The Campaign Against Creepy Men: Take Back Our Streets

Having recently returned from several "third world" countries (and been to many others that are far less "affluent" than the United States), I was struck by how much more civility men publicly show women in other nations. I'd always figured there was a correlation between economic class and manners. I was wrong. It has much more to do with allowing and facilitating a culture that has accepted this kind of behavior as the "norm."

In many of the countries I've visited, I was astounded by the fact an attractive woman could walk down the street and NOT be ogled and "hollered" at. It stood out to me, because I'm so used to seeing attractive women in the U.S. get leered at to the point of disrespect and discomfort. It's become an epidemic, where a woman can't walk down the streets without hearing someone call out some sort of sexist comment, grab at them, or have a car honk to get their attention.

I think the people who do this are the most pathetic, lowest-class neanderthals you will ever meet.

The same type of people who take cheap shots at others at sporting events, get arrested for domestic violence, and would break the law if they knew they could get away with it. These people objectify others, lack respect, empathy and the courtesies that accompany these characteristics.

Recently I watched a hidden camera video where a woman walks the streets of New York City. While edited, not a moment goes by where she isn't catcalled by men, ogled, or harassed. As someone who has spent a lot of time helping guys figure out ways to approach and speak to women, this is most DEFINITELY not one of them. While I encourage guys to be confident and assertive, it should always be in a respectful manner where you get to know someone and then ask them out. It should be in an environment where both parties expect some sort of social interaction, not a verbally intimidating shout-out on the streets while someone's walking, as if yelling out to some zoo animal to get their attention.

Coming from a family with very strong female figures, this subject is actually very close to my heart. I remember when I was very young – maybe 8 or 9 – I was on the subway in NYC and I knew the leering eye of a stranger towards one of my family members was more than just a passing glare. He didn't take his eyes from her for a second until he noticed me staring daggers into him. Even then, I knew his intentions were outside of the norm. Once we were set to get off the subway, in the rush and crush of the crowd, he quickly molested my family member and disappeared amongst the faces. I was livid – heated that I couldn't do anything about it. And maybe the first time I realized the world wasn't innocent.

We don't have to accept this type of behavior. As men – as gentleman – we owe it to each other to still have respect for women, even when there are no women around. Being around a bunch of "bros" does not make it right to degrade, hoot and holler at women like uneducated idiots. Admittedly, I have been around guys when they act this way, and rather than saying, "have some respect. I'm not cool with that," I turned a deaf ear. I'm not proud of that.

Women, I've actually seen some of you respond kindly to this sort of approach. Don't encourage these going-nowhere-fast simpletons with responses. Demand to be treated like a person and not an object. There's a time and place for everything, but not as a woman is going about her day trying to get to a destination. Women should be able to walk the streets without someone trying to undress them with their eyes and assaulting their sense of freedom.

We can take back our streets by facilitating a culture that lets it be known we are disgusted with this kind of behavior and will not allow it to permeate any further. Rather than accepting this as the norm of mainstream American culture, we can start by shaming these neanderthals and continue by teaching our children the proper and respectful ways to interact with each other. Maybe this is overly ambitious, and a rather grand statement, but I believe we can change the tide of acceptable American societal norms.

Respect our women.

It starts with each one of us.

Kevin L.

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