VANCOUVER — As warmer weather approaches and fashions become more revealing, women across the country have begun grudgingly preparing themselves for an increase in street harassment opinion pieces, which usually take the form of unwelcome comments about how a woman’s clothes, body, and manner attract sexual interest from strangers.
“It’s an unfortunate fact of modern life,” said local woman Laura Chambers, 24, “But as a young woman living in a city, if I’m making my way to my twitter @replies or just enjoying a scroll through my Facebook feed, I can’t help but be inundated with it.”
The headlines in question can range from banalities designed to trick the reader into engaging (“Why street harassment is not a compliment”) to exhortations to return the article’s interest (“Hit ‘like” if you think catcalling women is gross!”) to statements designed just to get a rise out of the reader by offending them (“Why you shouldn’t call yourself a feminist if you don’t repost this article c’mon just repost it FUCK YOU COME BACK HERE YOU STUPID BITCH”).
Reports show that women aged 18-35 can experience up to 4, 5, or even 6 instances of street harassment article per day, yet many young women say they don’t know how to respond to them. Chambers’s mother always told her that no matter how stupid or annoying the article is, never to engage.
“The minute you type out a snarky response, you’re establishing a relationship that gives the Huffington Post an excuse to keep talking to you,” said Mary Lou Patterson, 47, in a phone interview.
“The best policy is to just keep moving and you’ll be alright” she said, while quietly scrolling past the article “In Defense of Catcalls—a Man’s Perspective” and swallowing a mouthful of vomit.
Reached for comment, a spokesperson for Buzzfeed dismissed the complaints.
“Honestly, I don’t know what these girls are talking about,” she said while leaning forward to spit into a nearby patch of grass. “Women love it when a content provider throws an opinion article dealing with harassment their way. You’re really gonna blame me for just trying to get a little revenue stream out of girls once in awhile? It’s the summer, for Christ’s sake!”
Despite such arguments, Maria Coleson of Oakville has often finds the proliferation of op-eds discussing catcalling to be demeaning and frightening.
“This constant communication from online aggregators just makes me feel so–invisible, sometimes. Like, I’m more than just a pair of eyeballs and a clickfinger, you know?”
At press time, Tom Peters, an avid street harasser, has never once seen any of the articles in question.