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Porn Star Stoya Speaks Out on Street Harassment

 
 
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Street sexual harassment is sadly all too common, and women who discuss it publicly are often faced with the question "What were you wearing?" as if that's somehow relevant. 

Well, porn star and writer Stoya has a few things to say about that idea. In a piece for Jezebel, she writes: 

Before you try to tell me that it's because I take my clothes off for a living, let me tell you that this started way before I was 18. Let me tell you that every single woman I know has at least one truly terrifying story of street harassment and a whole bunch of other stories that are merely insulting or annoying. Let me remind you that in a room of pornography fans, who have actually seen me with a dick in my mouth and who can buy a replica of my vagina in a can or box, I am treated with far more respect than I am walking down the street.

Implying that women deserve the harassment they get on the street (or, indeed, at a porn convention or anywhere else) because they've somehow sexualized themselves is victim blaming, and it's repulsive. At UnWinona, another writer detailed a specific experience she had with a street harasser. 

 

It’s not the first time I’ve been bothered multiple times.  As such, I’m still amped from the teenagers on the first train.  So when this man leans across the aisle into my personal space and asks me, yes, what are you reading, I assertively but calmly tell him to please leave me alone, I am reading.  The man stands up, moving to the front and muttering angrily over his shoulderthat it isn’t his fault I’m pretty.

Yes.  Exactly that.  I am the bad person in this situation because somehow this is all my fault.  I started this by being attractive.  I am making a mental note to bitch about this to my friends later.  I go so far as to write it down so I know I’m remembering it properly.  

Her story goes from there to truly horrifying. (Seriously. Click at your own risk.) And as Stoya notes, men respond to these stories with guilt and apologies. But it's important to recognize that these stories are part of a culture, part of a serious, ongoing, systemic problem. It's on a continuum with Todd Akin talking about "legitimate rape," and it needs to stop. 

By Editorial Staff

Posted at September 10, 2012, 3:41pm

 
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