A feminist blogger and activist writing in The Guardian has a problem: She misses the catcalls she used to get on the street. And society, she writes, is to blame for that.
“The comments and lascivious stares from men have faded away the older I’ve gotten, leaving an understandable sense of relief,” writes Jessica Valenti. “But alongside that is a slightly embarrassing feeling of insecurity that, with every year that goes by, I become more and more invisible to men.”
Men frequently behave in an outrageous manner toward women they don’t know, Valenti acknowledges. She recounts a man masturbating near her on a subway platform, and another who leaned in to whisper “I want to lick you.”
Still, Valenti reflects, it wasn’t all bad.
“As much as I wish it didn’t, the thought of not being worth men’s notice bothers me. To my great shame, I assume I must look particularly good on the rarer days that I do get catcalled.”
Why does Valenti feel this way? It’s not her true self, she says, but rather society that’s to blame. (RELATED: Tampons Should Be Free Because You’re A Sexist)
“When you’re brought up to feel that the most important thing you can be is attractive to men, the absence of their attention – even negative attention – can feel distressing,” she says. “I can admit that – even as a seasoned feminist – sexism is a powerful enough force to still reside my head. Maybe by acknowledging as much I can begin to let it go.”
Valenti, who founded the popular feminist blog Feministing, has a history of writing pieces for The Guardian that raise eyebrows. She defended the “Jackie” behind Rolling Stone’s bogus story of a gang rape at the University of Virginia long after the story was revealed as a fabrication. She’s also called for the government to supply free tampons. (RELATED: Some People Still Believe A Gang Rape Happened At UVA)
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