Most women can attest to the sad and ugly reality that street harassment is a global epidemic and everyday sexism is ubiquitous. Yet there are still some men who don’t buy that any of it is happening. Case in point, a random guy who tweeted stand-up comedian and New York Times bestselling author Jen Kirkman just to let her know that he didn’t believe she got harassed in Melbourne the other night “cuz he’s never seen it.” So Jen, our new WYSKy hero, used his mind-numbing ignorance as a wake-the-f-up-doubters teaching moment by giving women a platform – her highly visible Twitter feed – on which to share their personal stories. A social tidal wave ensued and Tweets are still flooding in.
Here’s how she started the conversation rolling…
In a nanosecond, women from all over the world took over, filling Jen’s feed with short descrips of the countless levels of verbal and physical harassment they’ve faced on the street, on the job, on the school bus, at a bar, in a department store, (fill in the blank), etc. Women shared experiences and memories, all of which made our skin crawl and/or blood boil, from different stages of their lives, including childhood.
@JenKirkman was waiting for a bus and a man came up and grabbed my hands. When I recoiled he said "he couldn't help it" & walked away
— Kathryn Dennett (@kathryndennett) April 4, 2016
@JenKirkman after important meeting w/biotech investors went great, Male colleague said"they only talked to you cuz they wanted in ur pants"
— Jes Bolduc (@JesBolduc) April 4, 2016
@JenKirkman Walking down NYC street in my 20s, guy just grabbed my breast and squeezed it. Didn't say a word. Can still recall the feeling.
— HillaryGlattKwiatek (@hillarykwiatek) April 4, 2016
@JenKirkman when I was 11yo I was walking to piano lessons when a truck full of men slowed down and yelled "love watching you walk lil girl"
— Maggie Graham (@OhPeg) April 4, 2016
@JenKirkman First day as a lifeguard on a military base. Soldier asks how old I am – I say 17. He responds, you look 22 so it's still legal.
— Amy H (@DrPopcornMD) April 4, 2016
@JenKirkman Man crawled into my egress window & watched me, 22yo, undress. I pressed charges & my male peers said "Why? He didn't HURT you."
— tiktikitx (@tiktikitx) April 4, 2016
— Krissy Myers (@krissy_myers) April 4, 2016
A number of men who clearly had their eyes opened wide to the scope and reach of the issue shared their shock and disgust over what the women were posting, which inspired Jen to Tweet, “How. How. HOW don’t men know how widespread it is. It’s WORLDWIDE EVERY GODDAMN DAY. GETTING WORSE NOT BETTER.”
@JenKirkman I always knew about the lack of respect some men had, but I never knew it was to this scale. All of these stories are sickening.
— Tim Murrell (@timmmaa06) April 4, 2016
Holy shit…. Check out @JenKirkman's timeline. As a guy, I am so clueless. The daily harassment that women face is unbelievable.
— Phil the Furious (@philtheswo) April 4, 2016
@JenKirkman Reading all these stories boggles my mind. I knew these things happen but never knew how widespread it was. It makes me 1/2
— Douglas Fresh (@_TheRealDFresh) April 4, 2016
Of the social storm she whipped up, Jen noted, “If I were a man my Twitter would get press be called genius and revolutionary and have it’s own TV show as a feminist ally.” About 9 hours later, she added…
What Else You Should Know About Jen Kirkman
You may have seen Jen on her regular appearances on Comedy Central’s @midnight. She’s done stand up on many late night shows: The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Conan, John Oliver’s New York Stand-Up Show, The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson.
She was also a long time writer and round table guest on Chelsea Lately and is well known for her roles as the narrator in many episodes of the Emmy Nominated TV series “Drunk History” on Comedy Central.
Jen’s debut memoir – “I Can Barely Take Care of Myself” – became an instant New York Times Bestseller when it was released in April 2013. Her newest book – “I Know What I’m Doing — and Other Lies I Tell Myself: Dispatches from a Life Under Construction” (due out April 12, 2016) – hilariously covers everything from marriage to divorce and sex to mental health and is all about “embracing the fact that life is a bit of a sh*t show and it’s definitely more than okay to stay true to yourself.”
We’re soooooooooooooooo in!