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Op-Ed: Street Harassment is not a Compliment

The is not a negotiation.

Following someone you don't know for several blocks, to their place of work or their home, is not a compliment. It's called stalking.
Screaming at a stranger because they won't talk to you isn't a compliment, it's crazy.
Grabbing someone you don't know because you wan't their attention isn't a compliment, it's assault.
Showing a stranger on the street your penis isn't a compliment. It's called Indecent Exposure and it's a sex offense.
And if you think these things are essentially different from catcalling, you're kidding yourself.

It's not about being 'friendly'.

If it was, then men would also get cat-called (and followed home, and flashed). Because it's friendly, right? I'm sure you've met all your guy friends when you randomly screamed "hey sexy nice ass" at them. That's how you show someone you want to be their friend right? No. Nobody does that. Because this isn't about making new friends. It's about intimidation.

And intimidation is about power.

When you scare someone, you take power from them. You now control their sense of safety. Street harassment and catcalling are a way of putting a target on another human being. Suddenly they're not just another anonymous person trying to get somewhere. They're an object of derision, attention, and shame. Tell me what part of that is supposed to make me feel good?

You are not entitled to me.

You are not owed my time or my attention. Demanding that I give it to you (telling me to smile, to say hello, to be nice, to take a "compliment", to look at me bitch) is not friendly. You're not my friend and you're never going to be. What you are is a predator. You steal peoples' time, safety, and self-worth. You are not entitled to mine or anyone else's. It doesn't matter what we wear, where we are, or how we identify.

We don't owe you anything and you don't own us.

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lt happens in my world too. l just find it crazy that these kind of people are all over the world. Apparently the women's rights are human rights sermon is not preached and heard all over the world. Still a long way to go.
I never ever was treated like this in San Diego, but when I moved to New York it happened more than once a day. It never made me feel good even if it was a "compliment." I honestly day dream about really ripping into those guys and trying to make them see the error of their ways, but I never did. One that REALLY ticked me off was when I was walking to work with my coworker who is Korean and a bunch of guys yelled ni hao at her. Like, if you weren't already going to sound ignorant for yelling at women, you're going to add blatant racism? Mhmm good job boys.
I'm just a weird girl. I actually like cat calls
@grapetoes2000 same here! There are a few places I've been where people know how to behave but it's not the norm. Definitely a long way to go!
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Heck, our anchor woman (Kelly Lange) was married to film director John Landis (director of Michael Jackson's Thriller music video); a fellow reporter, John Marshall, was married to Knott’s Landing star Joan Van Ark; and anchor man John Beard was dating Charlie’s Angels star Kate Jackson. I had interviewed the likes of James Stewart, Bob Hope, Raquel Welch and Bo Derek for various stories. I even sat next to Vanna White (from Wheel of Fortune) in the makeup room a few times. Truthfully, I was never a celebrity worshipper. I was a “hard” news guy. I preferred to tell stories about common people whose lives had been devastated by earthquakes, floods, fires and gang shootings. I had won my first L.A. Emmy two years earlier for coverage of a jetliner crash in Cerritos that killed 84 people. 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A rock-star-looking guy with a marijuana joint in his right hand and a can of beer in his left asked, “Who are you?” “Matt Stevens with KNBC,” I said. “We’re looking for Axl Rose.” “Let ‘em in,” yelled another rocker type from inside the smallish apartment. It was Slash. We walked inside and saw half a dozen people, all males, sitting on a couch and three chairs. The one in the middle on the couch looked like Axl Rose. “What can we do for you?” Rose asked. I explained our assignment, fully expecting to hear “no comment” or something foul. Instead, I heard this: “Sit down and have a beer with us and I’ll give you an interview.” “I can’t really drink on the job,” I said. “It’s pretty much frowned upon.” “Come on! Have one!” said another fellow, handing cans of beer to my photographer and me. So I asked myself, “If you were in the newsroom and took a poll of those who mattered, would they tell you to drink the beer and get the interview? Or would they tell you to maintain your professionalism and leave without it? Tess' Note: THAT A BOY DAD! I guzzled the beer and said, “We’ve got a pretty tight deadline, so…” “So have one more,” said Slash with a straight smile. “No. I couldn’t,” I said. “One more and you get the interview,” said Axl. “All right,” I said. “What the hell. But then we really have to go.” After we’d guzzled five beers each, Axl finally said, “Okay, Let’s talk.” By this time, I was totally buzzed, but managed to pull myself together and ask the right questions. His answers were straightforward and articulate. We thanked them all and staggered from the apartment. I suggested that we call one of the NBC couriers and have him pick us up. “We don’t have time for that,” said the camera man. “I’m fine.” He managed to negotiate the drive down Sunset and over the hill on Barham Boulevard to Alameda Avenue. I ran the tape into the edit room before anyone could stop me for a conversation. I called Noyes from the edit bay and told him to come and look at the tape. He brought the executive producer. “You got him?” Noyes asked. “Yup,” I said. “But here’s the deal: They made us drink beer with them before they’d do the interview. I’m pretty drunk right now.” Noyes never raised an eyebrow. He watched the video and consulted with the E.P. They had the editor put some sound bites together. They wrote an introduction for the anchor to read. “Our exclusive interview with Axl Rose” aired at five, six and eleven. They had to mention that I had done the interview because I appeared in the shot a few times and could be heard asking questions. They never explained why I wasn’t fronting the story. [Tess' Note: Dad couldn't appear on camera because he was wasted. Let's face it.] Until now, only a few people ever knew the truth about my encounter with Axl Rose. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Now, Dad spends a lot of his time with my cat, Miss. Tuffsey and calls me to ask questions about his iPad. He also wins the occasional poker tournament. Here he is at Binions Casino in Vegas. Join us again for #GrumpyMonday next week! So how's that for a throwback? We never know how amazing our parents' lives were before we came along, that is until they tell us, and the whole internet. Any cool stories in your parents' back catalog?
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They will serve you in times of great sadness and joy. The latter of which, will not come to you often, but that's not the most important thing. You come from a long line of horrorshows and renegades, people who in times of trouble, move inward and forget, but you...you're different...you could be something great. Although this fact terrifies you on a daily basis, you have nothing to fear, because if you make an effort every day, you'll live up to it.That's what you need to tell yourself. Don't be afraid to challenge your reputation, and what others think of you. They do not and will not matter. All that matters is the moment you're in. And you'll never get that fully, it's just not how you're wired. But if you can put forth an effort to make the best of things, and not retreat into darkness, it'll make the free fall worth it. Trust me. Signed, With a great amount of admiration and disgust, Your Future Self I'd like to tag a few of my Vingle friends to write one too: And anyone else for that matter! @jordanhamilton @danidee @alywoah @allischaaff @esha @hiakym @painttowrite @anna2682 @VinMcCarthy @paulisaverage @lizarnone @TerricaRiley @buddyesd @marshalledgar @skee292 @LauraFisher Feel free to tag someone else if you decide to post your "Open letter". XX
How To Use Writing As Therapy
I woke up this morning with every intention of crawling back into bed and forgetting what consciousness ever felt like. Car lights from outside crawled across my frosted glass window and I thought, how can it still be so dark outside? It was 5:30 A.M. and I didn't have to be up until 7. I cursed my mind for causing the stir, and couldn't fathom going back to sleep, so I sat up in bed, feeling the weight of every obligation that has fallen on my shoulders in the past few months. These days, the words aren't coming as easily, and each thought, every burst of energy is going toward auxiliary functions, like breathing and walking. This is what the first humans must have felt like when they first hit earth: firing on all cylinders in order to do such simple things. Exhaustion is the number one enemy of productivity, and still I press forward, feeling as if nothing I do is ever enough. I can't seem to figure out if I'm in the right place at the right time or not. Some days I feel stellar, and others I feel like I'm being stepped on by God's mighty boot, being jettisoned deeper and deeper into the ground by my own mused melancholy. I guess, being an artist, you can't help but be tortured right? It's been studied, people who "think too much" end up being the most depressed, because their thoughts encompass almost everything. It's hard to move and live day to day when your head is so far in the future that your body has already given out, and you're on your death bed. I feel like I've been living 20 years ahead of myself. I am never able to enjoy the moment. I am never able to give myself any credit. I am already in the ground as far as my brain is concerned. These thoughts, this person I have become is racing against time each moment they are conscious. This is why I love sleep, because the lights turn off and the party is over. I can rest. Getting there, is another story. I tried to sit down and write a song last night, but just the thought of that entire process made me so anxious that I had to walk away from it. That has never happened before. It scared me a bit. Like something was holding me back. I have to figure this out. I used to think writing a song, or writing things down could solve all of my problems, like magically once the words hit the page, I would be a new person. Sometimes it works, sometimes it makes me feel worse, but I guess it's all a form of therapy. I'm not sure what the point of this rabble is, or if it will be productive to likes, views or whatever, but for some reason I feel a bit better. Owning up to this emptiness will enable me to move forward right? This is what we have to believe in order to move on. In order to self-improve. It's like a cleansing of the thoughts. Now that they are on the page, they don't have to own my consciousness. Using writing as a means of personal excavation can be exhausting, dangerous and completely insane, but I swear by it. There is some truth to creating a reality in your head that doesn't necessarily match up with what's really going on. I have to admit there is something fearless about all of this. All the eyes and what not. There is a freak show element, though, and where the eyes and people gawk and stare, there can be real truth. I guess it's not self improvement, it's self defense.