I used to volunteer at a community center (until it was shut down due to lack of funding 😦 )several blocks from where I lived and would usually walk there to help out on my days off from work. Not only was it a nice view of some of the older parts of the city, but I very much enjoyed walking and always feel healthier and happier the more I do it.
One of the first times I made the trek down to the community center, I noticed a group of young men, maybe in their late teens or early 20s (not too much younger than me), sitting on the front porch of one of the houses. I was walking down the sidewalk across the street from them and could see them watching me. As I got closer to them, one of them yelled out, “Tight clothes don’t make fat chicks look skinny!” and then another, “I’ve seen dog shit that looked better!” followed by, “Bitch!” and other darling epithets. All just because I was walking down a sidewalk minding my own business.
Okay, so I’m not skinny, but it’s not like I’m obese either. I’ve always had a few extra pounds ever since I hit puberty, but I’m nowhere near being unhealthy.
Also, the clothes I was wearing at the time were far from being tight. I remember exactly what it was: loose-ish t-shirt and a long peasant skirt that went down to my ankles. I couldn’t for the life of me think of how I could have been seen as wearing tight clothing, especially in an ankle length skirt! Maybe because the strap of the shoulder bag I was carrying was positioned between my breasts, accidentally accentuating them? Oh no! I have boobs! I must be out the get male attention! Which of course is just disgusting if I’m not a waif-thin supermodel.
Furthermore, it made me a little nervous to be getting so much negative attention in a part of town known to be crime-ridden. The way they were acting I thought they might actually try to follow me, but they thankfully decided to stay on their own block. After that, I changed my course a bit so that I would be walking 2 streets down from then on and I started carrying a big walking stick with me (for protection and because, admittedly, it looked really cool.)
What really bugged me about it is I knew they were insulting my appearance and weight because they thought it would be the most emotionally damaging thing to me as a female. They probably would have been less likely to yell things at a random overweight guy walking down the street because they would think, “This dude is bigger than me and I don’t want him trying to kick my ass!” I know guys can get harassed about their weight too, but overweight men are more likely to be seen as “jolly” or “manly”, especially the ones with just a few extra pounds like I have, while overweight women are always “gross” or “sad” (unless their weight is being fetishized, of course).
Oh well… Guess it’s all my fault because I just so happen to have boobs and big hips.