I work in a college town, that’s relevant to this story.
This morning I walked across the street to Starbucks (as I often do) because our office coffee is terrible.
So, college town, which means at any given point there’s a fair number of people walking around. There’s a lot of shops in the area where I work so a lot of foot traffic all day. It’s that kind of street that every college town has one of – several pizza places, a couple record stores, a bookstore with a cat in the window, clothing stores catering to young folks, etc.
I came out of Starbucks and hit the crosswalk button. There was maybe 4-5 women around the area; one standing next to me also waiting to cross, another across the street, one was walking down the street, etc. Most of them were young, one was around my age.
There was also one young guy walking down the street. He suddenly shouted really loudly, and he sounded stern. As it turned out, he had a dog with him and the dog had run off ahead; he was shouting at the dog to GET BACK HERE. That wasn’t the interesting part.
The interesting part was the way every single woman within hearing of this guy paused, froze, and went on alert.
You can go on social media and read the timelines and feeds of feminist women, and those feeds will be full of men pshawing at them when they talk about how women live their entire public lives on alert. And yet, you let one man shout in the street and every woman within earshot is suddenly hyperaware of that situation.
It’s almost like women have learned that shouting men means they will get hurt.
It’s almost like all the pooh-poohing men do about women’s concerns doesn’t change what women have learned about how some men actually behave.