"I deserve to be treated like a human, not just a woman, because that means something different these days."
If you are one of billions of women who make up 50 percent of the world's population, you have probably experienced some type of harrassment in your daily life. No matter your body type, age, ethnicity, or what you're wearing––our gender alone makes us susceptible to the catcalls, stares and comments directed at women on the street. Erin Bailey, a 25-year-old fitness blogger from Boston, is no exception.
Bailey has been catcalled multiple times while working out, and she's fed up with it. From public parks to runs on the sidewalk, Bailey details some of her worst experiences with harassers in a recent blog post, and the stories read all-too-familiar with other women.
"The curves I have were built by hours, months and years I spent working in the gym," she opens. She wears her size small Nike compression shorts when she works out because "baggy clothing just gets in my way of my workout," which is understandably the same reason she opts to wear just a sports bra while running. "It's 85 degrees with 50% humidity and I'm training for a half marathon and so 7-10 miles in that heat with layers is plain brutal," she says. We've all been there.
Even though the clothes she wears shouldn't matter, Bailey chooses to disclose those details before describing some times she's been harassed on the streets.
"I headed to a local park...to push myself in an outdoor boot camp workout I was testing for the upcoming week of classes I teach," she writes. "I had a guy come over to me from across the park and start talking to me from a few feet away. I took my headphones out thinking he was asking me something, instead my ears were filled with profane things he "wanted to do to me"."
In another incident, she recalls a parking garage attendant calling out to her after she gave him a harmless smile while running. Another time, a man tried to follow her down the street after he held the door open for her at a local 7/11, where she'd gone to buy some ice cream.
Recounting several other incidents where she's been victimized and belittled by strangers—at the gym, out with her friends, or just walking down the street—Bailey poses an important question to her fellow women: what do we deserve? And then she answers:
"We deserve not to feel silenced by your yells. We deserve to feel empowered for bettering ourselves. We deserve to feel sexy in our own skin without feeling like we're here to bait you. We deserve to be judged on our merits, not our outfits. We deserve more. A whole lot more."
Street harrassment exists despite victims' clothes or their appearance––and no one deserves it, period. Bailey's post speaks for all the women who face misogyny on a daily basis, who are objectified every time they are catcalled. Thanks to Bailey, thousands of commenters have already been inspired to tell their own stories, and the response is overwhelmingly supportive.
Read the entire blog post "What Do We Deserve" on her website, and check out Hollaback! for advice on combating street harassment.