Episode: I can’t believe this needs to be said, but it needs to be fucking said. The difference between social etiquette and Street Harassment
I was explaining on a comment on a blog about someone with Social Anxiety that as a sufferer myself I find it helpful to remember that people male or female are just people. That it is okay, when you pass someone while walking past them to say, “Hi” or wave or tip your hat.
Then they might say, “Hi,” or wave, or nod, or maybe even say more. But then you just keep walking afterwards.
THAT, my friends, is social etiquette. You are walking so close to someone you almost have no choice but to make some sort of eye contact with them.
You don’t want to be friendly? Okay, don’t be friendly. You don’t want people to wave at you? Or nod/smile at you because you’re passing them on a side walk then look down and don’t make eye contact and just continue to look generally pissed off. That is fine. People, who practice good social etiquette aren’t going to force a conversation out of you. Nor do they want to because you don’t give off signals of being very friendly or talkative. But some people ARE talkative and after I say, “hi,” in passing they might respond with, “Hi! How are you?” Then we’ll talk a bit until we both continue on our way. That was a conversation that I wasn’t looking for, I could have lived without but neither party opposed it or felt threatened. We both just enjoyed the small neighborhood walker chat we had. Then continued on with our damn lives.
Street Harassment is a whole different ballgame. Equating the two as the same is a super big mistake. Street Harassment is when someone FORCES an interaction on to you. Literally forces. Like to the point where it is not normal.
I get street harassed all the time and the whole vibe is totally different from someone just nodding at you, waving at you, or saying “hello.”
It is them initiating, “Hello” AND THEN CONTINUING TO TALK TO YOU AS YOU WALK AWAY FROM THE CONVERSATION YOU DO NOT WANT.
I literally have never harassed anyone. I might see someone and say “hi.” then they say, “hi” and keep walking. I don’t follow them or keep talking when they walk away. THAT IS STREET HARASSMENT.
I say this because I got a reply to my comment that said something along the lines of “making eye contact with people on the side walk, waving at people, everything you’re doing is STREET HARASSMENT AND YOU ARE HORRIBLE AND RUINING WOMEN AND MY LIFE! Rawwwjreiwj difj sdljg!”
It said, basically that.
I replied with the basic simple line, “Saying hi to someone on the sidewalk as you pass them is not street harassment they are very different.”
They replied with, “Any unwanted contact with anyone is street harassment and when you say hello to people it makes it harder for me!”
How? How does it make it harder for you to live? Clearly, this contact I am having with people is not making them uncomfortable because I continue to see these people in my neighborhood and they nod/acknowledge/wave/say words to me as I walk by as well. So clearly there is a relationship there that is obviously nonthreatened by the other party. Presumably because I did not go, “HI TALK TO ME TALK TO ME RAWR RAWR SMILE DO THISGIVEMEYOURNUMBERNICE BUTT.” Because THAT is street harassment. Forcing a conversation on to another person is street harassment. FORCING beyond the level of another’s comfort is street harassment.
It is possible that maybe everyone rather never make eye contact or pass another person on the side walk or ever look at a stranger – yeah okay. But as a species we’re generally not like that. It isn’t just women but both sexes. Ok, you don’t want someone to nod at you when you’re walking down the street – don’t make eye contact with them. Because you know who I say “hi” to: people who are making eye contact with me. Legit eye contact.
Not people who do not want to talk like the girl who replied to me.
THERE IS A BIG DIFFERENCE BETWEEN eye contact initiated nod/wave/greet as you walk by on the street and STREET HARASSMENT.
A VERY big difference.