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Friday, July 01, 2011

Narcissist Chronicles: What "Comes with the Territory?"

Allow me to share another random fact about myself: I am a jogger. I wake up at 5am a few times a week and jog roughly 1.5-2 miles or until I get tired of running. For the past few weeks, my jogs have included situations where I was harassed by both men and women and it is disturbing.  To understand possible reasons for this "situation" I confided in a male friend. Our conversation is what follows...
Me: I chose a different route so I could see the sun rise better this morning on my jog. When I passed by this group of men, they started shouting things at me. Towards the end of my run, men even honked their horns. One man pulled over in his car and tried to have a conversation with me. One guy said "Damn girl you're so fine I'd drank yo bathwater." FOH! I'm about to stop running outside and start going to the gym instead. The harassment is getting outta control. 
Him: Soooo you're gonna join a gym when all you do is jog? Thats a waste of money. You're a beautiful woman, and you're a black girl who jogs. You know people don't see that often. What else do you expect? It comes with the territory.
Me: What do you mean it comes with the territory? So you're telling me I should expect to be harassed and disrespected when Im clearly just tryna get my exercise on?! 
Me: Just accept that some men can't control themselves. They probably dont see a woman like you often so they do unconventional things. You're just like that lady who complained about being harassed by the Jets players when she was walking around with her a$$ and titties hanging out. I dont blame those men for what they said. As an athlete myself, Im not gonna take you seriously when you're trying to interview me while your nipples are poking through your shirt. Am I supposed to pretend I don't see that? Just be glad men are paying attention to you. You're gonna miss it when you're old, saggy & wrinkled. 
Me: That wont happen. 
Him: What wont happen?
Me: I will grow old gracefully but I will not sag! Plus black dont crack! 
I know what some of you jerks are thinking. What was I wearing? While I do not believe what a woman wears should determine how she is treated, I'll answer it just this once. I donned black ankle length tights, a black tank, and a purple track jacket with matching purple Adidas.  When I was getting dressed that day, I didn't think twice about what I was wearing. It wasn't until after the men began harassing me that I lost focus on exercising and started to question what I was doing that was causing men to behave savagely. Its so easy, cave men did it.

In some circles, it has become OK for a woman to expect to be harassed when wearing a deep v-neck tshirt and spandex pants. To the members of those circles, it means she is making herself sexually available and thereby opening herself up to sexual comments. Their leader wears a lacefront and carries a $900 bag when she makes $9.35/hour. I hear what you're thinking (yes I'm telepathic). You think I should blame my own kind because some of us respond positively to the comments and even seem to enjoy hearing them, right? WRONG! Some of my sistas are lost, I admit that. What I refuse to accept is that because Lathelmalique responded positively to your comments, a man thinks I will respond in a similar fashion.  Its become OK for a woman to expect to be harassed. Who the hayle started this? I can almost understand when men harass women like this one who have made their living from selling sexuality but when a woman is dressed conservatively, like this woman, what is there to justify it? She isn't holding herself out as a sexual being and she certainly isn't giving off vibes that she is open to sexual invitations. Or is she?

Women have enough problems without having to worry about whether our clothes are the reason we could get harassed or in extreme cases, raped. Now we question whether what we are wearing is acceptable. We question whether what we are wearing is the cause of the caveman-like behaviors. I am going to go out on a limb and say it is NOT OK. Maybe you all think its ok, but I don't. If my ASSets and liabilities are covered when I decide to grace the world outside of my living space, I should not be subjected to harassment. A woman should be able to walk down the street in "booty" shorts and a wife beater without a man saying anything to her that is out of line. Ok maybe that was a bit naive and extreme but you get the point. Or do you?

I wonder how many of the men have daughters or sisters my age. I also wonder how some of them would react if they happen to hear a complete stranger yell "I wanna take you home & f*ck your brains out" at a woman they care about. If a man wouldn't be happy hearing those words yelled at his mother or sister, then why subject other women to it?

Whats my point? Why is this post about me and my self-centeredness? Don't I know men aren't looking at me because its ME? Don't I know men are looking because I have a vagina, NOT because I'm special? You're wondering WTF I'm complaining about aren't ya? Keep reading. I should be able to jog in the morning without having to worry about men shouting harassing statements across the street. Its embarrassing. It makes me feel like a basic b*tch. I hate that! Why do men think it is ok to harass a woman just because she is attractive? Why yell obscenities at a woman? What do you expect to gain from this?

I have gotten to a point where I do not know who to hold responsible for this behavior. Is it the mothers? Is it the fathers? Is it the big brothers and big sisters? Is the women who show they enjoy being yelled at? Is it General Larry Platt?

Its your time to shine. What do you think "comes with the territory??" If a woman dresses a certain way should she EXPECT to be disrespected?  Is being beautiful or attractive be directly related to being harassed in public?

Consider this a PSA. Pass the knowledge.

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