On her morning subway commute in New York City, a man catcalled Christen Brandt as she walked by, telling her she has “nice legs” despite being bundled in a puffy parka and tall boots.
But the harassment didn’t end there. After sharing her story in a viral Facebook post – with almost 188,000 likes and over 98,000 shares – Brandt, 27, started getting hundreds of comments there and on Instagram, some positive, but many others explicit and offensive.
So she set up a Tumblr, ChristensInbox.com, to chronicle all of their comments – both good and bad.
“You girls need to lighten the f— up. In the grand scheme of things, someone paying you a compliment or coming on to you is the least of everyone’s worries,” one person wrote on Instagram. “If it really bothers you, take comfort in knowing that in a few years, far fewer men will be interested in you.”
“I’m sorry you have to live on a planet with other people,” writes another via Facebook Messenger. “I think your reaction to just completely ignore people like a stuck-up bitch, and then go on social media and act like a victim is totally appropriate.”
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Eight hours later he decides to write back, adding, “You’re f—ing ugly anyways.”
One guy even turned her photo into a meme, with the caption, “If you complement her, you’re a f—ing sexist pig.”
On the other end, many women thanked Brandt for sharing her story, and added their own heartbreaking stories of harassment.
“I love this so much,” writes one woman. “I have been catcalled so many times in my life and the one that really got ot me was when my now 4 year old son was a newborn. Me, sleep-deprived, covered in spit-up with hair that hadn’t seen a shampoo bottle in a shamefully long time CARRYING MY SON stopped by some guy on the street to tell me what a hot mom I was, as well as things that are crude to repeat. But calling a douchebag out gets you labeled as a ‘male-basher’ or worse.”
“Unfortunately I’ve experienced the same and am not even out raged when it happens,” adds another woman. “I’m embarrassed like I had something yo do with it. I’ve been so desensitized, I assume it’s ‘normal.’ ”
“I have to believe that street harassment is something we can put a stop to, and I do believe we can – if we have men on our side,” she said. “If the men in our lives realize that this isn’t just something that happens to other women, they’ll be more likely to take a stand against it.”