Advanced Essay #4: Who's Behind Harassment


My goals for this paper were to show a more in depth, well rounded thought process throughout the essay. I wanted to push myself to dig deeper and really investigate questions that were difficult to answer within my paper. I also wanted to continue using more descriptive language and try harder to keep my language varied and engaging through imagery. Originally, at the beginning of my process I was focused on cat calling and women's issues in a larger scope, which was all over the place and didn't have a focused thought. I then kept brainstorming and narrowed down the cat calling and street harassment, and then where it comes from and how it's perpetuated in the media and how this impacts everyone.

No matter how far we come, it appears we always have to go a few steps further in order to get what we want. Simply itching to be looked at the same; something seemingly simple yet unable to be accomplished even after centuries of coexisting. Women have been attached to thousands of words making us out to be inferior, stamped to our foreheads and pasted to our curves. It feels as though we are trapped in a never ending cycle of being treated as lesser by men, and greater yet by the media, leaving the need for a drastic change.

One of the biggest issues in existence is the fact that no one tells the man “no”. Throughout countless encounters a woman is taught to be quiet, keep her mouth zipped shut with the utter defeat of pain searing inside of her lungs, begging to be released into the world singing of all the torture she has endured. The key is thrown away, with the words always being locked away deep down. This is due to the utter sense of fear women live in everyday. Walking down the street alone is no simple task. You become fragile and exposed to the world around you dominated by the male ego. Shouts pour out of their mouths. Their eyes lock onto you, scanning you from head to toe, like you are the prey. Your head tilts, and suddening the only thing you fixate on is the specs in the sidewalk pavement. Your pace picks up, the frightened scurry of your shoes scuffing the ground cannot be heard against the thumping of your heartbeat. Whistles, kissing noises, yells, all follow you down the street. It feels like you are being hunted.

Women are degraded to feeling like animals. The act of walking down the street can be as violent as having confrontations in war. An author of a poem describing experiences in Vietnam wrote: “muzzle down, sniffing like a hundred-dollar dog. Keep it on automatic. Anything moves in the bushes you open fire”. This relates to exactly what a woman can feel, how all humanity is extracted from the man who is entitled enough to threaten your security as a person. It is like an instinct, almost dog-like. Any female they can find will be subjected to the harsh realities that we are still not equal.

For centuries, humans have played the game of trying to decide who the alpha is and who is the omega. Once the idea that women were lesser came to be, society latched onto it with a full force. Everywhere you turn, you are blinded by the movies, pictures, music, and blatant ignorance the media carries.

Violence towards women is made almost appealing. Harming women can even lead to a means of pleasure. 50 Shades of Grey took the world by storm, everyone enraptured by the intense lifestyle led by the main character. He forced the woman into a relationship without love; only submission. Americans everywhere gobbled up the plot, fixating on the glamorized Hollywood faces portraying the characters and the sensuality coated with a thick layer of sexism. The Huffington Post released an analysis of this movie saying: “For some women, the themes of control and rape are not a fantasy. These women see their own abusive relationships echoed in the supposed love story of Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele, but efforts to have their voices heard have been roundly squashed by those who seem to believe that if women enjoy something, its feminism is above reproach.” Denial is a key contributor to these inequalities our society is facing. People absorb the subliminal messages so far sunken into the fabric of everything we do and it becomes increasingly difficult to pull apart.

The masses of America who were enraptured by the cruel nature of the movie are part of the larger issue, but not aware of their perpetuation. This blind ignorance, this adapted behavior, has normalized so many pressing topics that they are hardly even seen as problems. Women have learned to put their heads down as a mechanism to defend against cat calling, and men have only learned to do it more. The media has learned that abusing women sells, and Americans have only learned to adore it. This form of violence is hard to weed out from the overgrowth of mistreatment, and we must push through this and break the cycle. These problems need to become problems again. They need to stop being accepted and begin to be questioned. People must be aware of how they are being treated and how they treat others, and only then can we advance to an environment where anyone can walk down the street and feel safe just being themselves.

Works Cited

Trout, Jenny. "Fifty Shades of Grey and the Anti-Feminist Critique." The Huffington Post., 06 Feb. 2015. Web. 22 Mar. 2017.

McDonald, Walter.“Taking Aim”. n.p. n.d

CNN. Hey Baby! Women Speaking Out Against Street Harassment. Cable News Network, n.d. Web. 14 Mar. 2017.