having just moved to australia, i don't want to give it a bad name because it is awesome (enough to motivate me to move here!) but the men in brisbane, unlike what I found in sydney and melbourne, do.not.stop!!! you cannot walk past a busy street corner or a pub in the brisbane suburbs without a slew of whistles, gross up-and-downs, "hey babys," and "what the hell is your problem?!" which is particularly off-putting and usually comes after one ignores the earlier calls. its not just toward me--many many many women. more than what i experienced in washington, too!

i asked my aussie touchstone ollie what he thought about it, who explained "thats a country thing, a very blokey thing. if you walked by a man's pub in the country, they would be all over you with whistles and call-outs." ah, my favorite articulation of machismo masculinity: the aussie bloke. a man's man who plays rugby and footie and drinks grog and eats like a horse and has the upper hand on his mrs. and hates the fags and the abos (aboriginals). this seems like an over-exaggeration and in many ways this characterization is the extreme form of the case, but aspects of the "bloke" are present and reasserted everywhere, by men and women, and in cases like what i've experienced in the West End of brisbane.

and lets bust the race discussion found earlier on the blog wide open and say these are all white middle class men doing the hollering in the aussie countryside...its not a racialized phenomenon like in washington. i can assure you it is still just as off-putting.

not that it stops me! having lived in costa rica as well, a central american country so heavily immersed in machismo that the strict gender roles it entails are all but unbreakable, a place in which women come to look for and purposely elicit cat-calls and hollering, ive come to have thick enough skin to just keep on going about my day. as in washington and brisbane, you put on your sunnies and ipod to give you a feigned sense of anonymity, and keep walking...

should that have to be it?

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this is ladies night

washington, dc, United States
Have you ever been walking down the street and been hollered at, or perhaps been beeped at by a car - or whistled at while waiting for your ride? We know what it feels like and we want YOU to know that WE'RE RIGHT THERE WITH YOU. Share your experiences here. Share your stories, your reactions, your reflections... maybe your message will help someone else.