Not so awful, but still bad

Posted: January 6, 2015 by Jender in why did they have to say that?

My Junior year of undergrad I took a Feminism and Philosophy class which, for the most part, was a safe haven for me. I have to note, it was taught by a male professor. However, he also went to great lengths to cultivate a love of philosophy in the many women that were drawn to the class and allow us space to speak. On the first day he spoke about the lack of women in philosophy. There were also guys in my class, quite a few. One day, after reading a piece on oppression that spoke about micro aggressions, my class got into a discussion about catcalling and street harassment. I shared a personal experience in which a man on the street told me to smile and escalated to vulgarity and verbal violence when I rejected him. He called me slurs and threatened me with physical violence. One of the boys in my class subsequently attacked me. He told me that he did not believe me, that kind of thing didn’t happen in real life, he had never seen something like that happen so it couldn’t be real, and that it was my fault, I should have just smiled when he asked. We went back and forth for a while and he so vehemently denied my experiences that I got very upset and ended up crying in class (which was extremely embarrassing for me). My professor intervened where he could, but this guy was aggressive. After class, a bunch of my male classmates came up to me and told me he was a really nice guy just having a bad day. That isn’t as awful as many of the stories shared on this website but this guy is a fairly typical philosophy major at my school, unfortunately, and I will never forget that day.

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