women use #nowomanever to share catcalling horror stories
'He blocked me from walking to the register when I was ignoring him in CVS and we been together since that day! — NO WOMAN EVER.'
The latest wave of anti-street harassment sentiment arrived on Saturday morning with #NoWomanEver. Since then, women of Twitter have been recounting their experiences of catcalling and public displays of male aggression through quippy one-liners and a slick, heavy layer of sarcasm. Tweets like "After I politely declined taking his number 3 times, I took it on the 4th because I admired his consistency. Said #NoWomanEver" shed light on how ridiculous street harassment behavior can be, causing us to pause and ask, Do men really still think this is working?
Some tweets are downright frightening, as women report being followed, spit on, watched, screamed at, unwillingly touched, shamed for being "fat," or scolded for being a lesbian. One woman tweeted, "When he pulled my earplug outta my ear for not responding? My heart melted — #NoWomanEver." Again, how could a man possibly think this particular tactic would be effective in convincing her to engage with him?
These are the questions that 37-year-old user CJ posed when she inadvertently started the trending phrase. CJ told Buzzfeed, "I was honestly trying to lighten things up a little bit. I thought the snark and sarcasm behind it would change the energy behind the timeline." Following her original tweet — "He blocked me from walking to the register when I was ignoring him in CVS and we been together since that day! — NO WOMAN EVER" — CJ said that men have been tweeting her, asking her how they are supposed to meet women if they don't approach them on the street, and suggesting that women are misinterpreting their good intentions. CJ responds, "It just really made me feel like we've had this conversation so many times, they should know to either leave people alone or not engage in the conversation."
She's right: we have had this conversation far too many times, and part of the issue may be that the fight against street harassment has a tendency to go viral and then disappear into the depths of Twitter. From cat-calling videos to hashtags, it's a positive thing to have so many women speak up on the same platform, but how many Twitter trends does it take to create change in the real world?
Text Blair Cannon