Running While Female (spoiler: many men are still a-holes)


Riding a bike (actually recumbent trike) on the trail, if I slow to a crawl behind you, it’s because there’s oncoming traffic that I don’t want to run down, and if I’m at speed and say anything as I approach to pass, it’ll be an “on yer left” warning. Too bad some jackasses can’t comprehend civility.


To make it even more messed up: there’s a tiny subset of women who, for whatever reason, never get catcalled. To which you’d think they’d be like “Great, awesome. I have an asshole-repelling force field.” But since it happens to most women (and girls), we describe it as a universal constant.

Which makes the women to whom it doesn’t happen wonder what’s wrong with them.


I have a story like that as well.

I was 16 years old, catching the bus from my sister’s house to my grandmother’s.

The bus stop was familiar to me, well lit, and close to a local corner store.

I was minding my own business when I noticed some creepy dude in his car, sitting at the light, leering and smiling at me.

Then he started making hand gestures.

Then he started circling fucking the block.

At this point, I got spooked enough to run to the corner store; bus be damned.

Inside, I ran into one of the neighborhood “baby gangstas”; ie, a boy at least 3 years younger than me, who was regularly involved in gang activity. He saw how shook I was and asked me what happened.

I told him, and then I found out chivalry isn’t completely dead, not even in the hood.

He volunteered to make sure I got on the bus safely, after we made a quick detour to his house down the street… so he could get his gun.

Long story short, the guy kept circling us both, until the half-pint flashed his piece at him.
Then the creeper finally got the message and drove off, but not before I got his license plate number. I never called anyone about it (what would the cops have done, anyway?) but I still have the number memorized to this day.

The kid waited patiently with me until the bus eventually came, and I made it home safely.

But that incident has never left my mind… and while it’s true that harassment can happen to anyone regardless to gender, it’s a fact that it happens much more disproportionately to females, and for them, the potential threat level is often much higher.


“Whole Truth” indeed.


I don’t think whoever made that really thought it all the way through; the irony is real.


I used to get cat-called a lot. But I reached a certain age (and weight, tbh), and moved to a teeny tiny town, so now it basically never happens. And, I am rather grateful to be invisible in that way.


Ah, the memories of 80’s short shorts…


God. You’ll be happy to know those were still kicking around as official high school uniforms in the late 90’s.


Also to make it more messed up, couple anecdotes:

Guy friend of mine, bartender, very bombastic, told me once about how he catcalled a heavyset lady out running who was totally covered in sweat, figuring telling her she was sexy would make her day. I was pretty disgusted by this story.

One of my best friends is a gal who used to model before she got married, now mid-30’s, had a kid some years back and isn’t as skinny as she once was. She got catcalled somewhere (I forget the story exactly–she has so many involving men acting like pigs), and it actually did kind of make her day!

I wish this gal would relate to the guy in the first story the exact percentage of the time she’s enjoyed harassment. I have little doubt it’s less than a half of a percent.


Which is fucked up, right? That there is some subset of women who feel left out by not being harassed?

I feel like half the population of the world is walking around with stockholm syndrome sometimes.


The video of the young woman walking down the street in NYC and braving what seemed an onslaught of comments, gestures, and utterly creepy behavior opened my eyes to this. And dudes wonder why women so often try to insulate themselves from attention via headphones and bulky clothing. Leave 'em alone, for fuck’s sake.
Related note: as a very tall person, I get noticed everywhere I go. Sometimes people say stupid shit about it, sometimes they don’t, but I notice that they notice (and people notice a lot). So in thinking about women being harassed, I take all my experiences, add boatloads of unwanted sexual comments and such, and crank the dial up to 11+. Which horrifies me, to say the least.
Years ago I had an acquaintance who thought it was fun to occasionally yell, “Show us your tits!” out the window of his truck at women here and there. I saw him do it a few times, and each time I’d chew him out and tell him to knock it off, but he thought it was a big hoot, that the women liked the attention. Worst of all to me, he was the coach of a woman’s rugby team…and not long after I met him, he was fired for harassing some of the players.

Dudes: Stop fucking this up. Be better. Have a granule of human compassion for fuck’s sake.


I’ve spoken about this in the past, but when I was in college I lived a 20 minute walk from my college (Tulane) in New Orleans. Most days I walked or biked to school, and without fail I was catcalled at. Every. Single. Day.

New Orleans is a weird city. 80% of the people are just having fun and joshin’. There’s a few that are really scary. It’s a job to figure out who to smile at and who to avoid. A skill you learn when you live there.

At first I’d take it as a fun game, flip the guys off. But over time I began to just ignore it because it honestly got scary and demoralizing.

Then I’d gotten so used to it and one day I caught up with a male friend who walked the rest of the way to school with me. A trucker catcalled at me, and my friend went ballistic. It was such a shock to me to have someone express the rage at how I was treated. It was refreshing and also kind of funny since I literally had to endure it every day. I told him there was nothing to be done and just ignore it. But really I was thinking, why don’t I react that way every time?


Because you’d die of exhaustion.


My dad was in town for my graduation and I remember saying something to him about getting wolf whistled at every day and he just said that was not true. That was really sad and hard for me.


A jets fan did the same thing Edit - just a joke meant in no way to take away from what real people experience for real


My office was entirely women, besides me, for a long time (we’ve added a few more dudes in recent years) and I still remember years ago, a bunch of my colleagues had collected in one of the offices that doubled as our paper supplies storage, and everyone was swapping catcall war stories and commiserating about the insanity. It was a mixture of anger and laughter at the sheer idiocy of the callers, until one woman who had come late to the conversation said, in between chuckles: “Men are so gross, right? That’s how I met my husband. And he’s a cop!” The laughs got a little strained, then died away and people kinda drifted away. Apparently her marriage didn’t end up lasting terribly long…


I stopped reacting that way when one guy turned around and CHASED my friends and I after we flipped him off for catcalling us.


I used to walk my daughter to elementary school every morning. I wasn’t working, so I’d roll out of bed, throw on some baggy sweats, slap my hair into a greasy bun and go unshowered until I got home.

I have never been so consistently and repeatedly catcalled as during the walk back home, sans kid. Not even when I’d walk to pick her up in the afternoons, when I was (usually) actually dressed and had combed my hair.

It’s not what we’re wearing and it’s not how objectively attractive we are (I strongly resemble a small potato), that’s for sure.


The real thing is so shower+beer+kittehGIF+whydawgwhy+2016GiantMeteor-inducing that this felt like one stinky fart while standing on Mount Trashmore (and while living by it, too).

Don’t get me wrong–I like to yell. Yelling can be lots of fun. Making people laugh is lots of fun, and I like that, too. Yelling shit about people’s bodies or clothing is not a fun type of yelling I support. “Go 'Noles”, or maybe casting a “Nick Satan” at an Alabama fan, is light fun. “Show us your tits”, a particular favorite of the person I mentioned above, is most definitely not.*

*Feel I should mention that I’m not trying to cast aspersions upon your post, or trying to say that you’re suggesting some 1:1 value between the videos, @lamaranagram. Jets fans, Noles fans (I’m one), and graduate students–they’re the worst.