Like most people who have a good idea of the inherent dignity they possess as simply being human, I don't enjoy being viewed as a piece of meat. Contrary to my personal wishes, however, it seems that there are men in the world who actually like the concept of treating "certain people" as pieces of meat. "Certain people"--meaning women.
My job is very near to my home, and on sunny, breezy days I like to walk to and from work. Today was one of those days. This morning, I was standing on the street corner waiting for the light to change, when a rather rude individual blared a long and obnoxious blare on his car horn. I glanced around and realized that he wasn't honking at another car; he was honking at me. It didn't bother me too much though, as this sort of thing does happen occasionally, and I hadn't lost anything by it.
At the end of the day I started my walk back home, having mostly forgotten about the car horn incident. I was once again detained at a street corner due to traffic. A guy drove past me and let a loud "Wooooo!" out his car window. Hardly a few seconds had passed when another car sped by from another direction, and gave a saucy beep. I actually was able to react and see the driver of the last car--a very nice car--and noted a professionally dressed businessman.
Three strikes in one day. By this point I had become extremely angry, and during the remainder of my walk I became more and more angry as I thought it over. It wasn't even that I was looking for attention by casting gazes at the guys who drove by, or dressing skimpily. (For the record, I was wearing an elbow-length blouse and a skirt that reached my knees.) Who do these men think they are? I'm sure if you asked these guys if they supported a woman's right to vote, they would agree wholeheartedly. I'm sure if you asked them if they supported a woman's rights in the workplace, they would agree wholeheartedly. If they didn't, they'd be branded as sexist. It's not considered Nice to be against the rights of women, you see. But despite this, they still find it perfectly acceptable to honk and bother young women who are minding their own business on the sidewalk.
I wonder, how would these men like it if their wives or girlfriends or sisters or daughters were treated in such a way? Would they grin as their loved ones were subject to being objectified by total strangers? I haven't lost such faith in the human race as to think that they would. But with people today, you never know.
I know that some people would probably view these incidents as "no big deal" and tell me to get over it. It's not as though someone tried to assault me, or even hit on me. The guys were just honking their horns and shouting "Whoooooo!" like so many other guys do. It's no big deal, some people would say. But I say no. I view any behavior like this, however trivial, as an insult to my dignity as a human being.
I am not saying that the entire male species is like these three jerks who passed me today. I am very fortunate to know many guys who respect me and make a point to uphold my dignity as a human being and as a woman. I am honored and so extremely grateful to know these men.
But I felt that I could not let this incident go by without sharing my thoughts about it. Not only as a woman, but as a human person, I demand that my dignity be respected. "Equal rights" for men and women mean zilch until both are treated with the same dignity and respect that they deserve.