New York City, NY — by Mia Kalt
This story was originally published in GEN-ZiNE.
As we enter a new normal and people start commuting into the office, meeting friends for drinks, and simply being out and about, many have ditched the masks: except for some women.
While masks have been a major point of contention in American society, several women have noted that they now rely on masks as protection against street harassment.
The Washington Post reveals that many women reported facing less harassment when wearing a mask. Some attribute the lessened street harassment merely because their faces were hidden. They weren't told by catcallers to “smile for me.” On the contrary, many women in the service industry have faced crude remarks when masking up. One woman recalls being told to lower her mask by male customers and then they will decide how much they should tip her.
The New York Times coined this “maskural harassment.” As vaccination rates increase and masks become more optional, what does this mean for women and street harassment? My friends and I have experienced more street harassment when the masks are off.
Are masks the new pepper spray for women?
Women experience street harassment at disproportionate rates than men. A survey from Stop Street Harassment found that at least 65% of women have experienced catcalls and unwanted sexual propositions and advances.
Read the rest of the story at GEN-ZiNE.