There's no number to articulate the amount of times I've been naive or flat-out wrong. Seriously, that number is infinite and knows no bounds. However, one moment of complete childishness, in my opinion, was my assumption that I wouldn't have to deal with street harassment when I was pregnant. I honestly thought to myself, "Well, our culture doesn't really think women who take up space or have curves are particularly attractive, so I'll be safe." I was wrong. The things men actually said to me on the street when I was pregnant was a stark reminder that street harassment has nothing to do with how you look, and everything to do with how society thinks it can (and as a result, does) treat women.
I was catcalled when I walked my pregnant body to the doctor; harassed when I went out for a walk a day before my due-date; yelled at by a group of men when I was shopping for baby supplies at a local store. In no way did a protruding baby bump protect me from street harassment, and why would it? Thanks to a prevailing rape culture and other dangerous messages cisgender, hetero men hear on a regular basis, women who do something as simple as walk on a sidewalk are subjected to unwanted comments (or worse). Our society has created an environment in which certain men feel entitled to women's bodies — and that entitlement can and usually does manifest itself into either comments packaged as "compliments," domestic violence, or sexual assault — and whatever a woman's body is going through, including pregnancy, doesn't keep some men from treating women like sexual objects.
I found out I was having a boy fairly early on in my pregnancy, so walking around with a son in my womb while men were yelling obscenities, crude remarks, and other harassments my way, was nothing short of eye-opening. I vowed to raise a son who wouldn't do what so many men seems completely comfortable doing. When my son grows up and sees a pregnant woman, he will offer her his seat on a train or hold open a door. One thing is for certain; he will never, ever, say the following:
"I Hope That Baby Doesn't Ruin You On The Way Out!"
If I had a dollar for every time I had to roll my eyes when faced with the notion that pregnancy or motherhood somehow "ruins" a woman — either physically or as a potential partner — my son's college tuition would be paid for. In fact, he could probably go for the gold and get his PhD, all on my dime.
"I'll Be That Baby's Daddy"
It's pretty damn interesting to see just how many men are (apparently) jonesing to be fathers, when our culture continuously paints a picture of men actively avoiding parenthood.
"Damn Girl, Those Curves Are Working For You"
You know what makes pregnancy the absolute worst? It's not the morning (read: all day) sickness and it's not the loss of complete bodily autonomy and it's not the weight gain or the swelling feet or the insomnia. Nope. It's comments like this.
Thank you, absolute stranger, for making what is already a pretty difficult time in my life, exponentially harder. This is why we can't have nice things.
I wish this term would die a thousand deaths in the eternal flames of a fiery hell.
"The Things I'd Do To You!"
Like what, exactly? No please, continue to sexually harass me by going into detail about the things you'd do to me. Please. I really like potential attackers to articulate their intentions.
For the record, this is why women are scared a good majority of the time they walk around in public. We fear for our safety, because men tell us that when they look at us they envision doing things to us, without our permission. That's terrifying.
"Remind Me To Get At You After That Baby's Born"
Not only is this presumptuous, it also sends a message that while you may or may not think I'm attractive enough for you to have sex with, you wouldn't dare touch any pregnant woman because, well, pregnant women are "gross."
This particular comment can make a woman feel like a sexual object while simultaneously telling her she's somehow "defective" or "broken." What kind of bullsh*t sexual harassment wizardry is this, really?
This isn't a compliment. This isn't a compliment. This isn't a compliment. This isn't a compliment. This isn't a compliment. This isn't a compliment.
I'll say it again, for those of you in the back. This isn't a compliment.
"That's One Fine Pregnant Woman!"
If by "fine," you mean some sort of acronym, like "freakin' infuriated now, so enough," then, yes, I'm pretty "fine."
"You Can Still Have Sex, Right?"
Absolutely none of literally anyone's business.
"She Must Be Great In Bed, Right Boys?"
Because every time a woman has sex, she ends up pregnant? Because only women who are "great at sex," end up pregnant? Because procreation is in some way indicitive of a woman's sex-drive or sexuality or how often she has sex or the kind of sex she's having or all of the above?
I can't with you street harassers. I honestly would rather be pregnant the rest of my life (and that's saying a lot, you guys, because I absolutely hated being pregnant) than hear another man tell me something inappropriate, disguise it as a "compliment," and get upset when I ignore him. Enough.