Remind me again that it’s women’s history month. Tell me that International Women’s Day eliminated injustices committed to people who identify as women. Excuse my eye roll...
“You should smile more often.”
“Don’t be so mean beautiful."
“Goddamn goddess! You’re colder than the snow outside.”
“Damn girl...I was just giving you a compliment. They making y’all hoes fragile in 2018.”
Matter of fact, in the middle of my Instagram story, my viewers watched me curse off a guy who blew a kiss at me and said some pretty disturbing commentary about what he would do to me. What’s the solution? The first five statements were just a fraction of the commentary received by walking a twenty block radius and not responding. Perhaps, I should smile and act like it’s okay, right? But then I’d be justifying his -or her- behavior and if I do, I might still be called a whore after I turn down their advances. I am humored when another human, despite their gender, asks me what did I do--I existed in their same space. Over the course of four years, women asked me how do I feel running alone and what should they do and I find myself aggravated giving my most honest responses.
Without being long winded for a change, I don’t have a proper answer. Running while being a woman or even a person with a disability, looking different from others or anything in between is an express pass to idiots to harass you. It’ll be close to five years since I thought about training for any type of race -whether it was cycling to road events - and I’m loaded with mediocre ways of ‘reducing’ the loads of street harassment that I get while running. Here’s my response:
‘Solution'- Running With a Male Partner (Or With Anyone for that Matter)
When I learned how to properly run, I was fortunate enough to meet other females who ran at 0 dark 30. We came up with a meeting spot and a contingency plan if others didn’t show up. While I love the camaraderie, nothing personal, sometimes I don’t want to run with anyone. Paraphrasing what one of my dear Facebook friends said yesterday on my post: I don’t want to feel obligated to run slower, faster or engage in a conversation in some of my runs. As a flip flopping extroverted introvert, some days more than others I value my ‘shut the fuck up’ time, especially on long runs. I don’t like the feeling of awkwardness if I want to put on my headphones, zone out or listen to my own breath fall into a rhythm. And sure, not all male runners are like this but the ones that I ran with at times claimed that I wasn’t putting in enough effort as I watched them burn out by mile 5 because too much speed was applied too early. I’m not up for the machismo bullshit of worrying about matching your stride or a dude trying to ‘correct my form’ to make my 220 pound ass run like him. In the words of my ole boy Snoop Dogg: ‘Bitch please.’
‘But having a man run next to you will ward off other men.’
Eh, negative pop tart. I’ve walked with some of my male friends and family members and it doesn’t stop the stares nor a few brave hearts who are willing to wait until they’re not by my side to bust a move. For the record: Have y’all seen my shoulders? On any given day, I know how to flex on an idiot so spare me the alleged male protection number. People should know how to have common sense (if it even exist anymore) and know how to respect one another. If a person is so committed to go beyond words, unfortunately there are assholes out there who will attack your male counterpart and still try to lunge for you.
"You Should Wear Frumpy/Baggy Clothing"
...and you should probably go fuck yourself. If you think for one minute that I asked for it by wearing leggings or fitness gear that’s tailored towards my sport (i.e. closely fitted clothing), you can go flush yourself down the toilet right now. In fact, the day that I received the string of nasty messages, I was wearing my husband’s hoodie, some mediocre sweatpants, disheveled hair and my Brooklyn ‘kiss my ass’ face. No makeup or what some primitive fucktardasaurus Rex like to call ‘a thirst trap’ outfit. Street harassment doesn’t discriminate against the fashionably illiterate to society’s standard of a beauty queen. This is why we’re all not attracted to the same type of people. An even worse thought is that sexual offenders sometimes have a type. Please tell me you wouldn’t tell an eight year old to not look so enticing? If it sounded as disgusting as I feel, then please don’t tell me that b/s.
Tune into the latest episode of The Long Run with Martinus and Latoya through the 300 Pounds and Running podcast.
Have You Ever Been Followed?
Absolutely--and it’s one of the scariest goddamn experiences I ever had.
Referencing the above mentioned commentary about a ‘solution’, my male bae is my jealous boyfriend called a knife. Do I recommend for folks to run with one? I’m not giving that suggestion. People run with mace or even get creative enough to build-a-weapon by wearing sharp objects on their keys in between their knuckles (I actually had to hit someone with my keys once).
In this case, I actually DO have a few suggestions:
Is There a Clear Solution to Sexual Harassment?
Nope. Sexual harassment is as old as time and unfortunately, we can’t make people defecate from their mouths every time they say something heinous. Most things in this lifetime is beyond your control but the little bit of control that you have is a whole lot--don’t underestimate your power or allow fear to cripple you. I try my best to detox my ‘fuck you’ responses in the gym and when I’m truly at the edge, I give someone a verbal lashing. On the other hand, I cannot express enough that your judgment is the strongest tool that you have--even stronger than the combination lock nestled on your knuckles. To those who aren’t with the shits of recruiting a male counterpart to run with you on every run, kudos to you. And to those who prefer to run with someone, there’s no shame in it. If anything, find your comfort level. The only fear you should have on the pavement is runner’s diarrhea--well, maybe not even that. Safe trails!