Monday, June 9, 2014

The Victorian Perspective on #yesallwomen and #notallmen

from "How Ladies Are Annoyed in London Streets," Pall Mall Gazette, 19 July 1887

  • "Men of bad character every day annoy, accost, and insult ladies in the streets, and unless they absolutely assault the victims of their impertinent attentions nothing can be done." 
  • "I can truthfully say that when alone I have been subject to annoyance from loungers, though I always walked quickly, minded my own business, and never went out in London in more conspicuous attire than black dresses or dark navy blue. The commonest form of annoyance, and one which I suppose no law or policeman can deal with, was this: a man would stare, walk aggressively close, bumming some tune, sometimes for a considerable distance, never attempting to speak, then suddenly wheel round with a suddenness almost to bring our faces together, and I would be obliged to jerk back ; then, seeing it hopeless to expect encouragement he would walk quietly away."
  • "Sometimes, I have been absolutely pursued through the streets for miles."
  • "I may say I was always quietly dressed, never attempted to attract notice, never went out after six."
  • "Returning through Hyde Park from her situation as daily governess in one of the " big" houses in the south-western district, a man accosted her. In vain she tried to avoid him, till he made some indecent move, when a policeman interfered, and she, terrified, ran as fast as she could till she got to Mrs. ??. In all these cases the men were so- called gentlemen."
  • "For the last six years, being married, and not keeping a carriage, I have walked in London almost daily by myself and although the amount of annoyance to which a young married woman is liable to meet with is not sufficient to make it impossible for her to walk out alone, yet it is quite sufficient to be a constant source of anxiety and discomfort."

from "What the 'Male Pests' Have to Say for Themselves," Pall Mall Gazette, 30 July 1887
  • "I say that the annoyance of which they complain is the fault of their own sex."
  • "My experience was that the virtuous girls knew perfectly well how to take care of themselves, and. that the others were no worse off in my company than in that of the young men whom they met at their chapel."
  •  "Mr. Haweis would apparently make it a penal offence for a young man to look at a pretty girl."
  • "Sir, perhaps you will print a letter from a man of the world who in his time has accosted some hundreds of ladies, and will continue to do so, as he sees no harm in it."

1 comment:

  1. Brilliant! That could be pretty much any comment thread on a modern article about street harassment.