**Before I start this post, I just want to say that what I experienced does not only happen in Paris. Unfortunately, I’ve experienced these types of situations pretty much everywhere in the world. I’m currently visiting Paris for a few days on my own and had some not-so-nice experiences. I’m in the mood to just write it all down, to get some frustration out, so I’m sorry if it’s a bit of a ramble!**
I would say I’m a pretty confident traveller, and having travelled on my own a few times now, I feel that I know how to handle myself in most situations. This particular day in Paris though was one that left me feeling uncomfortable and at times a bit unsafe. I’ll take you through my day, event by event, to display some forms of everyday sexism I experienced.
Morning visit to The Louvre:
I decided to try and beat the crowds and get to The Louvre early. It was raining and there were men selling umbrellas. I was approached by two but politely declined. They started to follow me and say things like “hey pretty lady, I’m looking for a blowjob” and “don’t ignore me! Hey, HEY!”. I took a 15 minute detour all around the building just to avoid seeing them again. Needless to say; not the most positive start to the day.
Once inside The Louvre:
I made it into the museum quickly and enjoyed the massive collection of art on display. I was walking through a room when I saw a male employee walking up to me. I assumed I’d maybe taken a picture of something I shouldn’t have so I stopped. He walked up to me, in the corner of the room, and said: “I’ve been watching you walking around, you’re beautiful! Do you have a boyfriend? I’ve lived in Paris for 9 years, maybe I could show you, you can come to my place”. To be honest, I was stunned. I naively assumed that a employee of The Louvre would act professional in his work environment, but I guess not. Just an hour after the first incident I once again didn’t feel comfortable at all.
Walk trough the park:
It finally stopped raining once I got out of The Louvre so I decided to walk through the park to my next destination. At one point a man stopped me in my path. I thought he might need directions but as soon as I stopped he started saying how amazing I looked and asking about my relationship status. He asked me for my number and wouldn’t take no for a answer. I was so fed up at this point I stormed off, with him yelling after me “hey, don’t be so mean!”
After visiting the Eiffel Tower, I was sick of the tourist crowds and decided to take a bit of a back road for a quieter walk. I walked past a construction site and had at least three builders shout things at me. It was all in French so I don’t know exactly what they said, but from past experiences I can guess. I just kept my head up, ignored it and kept walking.
Morning metro ride:
So this technically happened the next day, but still within 24 hours of the first incident. I decided to take the metro, as my legs were sore from all the walking I did the day before. There was a guy hanging around the ticketing machines, and whilst I was buying a ticket he came to stand really close next to me and started whispering in French. I ignored him and got through the metro gates as fast as possible. He followed me through and walked besides me and kept on whispering. I took a long route, up a escalator and down some stairs, to try and lose him but he persisted. He then continued to get in the same metro as me and stare at me, but finally seemed to lose interest and get off 7 stops later. This freaked me out so much that I caught myself looking out for him the rest of the day, just in case.
The purpose of this post is not to whine or try and get attention. I wanted to share with you what I experienced, in the hope it shows that being a women in today’s society isn’t always great. I love being a women, but on days like this I realise that sexism is still very much present. If anything it has motivated me to NOT stop travelling on my own; degrading words from immature men aren’t going to stop me, and I hope you don’t let it stop you either.