Kayla Bacon-Girl Standing Across The Street 2

Perfecting my Walking Bitch Face

As a woman walking down the street alone, the comments I get from random men range from just ridiculous to plain creepy. I once had a man stop his car at a red light and yell at me with his head stuck out through the sunroof until people started honking at him. 

What was I doing that was so enticing, you might ask? I was walking down the street in sweatpants… and smiling. This might seem strange, but I happen to like going for walks, and smiling tends to accompany the feeling of happiness. 

In the beginning, all the attention was flattering. Men thought I was pretty. I didn’t even think I was pretty, so it was a real treat. But, it began to get worse.

The comments got more sexual. Men tried to grab me. A man in a business suit tried to physically drag me down the street to a “party” in broad daylight and no one did anything. A group of boys got mad when I didn’t respond to them saying I was hot, and they chased me back to my dorm. 

I spoke to some people and they all said this was happening because I looked “too happy” while I was walking. “You just need to stare at the ground, earbuds in, looking like you want to kill somebody and they’ll leave you alone.”

I took that advice, and it does work. I walk briskly, mouth turned down in a frown and eyes glaring at nothing in particular when I should be overjoyed because how can you not be when you're listening to the soundtrack of Annie

This article is not about how to get men to leave you alone. I don’t know that yet. The walking bitch face isn’t foolproof, because some men will stop at nothing to get your attention. Although yelling: “I’m fourteen years old!” works well. 

This article is about how I began to hate going for walks, about how I had to change myself and my personality for others who refused to take a hint and how frowning brings down my mood no matter how positive the music is I am listening to. 

I want to be able to look however I want to while doing any activity I love, but I also want to be able to feel safe. Safety always takes priority. 

So, yes I now have a walking bitch face, but it’s only because I’m angry that I can’t smile. 

Men in 2020, especially “nice guys”: leave us alone. You’re not being nice. No one “nice” yells about what they want to do to your body while following you down the street.