As you’ve no doubt already read over at Breda‘s, there’s a new video game out that encourages women to take out their aggression on cat-calling “misogynists” by shooting them with machine guns. It’s called, “Hey, Baby.”
Some gal who apparently likes to be thought of as a sexy little gamer (see her blog header, and the blog’s name itself), decides that this is more than appropriate, because she can’t stand being complimented, talked to, or otherwise admired by anyone with a penis.
I’m sorry to burst her bubble, but sometimes you have to put on your big-girl panties and just deal with stuff like that. It’s life.
On a personal note, ask me how many times I’ve been catcalled, manhandled, and otherwise truly treated like a piece of meat in my adult life. I’m not even talking about high school – I’m talking about the years between 18 and now. These events included being “accidentally” bumped into (i.e. groped) in the kind of broad-daylight public places that you’d like to think would deter perverts, openly ogled when wearing anything other than my usual jeans-and-a-tee-shirt attire, and being poked in the belly by an extending magnetized antenna wielded by a co-worker who declared that I “clean up well” while he chuckled.
I don’t even count being raped in this category.
Did I get angry in these instances? Yep. It’s not a good feeling to realize that the only reason someone’s talking to you, or hanging around, is because they’re fascinated by your breast size, hair color, or the combination of the two.
Have I ever wanted to slap, hit, or otherwise hurt/humiliate someone for acting that way toward me? Hell, yes. Being seen as anything other than a valued human being is infuriating.
Do I ever think I’ll carry out any of these violent reactions? No. The only time an extreme level of violence (which I categorize as anything other than a dirty look or a snide comment/insult) is appropriate is when a level of violence is visited upon you.
If someone “accidentally” grabs my ass (or anything else), I say, “Excuse you.” There has only been one instance where that comment was met by anything other than embarrassment at being caught by the guy doing the grabbing. That instance, the guy looked stricken and ran. I guess he was already in trouble with the law for a similar situation. Who knows?
If someone stares at my boobs, I put my hand on my sternum, and squat until my eyes are level with where they’re looking. From that point, what I say depends on how they react, and my responses vary from “eyes up, please,” to “you know, they can’t talk back.” Once, after being polite didn’t work, I said, “If you can’t look into my eyes when we’re having a conversation, I’d like to know why the fuck you think I should even listen to what you have to say.” That guy shrugged and did a not my problem walk away from me. Fine by me, dude.
As far as strangers on the street, I’ve had my share of random comments from them, too, up to and including the “Hey, you’d be so much prettier if you smiled” admonishment. My response to that one is a little different, but for the most part, I have a very consistent, very effective way of handling it: IGNORE THEM.
If someone wants to tell you that you look nice, and it’s not said in a threatening manner, it’s not going to kill you to say, “thank you.” Anything after that is your decision, but walking away is a pretty clear sign that you’re not interested in continuing the conversation.
If someone says something slightly more, uh, uncultured (“nice ass”; “break me off a piece of that”; etc.), you can do one of two things: engage them, which isn’t worth it about 99.9% of the time, or ignore them. Will it make any difference if you give them a piece of your mind? Probably not. At best, it will probably cause them to say more unflattering things to/about you. At worst, they could take your attention as an excuse to become violent. Will that always happen? Nope. But why bother finding out? Just keep walking. If you have a destination, let it be known, and act confident that you have a purpose and an expected audience wherever it is that you need to go.
If they pursue you, and you’re not armed (why the fuck aren’t you armed? carry a knife if you can’t get a license to carry a gun where you live!), you’d better hope you had enough situational awareness to stay in a fairly public area, because the most effective way you’re going to escape is by screaming, “Get the fuck away from me!” or something equally profanity-laced and aggressive, while quickly making your way toward a group. Stopping and attempting to hit someone over the head with your purse just leaves you open for opportunities to be grabbed and subdued. Don’t stop. Run into a shop or restaurant with customers. If the person is so determined to try to get at you after that, you’ve got bigger problems than just being treated like an “object.”
Bottom line: Your lack of preparation and confidence is no excuse for the creation and approval of a game like this. You can’t tell me that you think Grand Theft Auto is disgusting in one breath while extolling the virtues of Hey, Baby in another. They’re cut from the same cloth.
In the same vein, do you think that The Vagina Monologues are an awesome way to help women feel validated about their ladybits, and that people should just get over their discomfort with the topic? Then I’d like to introduce you to Tucker Max. Read THAT stuff out loud to your grandma.