It kicked off a discussion on how much of an impact it would have on the world if more men started calling out other men for their sexist or aggressive behavior.
A Twitter thread going viral on social media this week has once again ignited conversations about how important it is for men to call each other out on sexist attitudes and behaviors. Shared by a Twitter user named Amy Clarkin, the thread recounted how she was followed by a group of men in Edinburgh, Scotland, while walking home alone from a wedding. "I genuinely do not think a lot of cis het men fully understand the power that them simply telling their friends 'hey, that behavior is not ok' can wield. Storytime from my walk home from a wedding last night," Clarkin wrote, kicking off the thread that's been retweeted more than 23,000 times and liked more than 133,000 times since being posted on June 19, 2022.
Thank you for sharing. I am so disappointed that women are still having to deal with these situations. All men and yes I mean ALL MEN really should be able to get it. What it does to us. Lift your game, fellas. https://t.co/5Ihz5HC8IW— Jenny Frecklington-Jones 🇺🇦🌏🔥💉♀️🏳️🌈🏳️⚧️ (@JonesHowdareyou) June 20, 2022
Clarkin then launched into the story of what she experienced while returning to her accommodation in Edinburgh after a friend's wedding over the weekend. "I left at 10 pm to head back to the apartment. It was still bright, my walk [was] along two busy main streets and one quieter but wide and safe feeling street (all the assessments I'm used to making as a woman going anywhere on her own) so I walked back," she wrote. "It was 10 minutes away and though I was tired I knew I'd be ok to make it. So I took out my cane and started walking, promising my friends I'd message when I arrived and letting my sister (in Dublin) know I was walking now. All precautions that sadly are a usual part of going anywhere alone."
Street 1: grand.— Amy Clarkin (@AmyClarkin) June 19, 2022
Street 2: fine. A group of young guys (maybe 18 to 20? Idk I’m bad at judging ages) are walking behind me. Have clearly had a few drinks, are loudly discussing McDonalds. I’m fantasising about the coco pops I have waiting to snack on at the apartment.
Everything was OK as she walked along the first street. Although things initially seemed fine when Clarkin made it to the next street, she subconsciously made note of a group of young, slightly drunk men walking behind her. Because she didn't have much reason to feel threatened by them at that point, Clarkin said she tuned out of their loud discussion about McDonald's and got back to her own thoughts about the coco pops she had waiting to snack on at the apartment. Her sense of safety didn't last long.
"I turn left down the quiet road to the apartment, a 3-4 min walk. The boys turn too. I cross the road. Most of them cross too and are behind me. One of the boys on the other side of the road calls over 'no, walk on this side.' Is he trying to make sure I feel comfortable? I wonder," she tweeted. "The boys behind me are closer now. You know that feeling when someone is in your space? That. I don't feel threatened, but my hackles are going up. I'm just keeping a steady pace towards my apartment, figuring out when to start taking out my keys."
This right here. I know way too many men whose buddies are cheating on their GFs or wives, and they’ll happily gossip about it to their own GF/wife, but never say anything to their friends!! Female friendships are a roller coaster because we call each other out. Dudes rarely do. https://t.co/tAERJYJORq— Kelly Ann 🎓 (@KellyAKramer12) June 20, 2022
As warning bells go off in her head, Clarkin said she reminded herself to not do anything that might escalate the situation. "Don't speed up: they might think it's a game. I know how quickly a situation can switch to 'threatening,'" she wrote. "One starts singing 'green green dress.' I'm wearing a long green dress. I can feel one to my side, the others behind me. They don't feel menacing, but it's not comfortable. Head down, don't engage, keep going."
Such a powerful story - awful that you had to feel that way even for a few minutes but great to hear lads calling each other out https://t.co/OHjWWMH0RS— Karla Smith (@Mummyfd) June 19, 2022
As Clarkin focused on covering the last few steps to the safety of the apartment, she heard something from across the road. "STOP THAT RIGHT NOW. YOU NEVER DO THAT TO A WOMAN WALKING ON HER OWN," one of the men on the other side of the street yelled at his friends. Although his friends tried to justify their actions as just "messing around," he repeated: "No, it's not acceptable, don't do it."
Three words FROM men TO other men can fix a lot: “Not cool, man.”— Kitty Kitty MeowMeow 🏳️🌈🏳️⚧️BLM (@Meowrowrie) June 19, 2022
This isn’t women’s job to fix. Men must fix themselves since most only listen to other men.
"The others drop back. We're almost at my apartment. Two of them run ahead to check something (giving me a WIDE berth) and as they go back past me to their friends, one says 'I'm sorry about that.' I was so taken aback, I hope I smiled, but it may have been more of a surprised grimace," she recalled. "I go into my apartment, let everyone know I'm safe, eat my coco pops. And think about how just one person standing up and saying 'this is not acceptable' made a whole group change their behavior. We shouldn't have to deal with this. We should be able to walk alone without checking the route, the light, and letting multiple people know when we're expected back. But we do. And every time someone tells their mates 'that isn't acceptable' we get a little closer to not having to." Clarkin's story kicked off a discussion on how much of an impact it can have on the world if more men start calling out other men on their sexist, degrading or aggressive behavior. Here's what some Twitter users had to say:
We may not notice when guys do this, but we sure as heck notice when they don't and it's terrifying! So, it makes a massive difference, even if we don't know it at the time. The absence of danger is so important!— L•E•N•A (@MsLenaKay) June 19, 2022
I’ve had men who weren’t able to cross, kindly call out behind me to let me know they were there and apologize for potentially frightening me.— 🌪adhDEE🌪 (@dimensiondeetv) June 19, 2022
Small actions to let women know we are safe. It means more than I can explain.
Because I had to be cautious about 50% of the population. He did not. He argued that he too could be fearful of walking alone at night. But I explained that he really wasn’t because he did it all the time.— What r u 12? (@whatru12) June 19, 2022
Not all, but some men really don’t understand. /2
Same goes for White ppl who need to start correcting their White friends’ comments in front of other White friends.— (((Dr. Leah F Cassorla))) (@DrCassorla) June 19, 2022
Have you talked to them about it?— Sonia "dramatically bored" Montez (@SoniaMontez) June 19, 2022
I'm a mom of a boy too. We can have those conversations.
Parents, we can absolutely normalize family talks about what it means and looks like when we take action to call others in or address harmful behavior.