It happens. All. The Freakin’. Time.
I have been catcalled and sexually harassed so many times on the way to work that I no longer feet comfortable walking outdoors. I stopped jogging outdoors at a nearby park because I would get yelled at by random men sitting on benches.
How you dress is not a factor in whether you get harassed. I was mainly harassed on the way to and from work, and my work attire of choice is pantsuits. I have also been harassed on Saturday morning trips to the grocery store wearing sweats, a hoodie, no makeup and glasses. If a woman happens to look nice when she gets harassed or assaulted, it is in no way her fault for “asking for it”. It is repulsive that people think that.
The other day I was purchasing a coffee at a café and the male cashier (of about middle age) said, “You look nice today.” I thanked him politely, but honestly thought that his comment was out of place. The most personal comment I ever got from a cashier was “I like your shirt.” However, having worked as a cashier myself, I would never think of just telling a random customer “You look really nice”, even though it is technically a compliment.
That being said, I don’t think I will start a campaign against polite compliments that are slightly out of place. Yes, they are slightly creepy, but I can get past an unsettling cashier. It is the public transit/street harassment that has to stop.
This post is based on some comments I posted (under a different name) on these really good articles about street harassment: