Belgium A to Z – Z

Z – Zuid

Once, when I was being trained into womanhood, I was told that I should avoid low necklines and mini-skirts, because such things provoke men and might lead them on into treating me wrongly. To this day, this still ranks first in my top 10 Most Stupid Sentences I’ve Ever Heard. (It’s a close call against “The DNA is right next to the spleen.”)

I never understood why some people insist in treating men like morons incapable of controlling themselves or, even worse, in their dull right to overpowering the will of women and abuse them emotionally and even physically. I don’t understand men who think it’s fine to call a woman gorgeous, a good c**nt or a whore in public. Nor those who make sure to make women aware that their outfit works for them, even if they poorly disguise their comments with polite flatter. Neither do I understand why society, west and east, indulges such behaviors. Mild or ostensibly abusive men are either sick or stupid (as previously discussed), not morons who react upon boobs and bums like monkeys upon bananas.

I don’t want to dig in further why I believe my low neckline is an humanitarian manifesto. Let’s talk about the lesson coming from this alphabet’s Z. A couple of weeks ago, a documentary premiered in Belgian TV about sexism in the streets of Brussels. Sexism here is actually an euphemism. The story of this documentary, called “Femme de la Rue” (nice…), is this girl who lives in the Zuid/Midi area started noticing (as if she could not…) that there are these disgusting men in the streets talking dirty to women. Some start by talking nicely, but soon set off into insults if the women don’t promptly reply to their invitations to have sex with them. This documentary reports intense and widespread sexual harassment in areas of the Brussels Zuid area. It’s so intense, that women end up changing the way they dress and act, in order to draw less attention. Or just using earphones so that they don’t listen to them anymore.

“… I love Brussels’ theater, I love the chocolate and waffles, I love guys treating me like a slut all the time… Wait. What?! …” (Picture and quote are nor mine, of course.)

I’m often yelled at from scaffolds in construction sites. I’ve even had burning cigarettes thrown at me and been spit on because I ignored disgusting wank**s calling me from tuned cars. Despite unacceptable, these are anecdotal episodes which happen every once in a while. I was shocked to watch this perfectly normal Flemish girl next door walking in her neighborhood with that flowery dress, the knee-high boots and her hair tied… and being offered pay for sex and called several different things countless times on a short distance path. Do watch this scene, which is a common every day reality for women of all ages, looks and races in certain parts of Brussels Zuid.

Of course, this documentary has been hot topic, particularly because it’s linked to other problems of this multikulti Brussels. But it’s not nice and we don’t talk about it. Citizens are baffled and politicians prey on it (left wing wants more integration efforts, right wing wants these men out of the country). It’s a short lived spark in an old debate. Maybe not before the communal elections in October, but it WILL die out soon. And then… gays will be boxing bags, women will be whores, we will all be so much more important than the person next to us.


2 thoughts on “Belgium A to Z – Z

  1. You were trained into womanhood?! And I was thinking things like that come naturally 😉 Greetings from Dublin btw! Bus from the airport was okay, fire alarm at 1 at night in the hotel was a bit less fun :s (but the place didn’t burn down.. false alarm)

    • Glad to know everything went smoothly!…more or less!
      Trained, of course! First contacts with tampons, bras and such things need some mentoring. But I’m happy to see that it seems that I’ve pulled it off easily!! 😉

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