Social Geography: Street Harassment and Everyday Sexism

Social geography considers how individuals and groups experience and use spaces. In particular, the everyday lives of people – how they move through the world, what they do where, who controls behaviours – are of interest.

Social concepts, such as gender, class and ethnicity influence our everyday lives. Social geographers, therefore, pay attention to how these elements affect people and spaces. For example, think about how different people move through the city. Can everyone roam freely (as is the ideal in a modern free-society)? Or, are there barriers, both real and perceived? The redirecting of a traffic flow makes a road unsafe for children to play, an elderly person walks the long way around avoid a group of teenagers, a busker is moved along, a deaf person doesn’t go to the cinema because of a lack of subtitles.  All these show how space is used, misused and controlled by people, groups, ideas and institutions.

The Everyday Sexism Project and Stop Street Harassment are two examples of social projects that demonstrate how gender continues to define how people use and experience the world. These projects catalogue and comment on the daily harassment that women, of all ages, but especially young women (very young in some cases), and LGBQTIA people experience in their everyday lives.

A search through Twitter for #EverydaySexism or #StreetHarrassment will get a barrage of results that indicate the unpleasantness, aggravation and abuse that women suffer on a daily basis.

  • “”Hey baby, you need a ride? I’ll treat you nice” and then, “bitch, I asked you nicely” Why do I leave my house?”
  • “Being told you have to take precautions against men creeping in parking lot. How about security is provided instead?”
  • “Hate it when middle aged blokes in a van think it’s ok to beep at you as you’re crossing the road with your shopping”
  • “Bloke on the train just said ‘I’d love to have sex with you, love’”

These are real examples of what people have to experience.  It is in all out interests to counteract and challenge these behaviours and circumstances when they arise. Projects and organisations such as these are doing amazing work at highlighting very real and troubling issues, which are very obviously of concern to us all, not just social geographers.

#SHOUTINGBACK (Extended Version)

Everyday Sexism: Laura Bates at TEDxCoventGardenWomen

Share Button

Leave a reply.


nine − = 7