Liat Kaplan on minor sexual harassment.

Liat Kaplan discusses how street harassment is only a symptom of a whole slew of minor forms of sexual harassment which conspire to keep women in fear and men confident in their entitlement to women’s bodies.

The big deal isn’t the words themselves, it’s the underlying message. There’s no point to a guy yelling, “Hey sexy baby” at me out of the passenger window of a car as it speeds past. Even if I was into creepy misogynists and wanted to give him my number, I couldn’t. The car didn’t even slow down. But that’s okay, because he wasn’t actually hitting on me. The point wasn’t to proposition me or chat me up. The only point was to remind me, and all women, that our bodies are his to stare at, assess, comment on, even touch. “Hey sexy baby” is the first part of a sentence that finishes, “this is your daily message from the patriarchy, reminding you that your body is public property”. This so-called “minor” sexual harassment is the tax you pay for daring to exist as a woman in public.

“Hey baby” is the cashier who touches your hand just a little too long and winks as he hands you your change. “Hey baby” is the guy who sits just the tiniest bit too close on the subway when there are plenty of empty seats available. “Hey baby” is the guy in the coffee shop who just keeps trying to start a conversation even while you’re giving one-word answers and pointedly staring at your book or phone. “Hey baby” is too subtle to complain about. If you try, guys will say that it’s not a big deal or you’re just flattering yourself or that they wish a hot chick would say “hey baby” to them.

7 thoughts on “Liat Kaplan on minor sexual harassment.

  1. oopster74 August 23, 2015 at 00:43 Reply

    I think it’s simpler than that. Men are just idiots for the most part, and for the other part, they think they’re being funny and showing off in front of their mates.

    • Francois Tremblay August 23, 2015 at 00:50 Reply

      Yea, you’re a fucking genius.

      • oopster74 August 23, 2015 at 00:55 Reply

        Ok Francois, what’s up? You clearly have an issue with me, so if you want to talk about it you can pm me, otherwise there’s no need to have a public slanging match.

        • Francois Tremblay August 23, 2015 at 01:18 Reply

          No, no, I just like how you completely dismissed the analysis presented by saying “men are just idiots.”

          • oopster74 August 23, 2015 at 01:29 Reply

            Well they are. I just think that analysis, although well thought out, credits men with more intelligence than they have. The intelligent ones wouldn’t be giving the wolf whistles etc, just the idiots.

    • kesher August 25, 2015 at 17:17 Reply

      Thanks for demonstrating that you’re not a woman and no one perceives you as one.

      • oopster74 August 25, 2015 at 19:44 Reply

        So I have to act a certain way to be or be perceived as a woman? That seems to go against everything feminism says.

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