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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Street Harassment

It sucks to be a girl… for many, many reasons. Of course, we go through a lot more than a guy might in just our everyday lives: period cramps, fluctuating hormones, daily birth control, and unrealistic beauty standards. None of this is new to me. However, I found that moving to Boston from Western Massachusetts was a culture shock for me because of my being female. I know the city hustle—that wasn’t my issue. Something I’ve noticed more often than not is the constant street harassment I receive.
Depending on my beloved reader, your initial thought could range from “get used to it,” to “well, what were you wearing?” to “maybe you just look too nice/approachable,” all the way to “me too.” Here’s the huge issue with every single one of those responses: it’s not my fault. I can’t put this in any other way. It’s not my fault. I’ll have headphones in, and I’ll be tapped on the shoulder. I’ll ignore it, keep walking, and then be screamed at to “turn around.” I’ve gone out of my way to make myself seem meaner, less approachable (ever heard of resting bitch face? I made sure that was constantly my look). Regardless, it still continues on. The comments I get range from calling me beautiful, to asking for my number, to a threatening tone when being denied/ignored. It’s gotten to the point where I’m told to pretend that I am deaf. That is how society is choosing to resolve this issue.
Why can’t I take a compliment, you might ask? I’m a human being. Not an object. A human. Like you. Like your mom, your dad, your best friend, your neighbor. And there’s a lot more to a human than what they look like. I’m not going to answer to someone who wants to talk to me solely because of the way I look. Not only am I not interested, but how shallow do you have to be?
There are a million different things you can learn about me because I’m a person—I have a personality; I have a soul; I have feelings. And you know what really sucks? It’s that none of this matters—not even a little. Because street harassment is so common that it’s not criminalized in the slightest, regardless of the fact that I’m trembling in fear every time it occurs (daily) because many times women fall victim to assault or even murder if they deny a man.
“I have a boyfriend” is met with “why can’t you have friends?” to which I respond “I don’t want friends.” It doesn’t matter; they persist. “I like white girls; hit me up sometime” is not a compliment. What I look like isn’t who I am, and I will never, ever hit you up. I’m not an empty body you have sex with, not someone who will entertain you for even one more minute. But I can’t say any of this to them, in fear of my own safety.
I feel this way. My friends feel this way. People in the LGBTQ community feel this way. Minorities feel this way. Street harassment happens daily, and we have become so desensitized to it that it doesn’t even matter anymore. We learn to ignore it, to pretend we don’t hear it… We live with it. The fact is that we don’t care as a society about violence against women until it’s too late and somebody is dead. There’s no protection in place to stop that from happening, and we are failing as a justice system.
Nothing ever changes. It happens every time I leave campus. No matter where I am: the train, the bus station, the library, the street—anywhere, any time. I’m tired of living in fear. I’m tired of being a girl. I’m tired of ignoring this.
I’m one of many, many girls who go through this every single day. And I’m done dealing with it. I’m done being nice to everyone for the sake of tolerance and in the name of fear. If that means I sacrifice my safety, so be it. If no one forces a change, there will never be one.

About the Contributor
Grace Smith, Editor-in-Chief