I went running tonight near my house. For about 3 miles. I had an interesting, eye-opening experience, one of those infrequent instances when I think I realize something along the lines of what other people (in this case, women) deal with sometimes.
I had stopped to change the song on my ipod, when an SUV drove past and I heard female screams, mostly unintelligible but possibly something about my body. I thought it was funny and exciting but also sort of scary or unsettling. I keep running up the hill, and the same SUV drives past under a minute later and I get more yells. They drive fast enough that I can’t see whose inside. At this point I had another mile and a half to get home and they passed me up and down the street possibly 6 times doing this.
That was all that happened. They never stopped; all I could make out further was a white arm hanging out of a window. Oh yea. I was shirtless. and with headphones on. I didn’t recognize the car.
As this kept happening, I got more unsettled and honestly, sort of frightened. I also liked the attention and the idea that they were targeting me for sexualized attention (or at least that’s how I took it). I saw a lot of parallels with what I believe to be a really common experience females have: unwanted attention from males/unwanted sexualized attention. This is of course not a new idea to me. But as I tried to describe earlier, the sort of visceral, experiential understanding, “oh, this must be what it feels like” was novel. And it was powerful. I felt weak, vulnerable, afraid, alert, angry, unsure, pressured, excited, special. I had been having a great run and didn’t like them affecting me like that. I witnessed myself getting vigilant, wondering if every headlight in the distance was them, looking over my head a lot when it had passed me. I felt sort of at the mercy of them. Part of me wanted to run and hide, but I didn’t want to give in to them, or to think of myself as weak and not in control.
I hope this makes some sense. and that the parallels with a typical female experience are somewhat obvious. Stupid guys demanding the attention of female targets so they can feel special and important, ignoring or not caring that it makes the female uncomfortable, unsettled, afraid, hurt, not cared about.
I wonder what they were doing. haha