The first time I was catcalled, I was probably 11 years old. The in-person harassment that I’ve experienced was definitely worse when I was younger. I worked in a coffee shop for a number of years and that was probably the worst. Now that we’re all on social media, that seems to be where most of the harassment happens—everything from pictures of people’s genitals to constant bombardment of messages.
I think Inuk women get a special type of harassment. On top of the normal creepiness, there’s this extra level of exotification and fetishization of literally how you were born, which is kind of weird. It leaves a funny, yucky, gross feeling in your stomach.
I wish I could just do normal things like checking my business pages and my socials without having to think, “Oh, man, is there going to be a weird message in there today?” One bad message is enough to kind of throw you off for the entire day. I’ll get messages from other women who are receiving similar kinds of messages and we’ll either laugh or support each other by validating how messed up it is.
I sure feel for our young folks who are having to navigate an entirely different world of online interaction without a lot of guidance, because those of us who are supposed to be providing support to the younger generation don’t understand what it’s like to grow up with social media.
I would love for this conversation to involve more people on the masculine side, and I want to see more being done to educate boys and men, and more being done by boys and men. Once you normalize something, it’s easy for it to just continue. So, I think it’s really important that we have education out there, not just for one gender, but for all genders, and that we continue to teach about consent.