Oh — hello! You! Yes, sir, you in the Skrillex tank top. Now, I think — I think, but it seems hard to believe that I could be mistaken about this — that you just expressed enthusiastic approval of my largely exposed legs. And also — again, I may have misheard, but I doubt it — you made a sound that was supposed to be an imitation of a large cat.
Could you put down the Lime-a-Rita for a second? We need to talk about this. Thanks! No, I really don’t want one.
So, here’s the situation: It is hot as hell out. We are both actively sweating — in fact, you’re sweating on my arm. Could you step back a few inches? I appreciate it. Anyway, you may be aware that summers — and winters, for that matter — are getting hotter and hotter. Last month, for example, was the hottest May on record. Temperatures we’re experiencing today are higher than they’ve been for 4,000 years. In the not-too-distant future, oppressive, sweltering, I’ma-just-lie-under-this-sprinkler-for-the-rest-of-the-day heat might just be the norm — and pretty much guaranteed if policymakers don’t take fairly drastic action to cut carbon emissions.
But I’m not here to talk politics! I’m here to talk about my body — and so are you, apparently, which brings us to the issue at hand.
If the Arctic sea ice is shrinking, trust and believe that for many women, clothing will follow. And contrary to what you seem to think, that’s actually not for the sole purpose of putting their bodies on display for your personal enjoyment. It’s a matter of comfort, which should not come at the price of hearing your unsolicited, unwanted, and unnecessary commentary.
I’m about to share some alarming numbers, so try to keep up: A couple of weeks ago, the organization Stop Street Harassment released a report on sexual harassment in public spaces. A survey of approximately 2,000 people found that 57 percent of women experienced some sort of sexual harassment just by walking outside of their doors. For 41 percent of women, that harassment was physically aggressive.
And for reasons equal parts obvious and ridiculous, when temperatures climb and clothes get shorter and lighter, you and millions of other bros feel compelled to tell us about it. As a friend and fellow woman out in the warming world succinctly put it: “It got hot out, I put on a dress, people said things to me.”
Let me briefly catalogue all of the bullshit I’m going to have to worry about with a hotter planet, in no particular order: The slow destruction of many American cities, either by drowning or drought. Nasty fruit. The extinction of our most dependable legal stimulant. Starving children. In light of all that, do you really think I can allot an iota of mental space to deal with you running your mouth about my shorts? Boy, you are playing.
Bad news: Even though we have the power to slow it down, climate change is already happening. Good news: You can take one small step for mankind and one big step for making the daily lives of women a lot less awful by remembering that our bodies are not for your consumption, and acting accordingly. It’s that simple!
And one other thing: Even if the mercury climbed to 200 degrees and every ice cap in the world melted and I were dying of thirst in a world covered by oceans, I would never, ever, ever drink a Lime-a-Rita. But thanks for offering.
More stories in this series:
We talked to Emily May, founder of Hollaback!, about why sexual harassment is so widespread on public transit, and what we can do to end it.
Wait – shh – did you hear that? It’s the sound of biking women around the world saying, “Enough of this BS.”
Uber, I loved you, but your disregard for women’s safety is bringing me down.
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