Flo Carson - Social Anthropologist, studying International Development at Sciences Po, Paris. I am slightly obsessed by gender, politics, media, human rights and global health. I've worked in Asia, Africa and Europe and keen to explore more of the world we live in. Take a look at my Twitter & Tumblr for my most recent posts. tly
I want to tell you that you have left me wounded and angry. I entered my room shaking and filled with an adrenaline that won’t leave my veins. You have probably left the woman who you were originally shouting those disgusting words at, feeling the exact same.
When you walk down your street do you expect anyone to comment on your body? Can you imagine someone evaluating the way your body moves, objectifying your existence and then feeling the need to tell you about it? How likely is it that someone will race up to you on their bike and trap you as you try to move forward on the pavement outside your house?
You terrorised that women within the space of 20 seconds; a bomb exploded from your mouth, every word and gesture a direct hit to her confidence and self identity. How dare you speak such repulsive words about a woman and threaten her with your physical presence. Her body is none of your business. You carried out a sexist attack, seemingly out of nowhere. But it isn’t out of nowhere, really, is it? It comes from hearing men speak about women as sexual objects and nothing more, it’s from watching the popular guy in your class joke about your teacher’s bum, it’s from seeing Page 3 of The Sun on the tube seat beside you. But, that’s not to say you can’t take some of the blame.
I could not stand by after that woman reached her front door and managed to escape any more of your assault. I had to continue this “dialogue”. I could not let you think that this behaviour was something a human could be proud of, or ever contemplate about doing again.
I admit, I admired your ability to hold your bike steady whilst simultaneously giving me the finger and telling me I’m wearing a “shit dress”. Who says men can’t multitask?
But my words had no power. Labelling you a sexist held no weight. I felt weak in my rhetoric and ability to respond to your objectifying, shallow shouts at me. Why is it that calling someone sexist seems meaningless and insignificant?
Perhaps my words will linger and the realisation of your behaviour will strike you in the middle of the night. Maybe, after experiencing two women fight back, you will think twice before saying something so derogatory, and so stupid to a stranger. But I’m feeling cynical and alone; your confidence in hurling those words, circling me with your bike and riding away into the distance laughing, forces me to think that your sexism is a deep rooted tumour.
You have a mother or a sister. I imagine. You love her and want nothing but the best for her. I imagine. You would want to hurt anyone that made her feel how this woman and I feel right now. I imagine.
Please take a minute to think about me and the other woman you assaulted tonight. You’ve chipped away at our bodies, clothes and confidence. Our glimpses in the mirror will incorporate your smarmy face looming over us. This will go on for some time. Or at least, right up until the next man makes the decision to harass us, and your face will simply be replaced by another.