Drawing The Line

Generally, Europe is a bit ahead of the United States when it comes to taking care of their citizens. Just a few examples: Closer (still not equal) pay between male bodied and female bodied people, support of safe sex work, free health care, and protection against objectification/sexual harassment. These things aren’t yet Europe­wide, but are becoming known and making change. I hope every day that these things migrate their way to the U.S, but today, I want to shine some awareness on objectification. There are major changes being made in the U.K. with this, and they need to come to the U.S of A, and fast.

Being female bodied, I have dealt with forms of objectification/sexual harassment on the streets an unfathomable amount of times. Growing up from age 13 in NYC, I was exposed to people whistling, cooing, growling, yelling slurs, making sexual innuendos, and even inappropriately grabbing me (all forms of grabbing are inappropriate, I hope that is clear) while walking down the street. I wasn’t even a consenting adult, and was being touched by strangers, and who was around to stand up for me? In a city with over 8 million people in it, how are you meant to feel safe with less than 35,000 cops patrolling the streets, and no law enforcing that this is wrong?

In Nottinghamshire, a country in the U.K., has officially claimed catcalling as an illegal act, and it’s absolutely amazing. If you have been fortunate enough to never have been objectified this way, I am 100% sure that one of your closest friends/family members/colleagues has. You shouldn’t be punished for dressing how you want, you shouldn’t be made shameful for walking with confidence, and you shouldn’t be degraded for showing the amount of your skin that makes you feel good. Your body, your life, no one should interfere with that, and
Nottinghamshire is putting an end to that.

I have heard people say that catcalling (that’s nice word for it, as it’s actually verbal/sexual abuse) is “funny” and a “compliment”. Neither of these things could be farther from the truth and confirming these comments for these comments is completely unacceptable and anyone who has experienced it would agree. I don’t feel comfortable walking down the street in the clothes I’ve chosen for myself sometimes, and have seen friends of mine bring a change of attire with them because they don’t feel comfortable walking alone in their desired outfit. Is
this a world we want to live in? People living in fear of others? Not me, and I hope
not you either.

As the U.S. has yet to pass such a necessary law, we have to stand up for each other. If you are a construction worker in a group of colleagues, don’t chime in in the hoots and hollers, stand up for the innocent person walking to work. If you’re drunk with your friends, and they start to get frisky, protect those near them. If you are are the subway and see someone touching themselves, punch them (don’t take that as lawful advice please). We have to stand up for
each other.

Many people may read this and think I am talking about male bodied to female bodied hate crimes, but this sort of objectification happens to all genders, at all ages, everywhere, and needs to be controlled. Stand up for each other, don’t “compliment” someone who is minding their own business, or groan to yourself when someone passes you. Let’s make a point as U.S. citizens that we don’t need a law to treat each other with respect, that we can be civil all on your own, and value each other with equality.

 

Daryen Ru is a young, gender-neutral person living in NYC dealing with the excursions of growing into adulthood and finding your way. Living in NYC since age 13, Ru was once a ballet dancer at Lincoln Center, but has now evolved into a writer and film director/producer. When Ru's not on (usually horrible) dates, they are being a vegan food lover and a terrible bowler, waiting for their moment to nail a perfect score. Daryen is constantly soul-searching as well as searching the city for new things to do and new people to chat with. Ru is an open book and is eager to share their stories and knowledge with readers, haters, and lovers alike. Please follow Ru on Instagram- @daryenru