I’ve mentioned this before on Medium. Long story short, I used to walk around my neighborhood for exercise (during the day, in frumpy sweats). I had to stop listening to music when men in cars would peel off the street, get out, and approach me to make conversation. It was very offputting and made me hypervigilant to my surroundings after that. I was a teenager after all. When I reacted with obvious fear for my safety, I was met with either soothing assurances they were “nice guys” or I was met with aggression and questions, “What’s your problem? You think you’re too good for me or something, bitch?” Um, my problem is a complete stranger just drove off the road, got out of his car, and approached me on the sidewalk and is standing too close for my comfort. Then you went a step further and tried to dismiss my concerns with aggression. You felt entitled to interrupt me as I went about my day, doing my thing, with no regard for how it might make me feel.
Eventually, I had to give up my daily walk for leisure because the microaggressions and verbal assaults I received from groups of men became too much. It stressed me out. When I ignored them, they were mean. When I tried to walk along and mind my own business, I was called all sorts of awful things and feared it would escalate to violence. For simply walking in my own neighborhood and minding my own business. They didn’t seem to get how their entitlement and egos were the problem.