International Women's Day 2015

Hi everyone!

Tomorrow is international women's day! I really wanted to write something here for this occasion. I've been seeing quite some things today already (since it's sunday tomorrow and all the mayhem is going on today instead). Friends of mine were encouraging women on the street to write down their 'catcalling' experiences on a big sign. Behind them was photo booth where women could have their picture taken together. The newspapers have all printed at least one or two articles about women's issues. A huge amount of bloggers is writing about it, even if their blog is not feminist-related. 

What I find so remarkable about these wonderful acts, is that they are all trying to raise awareness. And that's beautiful, but also kind of depressing. Raise awareness. Awareness that is not there yet. When thinking of this, I feel like performing a very dramatic facepalm accompanied with a deep sigh. How is it possible, that after all these years, in 2015, in Belgium, we still have to 'raise' awareness? 

Personally, I'm lucky enough to not have been seriously harassed in my life so far. However, I do get catcalled, a lot. And, even though that would not justify it,  it's not always because I dress so outrageously sexy or outgoing. I can wear sneakers, a pair of jeans and a thick winter coat, and they will still whistle, make kitty noises or say things like "hey baby" to me.

It makes me feel like I don't have my own space. Like the street I am walking on is theirs, and I don't belong there. Almost as if I should be happy that I'm allowed to walk there. Like I am an item that is up for grabs. Like I willingly put myself inside their territory, and should've stayed at home. And I hate it. 

If you're reading this, and you have similar experiences, please share them with the people you know. It's valuable, because, unfortunately, raising awareness is really important. If you are reading this and you enjoy performing a catcall every now and then, please be aware of the fact that it is not a compliment that girls tend to enjoy. If you like a girl, or think she is pretty, go talk to her without scaring her, get to know her, respect her, and see where it goes from there.

And if you think girls and women who complain about these kind of situations are exaggerating. Guess again. Shit like this happens every day. I'm pretty sure many boys and men would be shocked to find out how often serious street harassment occurs. Once you've had a nasty experience, it's hard to feel at ease while walking the streets. Especially when getting catcalled. 

Last but not least, I'd like to share the following one more time: if you think men and women should have equal wages, opportunities and rights, you are a feminist. Let us finally let go of the negative associations society has with feminism. Feminists are not insane man-haters. Feminists are people who believe in the importance of gender equality. Like you and me.

For more interesting blog posts, check out these (some in Dutch):

1 opmerking:

  1. Super fijn dat je er in het Engels over hebt geschreven. Hopelijk bereikt het zo nog meer mensen in nog meer landen. Dankjewel!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...