Stripping the Filter…

Many of the men that I have encountered thus far really have no filter. They talk to you however they like, and look at you so hungrily that you feel as if you’ve been violated without any physical contact. We were told that this “catcalling” culture was simply the way things are. I understand to some extent because I was raised in a community where catcalling is an attempt to build a relationship and is meant to be a compliment. However, I’ve known men to say to women who complain about it, “They should like catcalls and shouldn’t complain because it should make them feel good.” I wish I had an emoji to describe my facial expression at this obscene language used to strip a woman’s feeling of power and control. I’ve always been one to write letters to express myself, so here it goes:

To the men who deem it necessary to scream provocative language to women out of their car doors, in the doorway of their homes with their wives inside cooking, on their bicycles, or on their high horses,

Do not even dare look at me, if you can’t take the time to approach me as if I am an actual human being. Do not dare look at me, if you can’t even look me in the eyes and have a decent conversation with me that does not involve something so outrageously sexually provocative that you’ve stripped every thought out of my head in astonishment. I am tired of you cowardly men making women feel uncomfortable to walk on the streets, making women feel as if they have to dress a certain way to accommodate for your feelings. Being complimented is one thing, but being harassed is another. You are not cool for sharing your slick thoughts with me. Your actions insult my intelligence and quite frankly my standards for thinking that you could ever approach me or any other woman in the way that you do.

Stop telling me how I should feel. You cannot control my emotions. Do not welcome your sons into manhood for disrespecting the womanhood of your daughters. Learn to use your language appropriately and come to a quick understanding that not all women will tolerate your sad display of masculinity.

Unapologetically signed by a young woman who is willing and ready to assist with the dismantling of the patriarchy.

Tiarra Riggins ’17
Nicaragua

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