clueless harassment

Hey there! I’m sure you don’t remember me, but I’m the human being who owns the ass that you just grabbed. I was standing at a crosswalk, glancing at a text message from my mother, when you saw me. Oh, whoops– when you saw my butt. Not me. Thinking about your total lack of judgment has led me to realize that you might not have known that female butts have people attached to them, so it’s cool if you can’t picture my face. That’s understandable. Unfortunately, I remember you.

You probably had a lot on your mind today, and you probably had people to see and places to be, but you took time out of your busy schedule to place your strange hands on my buttocks and give them a squeeze. If you hadn’t made me feel dehumanized, scared, disgusted, and like a cantaloupe in a grocery store bin that you were inspecting for spots, I might have admired your confidence! It’s almost brave that you’re willing to take whatever you want, whenever you want it. The only thing standing in the way of that being a positive quality is one teeny, tiny detail: I’m a human being. I’m not an object, I’m not a toy, I’m not less than you in any way. In fact, I’m positive that I’m more than you. I am so, so much more than you.

Maybe it’s hard for you to understand why you can’t touch a stranger’s butt, and I sympathize with that. You’ve seen a lot of commercials that commodify women’s bodies, you’ve never seen women in positions of political power, you’ve watched movies whose heroes would never hesitate to grab a free ass. You’ve played video games where you score extra points for strangling prostitutes! With all those messages entering your head, it must be difficult to remember that things with limbs and eyes and blood and facial expressions are exactly as human as you are. When I jumped away from your touch, looking frantic and suddenly sweaty, it was probably hard for you to tell that I was a person. Basic human empathy is really, really hard to muster, and remembering that you don’t own every creature that walks on this planet is an acquired skill. I mean, I’ve managed to go 23 years without assaulting someone on the street, and so has every other woman (and nearly every man) I’ve ever met, but I understand your struggle. What are you supposed to do when you see a butt you’re attracted to? Not grab it?

I don’t know where you are right now, but I hope you’re having a good day. I hope you’re having a much better day than someone who rushed home to take a shower so she’d feel clean from your invasive touch, and I hope you’re a lot happier than someone who now avoids walking through her neighborhood alone. I hope you don’t feel grossed out, I hope you don’t feel violated, and I hope you don’t have to write an angry article on the internet just to blow off steam.

I hope you’re happy today, random man who grabbed my ass. At least one of us should get to be.

Photo: Clueless (1995)