Photo cred - strange de ja vu
After almost 20 years on this earth, living as a person of the female persuasion, I’ve learned a few things. First and foremost, it’s difficult. Pantyhose will never be comfortable. Periods are not a good time. And attitudes towards you change from place to place. I’m so lucky to live where I do, and have the freedoms that I know many women are deprived of. But that doesn’t mean Montreal is exempt from it’s fair share of sexism. Living in the Plateau has opened my eyes to the kinds to a lot of ways women are treated differently, even in such a progressive city.
1. Cat Calling
The amount of times I have been cat called in the Plateau is ridiculous. I get that the Plateau is on the sketchier side on the neighbourhood scale, but c’mon. It’s constant. Day, night, inside, outside, face to face, through car windows, you name it, it’s happening. Screaming vulgar things at someone, is not a compliment.
2. Being Followed
I’ve experienced this mostly happening on side streets, like Saint Dominque or Saint Urbain, but this even happens on Saint Laurent. The crowds/dark allies make it really easy for lurks to follow you. Me, and so many of my Plateau dwelling gals have experienced this, so I think it needs to be addressed. It really sucks that I have to talk about it because people should know not to stalk other people. It’s terrifying. The only thing you can really do is be safe about it. Call a friend, walk in to the nearest store, hail a cab, anything you can do to take care of yourself.
3. Jipped Out Of Money
Watch out for this, especially when you’re out in a big group of girls. Most of the time people will try to overcharge you at deps or in cabs, because they think young women are easily manipulated. If you feel like a price is wrong, don’t let it slide. Ask them to ring it up again. 9 times out of 10, you’ve been overcharged. It’s a gross display of sexism, but the only way to stop it is to kick up a fuss.
Photo cred - Sophie 33
4. Clothing Boutique Mania
A lil’ more light hearted, but whatever. Why must there be so many women’s clothing boutiques in such a concentrated area? It’s no good for my wallet. It makes me feel targeted. I have got bills to pay, and the acute sense of style displayed by all of these boutiques ain’t helping. Hydro Quebec don’t take shoes as payment, believe me, I’ve tried.
5. Saint Laurent Metro Is A Nightmare
Everything about Saint Lau metro, makes me feel uncomfortable. For one thing, it’s windy, so if I wear any sort of skirt or dress I end up doing a not-so-sexy Marilyn type thing. But more so than that, there are a lot people who leave Saint Laurent metro to go out drinking. I can’t even count how many times, I’ve been called something not so nice, in regards to what I was wearing to go out. And there have been a few cases where I’ve seen harassment being done there and felt the need to step in, even though there were police right inside the door…
6. Purses Are A No Go
Because someone’s hand is always in them. I’ve had lot’s of things stolen in the Plateau right out of my purse. Usually on the weekends. The bra pocket tends to be the most effective method to hold your things.
7. Nightlife Harassment
Lastly, but certainly not least, is the nightlife harassment, which something I’m sure all Montreal women can relate to. You could just be walking down the street to meet your buds at the club, or be strolling sweat pant clad to get a nice juicy slice of pizza. It doesn’t matter, if the sun isn’t up, and the alcohol is flowing, it somehow means it’s okay to be an asshole. And it’s not just cat calling, people honk at you, they block your path, and even more people than you would think will grab you. It’s a mess. All in all, the Plateau needs to get its shit together.