Casual Abuse November 12, 2006Posted by Winter in misogyny, sexual harrassment.
On Friday evening a friend and I were setting the world to rights over a coffee in Cardiff. We and a heterosexual couple were the only customers in a coffee shop staffed by one woman. A group of young men stopped outside the window and looked as if they were thinking about coming in, but it turned out that wasn’t their motivation. They waited until the waitress looked up from what she was doing and started to abuse her about the size of her breasts, hooting, shouting “fucking massive tits” and doing that thing men do to mime large breasts. She didn’t do or say anything. She just looked away. I didn’t do or say anything either; I shut down instantly because it triggered bad memories of my own experiences. “Fucking massive tits” was one of the boys’ nicknames for me at school. I presumed it was a nasty one off incident, but about half an hour later a different man arrived and did the same thing; he stopped, waited until the waitress was in eyeshot and abused her verbally. So now I’m seriously considering whether I should call the Police and report these incidents. The waitress is Italian, I don’t think English is her first language, and I certainly don’t want to get her into any trouble, but I feel the men’s behaviour was part of a concerted attack. They know she’s there and they know she’s on her own. I recognised the behaviour; I recognised the gleeful expression on their faces as they sexually abused a woman safe in the knowledge that she is unlikely to retaliate.
What do you think?
Since we’re talking about breasts, let me point you to Yiskra’s post Boobs er Basically.
It is in the way of sexist oppression to ensure that women can never “win” when it comes to their breasts. If you have small breasts, you will be abused; if you have large breasts you will be abused; if you go and get breast implants to try and make them conform to the ever shifting impossible breast ideal many people will still laugh at and abuse you precisely because you have had breasts implants. If something goes wrong with your surgery people will laugh at you. You can’t win.