Not into youIt is mid-summer. The trees are blooming leaves in an assortment of lush greens. The sidewalks are littered with beautiful people attempting to soak up the sunlight before shuffling into office buildings. You are decked in traditional summer attire and men are noticing. Their conspicuous stares are uncomfortable, but manageable – until one of them crosses the boundary between innocent appreciation and inappropriate action. You ignore his antics, hoping his barrage of comments will fade. You keep strutting, looking past him while attempting to calm a rapid heartbeat. His aggressive commentary continues until you’re out-of-earshot.

“You’re beautiful. Let me talk to you for a second.”

“Can I get your number?”

“Where’s your man at?”

“So you’re too fine to speak?”

He is loaded with confidence; he knows his words are persuasive and that one woman is bound to appreciate his approach. His ego is inflated.

A recent study has uncovered one of the reasons men think street harassment is acceptable behavior. “The Misperception of Sexual Interest,” a study conducted by the University of Texas, Austin and Williams College found that men overestimate women’s interest in them. The report notes that this is attributed to biology and evolution, as “the costs of rejection for men are relatively low (embarrassment), while the potential value of maximizing limited opportunities for mating is high (reproduction).”

“The Misperception of Sexual Interest” examined the interactions of 199 college-aged men and women in “speed-dating” sessions. Most of the men over-perceived the sexual interest of the women participations while women under-perceived the sexual interest of the men. This was based on a pre-recorded self-ranking of attractiveness. Men that considered themselves “more attractive” were also more aggressive and thought more of the women were attracted to them.

The misperception that a woman is more attracted than she appears fuels sexual harassment, street harassment and some aspects of rape culture.

Men, all women are not into you.

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