A few weeks ago, my friend Emily of Rosie Says almost broke the internet with her article on Role/Reboot, A Letter To The Guy Who Harassed Me Outside The Bar. It’s a fantastic piece that cogently and calmly articulates why being on the receiving end of “jokes” and “compliments” from strange men is rarely a funny or flattering experience. Response was overwhelming and Emily has been documenting a lot of the feedback, both negative and positive.
Today, she posted A Letter To The Girl I Harassed, a response from a male reader that attempts to flip the perspective once again and give us insight into the mind of a harasser. While the letter writer admits that his attitude is not healthy, he feels that other guys will relate to it. Emily says she finds the letter disturbing and a little scary, but mainly sad, and calls for empathy on all fronts. My reaction was less kind. For me, this letter reads as a steaming pile of entitlement and essentialism and I find the “predator/prey zero sum game” narrative kind of terrifying. But there is one paragraph that really stuck out to me.
“Being in the presence of a woman can be anguish. It’s loneliness (and sometimes horniness), and all that other Freudian bullshit rolled up into mundane moments. Just walking down the street can make me feel helpless when I pass a woman sometimes. I can’t shake it. If I could shake it, I would. Trust me. It’s no fun. But this is the hand I’m dealt, so I roll with it.”