When women go out in public, we want to look and feel confident. But sometimes there are things we won’t do in public because we don’t want to draw unwanted attention to ourselves.
Reddit user protehule took to the Ask Women subreddit and asked, “what actions or movements [are you] uncomfortable performing in public because you’re a woman?” and the answers are all too relatable.
Walking Past A Group Of Men
“Just walking [past] a group of men and feeling their stare behind me.” – uniqaa
Whether out at the grocery store or walking past construction workers, many women said just walking near a group of men is cause for anxiety due to a fear of being catcalled or creepily stared at.
Many women also said that removing any kind of clothing in public, such as a hoodie, is something they also avoid doing so that nearby people don’t get the wrong idea.
“Taking off my jacket, even when it’s getting way too warm and I’m starting to sweat. I always fear that one of the people nearby is a wacko who will mistake it as me doing it specifically to show off my body to him.” – IndependentCrazy
Any Kind Of Exercise
Any woman knows the importance of a supportive bra and comfortable workout clothes, but when it comes to vigorous exercise, sometimes our assets draw the wrong kind of attention.
“I’m breastfeeding right now…[and] there’s just no containing them. I ran up some stairs in public the other day and every single guy was looking at me.” – cuckedprincess
Making Eye Contact
Some women said when they’re out in public they’ll refrain from making eye contact with strangers in order to avoid giving people the wrong idea.
“Either I don’t make eye contact with random men on the street and I get told I’m rude or stuck up, or I do make eye contact and it’s seen as an invitation. There’s no way to win.” – WithACandlestick
Smiling At Strangers
While eye contact can be sometimes misconstrued as being an invitation, the same can be said of smiling.
“There’s a public park near my house and I used to go. This older man and I were walking in opposite directions, so [we would make eye contact and smile at each other]. Then he said he wanted my number and told me he wanted to be my friend. I skedaddled for dear life out the park and went home.” – perfectlylonely13
Eating Literally Anything
For other women, something as simple as eating is something they also try to avoid doing in public, especially when it’s foods such as bananas, ice cream cones, or even lollipops.
“I remember in high school I was just minding my own business eating an ice cream and across the table, my male friends made gross/sexualized comments about it (like, ‘Ohhh my pants are getting really tight’).” – KitKatCookie9
Drinking In Public
Every woman likes to go out with friends and enjoy a few drinks, but when it comes to getting drunk or even accepting a drink from a stranger, that’s a no-go for some.
“When you don’t know if someone is being nice or creepy. It makes me immediately suspicious, I will normally decline unless they offer for me to go with them to watch/see the drink being made and I am watching like a hawk.” – juniper_fox
As kids, we’re always taught to be kind to others and help people out, but when it comes to helping out men, some women worry about the “What ifs?”.
“I really don’t like how scared I am to help men. Does he really wanna know where to pay for a parking ticket or he just wants to get in my car? Does he really want to see the machine my dad is selling or he wants to get me in [the] garage alone instead? I know how cold and reserved I must look.” – MorningLightTea
Traveling alone on public transportation is something women said they avoid doing, but when they do have to get somewhere, falling asleep on the bus or train is an absolute must-avoid scenario.
Other women said that they avoid walking anywhere by themselves, especially at night.
“I once had to bend down to pick up some change that fell from my wallet, a moron came behind my back imitating he was riding me, he was with a bunch of other guys, and they were all very entertained by it. I can’t really bend down anymore when I’m surrounded with men.” – ComicStrip_69
In order to avoid any unwanted stares or physical contact, some women avoid bending over when they need to get something that’s on the ground and instead crouch down.
When Friendliness Is Miscontrued As Flirting
One thing women will sometimes avoid doing is being too friendly because it’s often misconstrued as being flirtatious. But as some women point out, this is a double-edged sword and there’s often no winning.
“But if you’re not bubbly and friendly you get [shat] on too because ‘you should smile more’ or ‘you’d be prettier if you smiled.'” – Aeriosa
“Sometimes just existing. For example, I’ve recently stopped shaving my legs and the amount of hateful or gross comments I’ve gotten from strange men on the street is genuinely insane and frightening.” – aliciachiquata
“Honestly people should mind their own business, what people do with their body is their choice.” – pink_catsandme