Friday morning, I was browsing Facebook at work and I came across two disturbing things. The first of which was a message from the matron of our gaming clan that she’d had to cuss a random out online for a nasty message he sent her. The second was an article posted by Buzzfeed about a new Tumblr account to trying to shed more light on the street harassment of women.
I came across these things back to back and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect, because they tie-in to a bigger issue women face.
Boys, we need to educate y’all that, as Pink says, “I’m not here for your entertainment.”
Fellas, let me make one thing perfectly clear. My husband is the only one allowed to catcall me. He’s the only one allowed to tell me I have a nice ass, and that is because he’s my husband and I know and trust him, and he loves me for more than my body. You, perfect random stranger on the street, have no right to break me down to just my body. And yet, this happens all the time.
Men catcall. They stalk. They make crude and uncomfortable comments that make a woman afraid to go out alone. Women are stalked and harassed in online gaming for daring to be a female gamer. And when boys make these comments, we’re to roll over and just “take the compliment” or take the precautions and hide from the world so we don’t have to face the harassment.
To women out on the street and online gaming with their friends, we’re told to batten down the hatches. Cover ourselves up to not draw attention, physically and in a digital environment. We’re taught to fear and shy away from the world, because men aren’t taught to respect women and control themselves.
I am not a man hating feminist. In fact, I know the population of trolls I’m referring to are the minority. Me and the Matron of Madness roll with a good crew of guys. They’re men we know in real life and online who treat us as equals but are also protective of us and don’t let anyone treat us as less than we deserve. The guys in our gaming clan were hollering for blood because of what happened to her Friday morning.
But the matron won’t hide because she’s a woman and neither should the rest of us. The only way we can change this is through our community. Police ourselves and watch out for each other online, and on the streets. Let the trolls and perverts know that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated. Change has to start somewhere and from a tiny seed grows a mighty oak.