The other day I found myself walking down the street peacefully enjoying the music on my iPod and my time to myself when I had a revelation. As I walked past yet another group of men who insisted upon showering me with inappropriate comments, it occurred to me that as a woman, I owe Steve Jobs and the creative geniuses at Apple a thank you.
Not long ago women walking down the street had no mechanism that allowed them to avoid hearing and dealing with the harassing, inappropriate, and distracting comments frequently yelled in our direction by men for whatever inexplicable reason. But now, with the advent of the iPod and other portable music-playing products, women like me are happily shielded in a world of our own, listening to music that we chose, and effectively drowning out the constant drone of the patriarchal society in which we live. It’s such a relief to not have to hear such annoying comments.
I do not mean to suggest that such comments should be completely ignored or forgotten. Women are constantly faced with the sad burden that we are still unsafe in this world. After technological advancements that allow us to carry our entire music collection around in our pockets and with women in such prestigious positions as the Speaker of the House and the President of Harvard, you’d think women would be a little better off in society. But rape and domestic violence statistics nationwide along with the wage gap and other social inequities prove that women still have a long way to go.
I keep all of this in my mind as I walk the streets of DC, but I am very grateful that my iPod provides a break, that for once in my life I truly do have a choice of what I want to hear, what sort of language and opinions I want to listen to. It’s so nice to not have to hear those men, to not allow them to get in the way of my good day. And maybe one day, when men realize women are ignoring the exclamations of disrespect, they’ll finally stop. For now, I simply choose not to listen, and I enjoy my walks a great deal more because of my choice.
Elisabeth Crum