I read an article on the train a couple of weeks ago which alerted me to the #nowomanever campaign on Twitter. I’ve always been aware of the open sexualisation of women from strangers on the street, but never have i seen the extent to which men, and women, go to to express their attraction.
Created by @ImJustCeeJ, this campaign comprises largely of sarcastic responses to sexist comments, wolf whistling and unsuccessful attempts at asking for a woman’s phone number, it has highlighted the extreme harassment that some women experience.
One woman, @JamilahLemieux, took to Twitter to share her experience; “When he looked at my daughter and said, “You make kids who look like that? Next one is mine.” I knew he was the one #nowomanever”. The sarcasm of the tweet may make this, and others like it, amusing to read, but it doesn’t take away from the obvious threat to Jamilah’s family’s safety by a man who thought it was okay to speak to someone in this manner.
The rise (and fall?) of Tinder in recent years has opened up a wave of harassment for users who have to endure crude comments of a sexual nature, before starting a real conversation. Many users have to further endure unwanted sexual images – “The first 20 unsolicited dick pics i was on the fence, but after he sent the 21st, i knew he was the one #nowomanever”.
In the 21st century, where women, and men, should be able to go about their daily lives without being sexually harassed, more and more people are speaking up about their experiences and are publicly shaming their abusers.
Equality and gender issues are supposedly closing more and more over time, yet we’re all still subject to cat calls, crude comments and threats to safety from people who don’t know where to draw the line.
Unfortunately, this isn’t just happening among strangers in the street; women are still often subject to harassment in the work place, and sometimes even at home.
In response to the movement, some women have even suffered online abuse; Stephanie tweeted “I love men calling me pet names in order to be condescending #saidnowomanever” with the following image
It says something about the world we live in today where women are in position of high power, there are female leaders all around the world, come November we might see the first female President of the USA. All of these women command respect, they have proven themselves among their male counterparts and most importantly, they have paved the way for young women today to follow in their footsteps. Despite this, these young women of today are still being treated as if they are there to be seen by men, treated as if they should appreciate these comments, treated as if men should come first.
Fortunately, the HeForShe movement, created by the UN, is backed by high profile celebrities, authors, sportsmen and politicians who are campaigning for gender equality and an end to gender-based harassment. Spearheaded by Emma Watson, the campaign has gathered huge support from men and women alike, who in the 21st century just want equality.