isn't it? I hear you. What do you think is the best way to rectify this situation for women? Re-socialization, better parenting and socialization from childhood? That's what I'm thinking. I think the media has a lot to answer for as well.

nessa s
Jan 26, 2017
Jan 26, 2017

Thanks for your comment. Well, education is always a necessity. I think boys just have to be brought up from birth to see girls as their equals not either their subordinates or (later in life) their potential sex toys.

One practice which I have seen to work with more substantial misogyny (like rape) is for a boy, when he hears of a rape, to imagine it being his sister or girlfriend. Not very nice for her, but a means to an end - with the boy realising how he would feel if someone he knew had suffered.

And that can perhaps be adapted for boys and men to realise that every girl or woman is someone's sister, daughter, wife, mother, or girlfriend.

The media are always to blame, encouraging men to see us as gorgeous creatures who wear silk underwear and expensive perfume, and who'll smile at them coyly if they catch our eye.

Of course as always this is bad for everyone. I'd happily chat to men who had something genuinely interesting to say, but I don't because you never know - while all the men who AREN'T intending to attack me lose out too.

Many cross-gender friendships could exist, but we KNOW that just one of those men who tries to catch our eye is after more, and going to make sure he gets it.

And then WE'D be blamed for "encouraging" him!

janetgu3
Nov 01, 2017
Nov 01, 2017

Hi Nessa.  I think we're coming into a time where women (like you) are shining a light on this behavior and saying: enough is enough.   Thanks for sharing your story.

Janet

nessa s
Nov 03, 2017
Nov 03, 2017

Thanks Janet.

It would be nice to think that girls in the future won't have to spend their lives worrying. I've always been strong thru athletics (then self-defence) but we shouldn't need to be. As if we didn't have enough "additional" things to take up time which boys don't have (periods, make up, queueing for toilets, etc). It annoys me that we have to think above and beyond boys.

They don't worry about catching a night bus and walking home from it - we have to think about needing a car, a weapon, a safe route home, about walking in twos and threes, avoiding dark alleys etc.