Dear Douchebag Who Shouted Abuse at Me While I Was Running Last Night,
I would like to serve you a portion of screw you with a side order of shut the f*ck up.
‘Get moving!’ you shouted as me and a bunch of my running crew buddies breezed past you. Thanks for the coaching n’ all, but you were standing outside a fish and chip shop with a cigarette hanging out of your mouth – forgive me if I conclude that you’re perhaps not at the peak of your fitness yourself. ‘You should get moving!’ I jokingly shouted back only for you to respond with ‘I don’t think so – you need to move it more than the rest of ’em love.’
Ahh, so because I made a come back and challenged you on your douchery, perhaps made you feel a little self conscious about your own lifestyle choices, your immediate go-to, as with so many other douchebaggy men of your ilk, is to comment on my appearance. Of course! I’m not a size zero and I have the cheek to be seen in public running! How dare I!
Here’s the thing – I genuinely don’t give a crap about your comment because frankly, I could probably squat your weight, I have a killer left hook that could floor you and I know you wouldn’t be able to hang with me for a mile, so trust me, I’m not self conscious about my body, because I focus on what it can do. And believe it or not, I wasn’t put on earth to be visually appealing to you.
What irked me is that as a woman, it is rare I’m able to go out for a run without some idiot male like you feeling the need to comment. Yours was quite tame in comparison. Clearly, you’re a novice to the street harassment game. Usually I get very focused comments about my legs or bum or breasts because obviously while running I need to make sure all of these things look visually appealing to the opposite sex rather than just focusing on, you know, the actual running part. I must look perfect at all times. As a woman, that is my duty to society.
Why do you feel the need to comment? What do you get out of it? Did you sleep better last night knowing you just implied a slender female running past you was actually obese? It made you feel good about yourself? Seriously, what is it? Explain it to me. Help me understand. Why can’t you just see a female runner and keep your mouth shut?
Lucky it was me your shouted at, who is confident in her body and abilities. What concerns me, as an advocate for female empowerment through exercise, is if you’d have made a comment like this to a woman who was out on her first run. Someone for whom it had taken a great deal of time and confidence building to even take those first steps. Someone who perhaps is self conscious about their weight and is running as a means to address that. If you’d have said that to a woman like that, it may knock her off course completely and make her not want to do it anymore.
We are judged about the way we look every single waking moment of the day as women. We are allowed to look sweaty. We are allowed to be a big jiggly when we run. We are allowed to be red faced. We do not run for your approval. Not yours or your beer bellied, ash-tray mouthed friends standing outside pubs. Our bodies are ours. We’re not awaiting your score card judgement.
So screw you, man. And any time you want to come run with me, just let me know. I’ll have the paramedics on stand by.
Female runners everywhere.