Hey Slut! Hey Fat Arse!

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So I’ve finished my final year at university. Although I have some amazing memories, I also have some bad ones which tainted my experience here. Sexual harassment is a common thing for girls to experience and I’ve found that not having been a target of it, is more surprising than having been one. I thought I would share with you just some of the experiences of harrassment me and my friends have had to endure while being students.

Let me take you way back to my first week: freshers! ‘Monte foam party!’ I had such a lovely night with my flatmates, dancing, drinking, and making new friends. My flatmates and I all left at the same time and decided to hang out in the same room. And this is when two male ‘friends’ of mine decided to, over text, say I had a washboard tummy and I would be the best “oil rig” in the sea. For those of you who have not heard of this name before (I certainly didn’t when I was called it) urban dictionary defines it as a:

“Sexual position involving two males and a female. Normally the female will be a slut but there have been cases reported where she is just a damn good sport. The two males sit on a bed facing each other…The female then lowers herself onto the crotchal region of one male while still facing the other. As she lifts her vaginal region off of male number one she lowers her mouth to fellate the male she was originally facing…Thus the female is making a sort of see-saw or oil rig-esque motion.”

InventiveLad. FunnyLad. JustPlainPatheticLad. The first week of Uni and these boys come out with that. Well thanks boys, thanks for showing me my true calling in life!

A second time, this time in Oceana. A friend and I decide to go to the smoking area and search for people we may know. A boy, standing in a group with his male friends, overhears my friend asking if I know anyone. I say yes and point past this boy to a friend on my course, “I know him!”  And just ever so kindly as we walk past, this boy decides to add to our conversation: “About to say love, I don’t know you, you’re a slu…” I turn around with an intrigued look on my face “Yes?” I say, “oh nothing love nothing, sorry” he says looking at the floor. For those of you who define a girl as a slut for the little amount of clothes she wears, the only skin I was showing was my face and arms. So, boy who I’ve never seen before with such a well-rounded judgement of me, congratulations on achieving the social approval of your friends and making yourself look like a pillock in the process. That’ll do pig, that’ll do.

This one happened most recently and actually motivated me to finally write this piece. You know that little alley way behind the Chemistry building with the little river? Yeah it happened there, a very intimidating place for a girl to walk down alone even in daylight. I begin to walk down the narrow path leading to the stair when I see these two boys leaning against the wall. As you do in alley ways apparently. One looks me dead in the eye the other looks me up and down, and I thought to myself “here we go, I know that look”. I walk passed with my shopping and hear them giggling and the words “fat arse”. I decide to ignore this one, give them the benefit of the doubt. But you see one of these boys wants me to hear this and ever so loudly shouts “FAT ARSE!” Now there are people walking by, witnessing this, which makes it all the more humiliating. Why does this boy want to embarrass me? Why has he thought his opinion of my bum was so valuable he had to shout it out for everyone to hear? Here let me do it for you, “Hey everyone my name is Vicky and my main insecurity is my fat arse. It makes me feel like an elephant and my mum says it looks like my nans arse. So please, feel free to comment on it and make me feel like crap, your opinion will be duly noted”.

These are just a few examples that I have had to deal with. My friends have told me that they have walked home from nights out and because they hadn’t stopped to talk to a bunch of lads, they had to listen to these lads shouting names like “slags” and “bitches” after them. It’s funny how quickly these boys jumped to using the word ‘slag’ without thinking of the consequences. Just one name, one derogatory term which rolled off their tongues stuck with my friends so vividly. Another case, which is actually classed as sexual assault, was when a friend on a bus not only had to watch and listen as a man gawped at, and spoke about her breasts, but she was also left in shock when the same man decided to stroke her breasts while she was trying to get off the bus.  It’s shameful that some boys look at girls and think “Yeah, I’ll have me a piece of that whether she wants me to or not!”.  Some of my friends say they are used to it, it upsets them but they have to shrug it off. I don’t see why we have to and why we are expected to take it. When you turn around and stick up for yourself they are like a dear trapped in headlights (There ARE consequences?! No friggin way!). The best advice my mum gave me growing up: if someone makes you feel bad about yourself turn around, point, and laugh. You should see their faces when you do. I need Feminism because these boys get a kick out of embarrassing women. I need Feminism to encourage these girls to stand up for themselves.

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